DYV Students: Student Spotlight Interview No. 21

January 8, 2015

Happy New Year, all! Let’s start the year off right by getting to know another one the killer singers who comes through the door at Davin Youngs Voice. Meet Vilmarie! Let me start this introduction by sharing that last time we went to Davenport’s for open mic, Vilmarie sang and as soon as she opened her mouth another student leaned over to me and said “Well, I didn’t expect that.” Vilmarie is a super cool girl with a super cool voice. Also, she’s hysterical on Twitter so check her out @villysince1986 … Let’s get to know her more and learn about how she came to voice lessons!

Davin: Hey there, Vilmarie! Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are ya from? What fills your days? That sort of thing.

Vilmarie: Hey Davin! Well I am a 28-year-old law student at DePaul University. Soon to be graduate! (yay!). I am a born and raised Chicago girl. I just can’t seem to leave the city. I’m somewhat of a Jill of All Trades. I used to alternate between being a Banker and a Nanny and a clerk for a judge.  Now I’m just focusing on finishing up school.  On my non-business days, I do improv. I graduated from Second City’s Improv program and I’m currently doing the Improv Olympic program. Unfortunately I haven’t had much time to go out and perform with my friends, but I’m hoping to get back into that. I’m also a music and movie addict so I’m always at concerts or theaters. I also started guitar lessons last year so I’m continuing with that. 

Davin: So, singing? Where does that fit into the picture? And how’d you end up taking voice lessons?

Vilmarie: I know this is often said but I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. You can pretty much say I have “musical Tourette’s.” I just blurt out a note or start singing out of nowhere and most of the time don’t realize I’m doing it.  But it does go a bit beyond the occasional random song. My dad used to be a DJ, and is now back to that since he’s retired, so he’d make me mixtapes and things like that and I would just mimic. But my “aha!” moment came when I received my first two albums that were mine and no one else’s and not just copies: “ The Bodyguard” soundtrack and “Music Box” by Mariah Carey. I would just listen and learn and know I wanted to do “that.” From then on, I’ve been in choirs and bands for most of my life. In high school I auditioned and got accepted into Gallery 37 Advanced Arts Education Honors Program in Music. (I believe it’s now After School Matters.) But it was essentially like a “Fame” type school. It was actors, singers and dancers and we were all trained in the various areas. That was amazing because I got to sing at the Chicago Theatre and perform with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and travel around the Midwest.  Most of my classes, student organizations, jobs and internships have been performance based or music related up until my mid 20s, so needless to say it is part of me. There came a time where I kind of lost sight and lost the inspiration to keep going, so I went down a different route and ended up in law school. I was unhappy and stressed and realized I had not been singing or performing at all and that perhaps that was the cause of my sadness. So I took up improv and then guitar, but singing is just who I am and a deep need came over me to get back into it.  However it is because of the improv and guitar classes that I knew I wanted to get proper guidance and training for my voice.  It had been a while and I didn’t want to jump back into it without help.That’s when I found Davin Youngs Voice.

Davin: I’m feeling musical improv, accompnied by guitar in your future! With regards to voice lessons, have there been any surprises since you’ve started sessions?

Vilmarie: Oh, absolutely. I have been hitting notes lately that I didn’t think I could. And as we’ve talked about before, it’s always been there, it’s just that muscle hadn’t been exercised.  Knowing there’s this whole little world that I haven’t even tapped into, or not often enough, is there waiting for me is exciting.   I’ve also been more focused on how I feel, or rather how the different shapes I make produce different sounds. Something so simple can have such a dramatic and effective result.  That’s been cool. 

Davin: It’s amazing how body awareness can be a game changer. What about goals? Do you have any of those with regards to singing?

Vilmarie: Because I have been singing more in group settings than solo, I always mute myself and deny the little diva inside me to come out, so to speak. I want to continue working on opening up and not self- edit or mute and just live in the moment and feel the music.  I just need to shut off the nagging perfectionist that resides in my head. 

Davin: Girl, you HAVE to get out there and sing. You’re voice is too good to keep it private. Do you have any words of advice to someone considering giving voice lessons a try?

Vilmarie: I always say that music finds you when you need it the most, whether it’s hearing a song that hits you at the right moment or if it’s a sense or need to learn an instrument as a creative outlet.  If voice lessons have even crossed your mind, it is worth exploring. Follow your heart. Follow that feeling.  It doesn’t matter if you have no background in it, or if you do. It doesn’t matter what age you are.  It is such a freeing feeling and goes beyond just wanting to sound like Whitney or Mariah.  It’s a chance to learn something about yourself and what you are capable of.  Plus sometimes it takes something different from your current routine to spark your passions, be it in music or another field.  You never know until you try and I promise it’s worth trying.

Davin: Thanks, Vilmarie! I’m excited to see where your voice takes you!

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DYV Students: Student Spotlight Interview No. 21