For the third year in a row, Juneau Lyric Opera will host their popular fundraiser, “Who’s Your Diva?” This event showcases nine of Juneau’s best-known voices, who compete for the chance to be named Juneau’s official Diva. Each competitor will perform two songs, backed by local band Susu and the Prophets and accompanist Rosie Humphery, and then community members will vote for their choice. Votes can also be made in advance online at juneauopera.org.
This year’s divas are Callie Conerton, Cameron Brockett, Christina Bruce, Erin Messing, Hannah Hoshide, Leslie Wood, Lori Daniels, Mary Graham and Taylor Vidic.
Each week through the month of August, the Empire has presented brief Q&As with each of the divas in preparation for the event, scheduled for Sept. 7.
This week’s featured diva is Taylor Vidic.
First memorable public performance:
The first time I sang in public was in my second grade talent show. I couldn’t really tell you what brought me to do so. I stood with my head down and wore a shirt with a hood. I’m glad to say that I have since ditched the hood look.
Three singers who have influenced you throughout your singing career:
• Aretha Franklin. Every time my fourth grade teacher was kind enough to play “Respect” during clean up, all cleaning would pause and a mad sing-along would ensue. My admiration for her and her abilities has only grown over the years.
• Beyonce. Where to begin. Her vocal ability is enough on its own, not to mention her endless amounts of confidence and charisma. Whether or not you appreciate her genre, you’d be crazy to not respect her vocal abilities.
• Celine Dion. Don’t think I’m lame. Or do. Her voice can be strange at times, but it’s unique, and her range makes no sense.
Three songs you absolutely love to sing:
You know, I can’t really pick a favorite. I do this thing where I hear phrases throughout the day that remind me of songs, and I can’t help but sing a line or two of the song. If you spend enough time around me you’ll understand. It can get pretty bad.
That’s my real answer, but if you must have three, I’d say “Listen” sung by Beyonce in Dreamgirls, and by myself in last years show, “Come Together” by the Beatles, and I’ve come to enjoy performing the National Anthem.
Three songs in heavy rotation on your iPod/CD player right now:
• “Home Again” by Michael Kiwanuka
•“Silver Lining” by Rilo Kiley
• “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse
Favorite local role or performance:
It was probably singling “Listen” at Who’s Your Diva 2012. The feeling that I had walking off the stage after singing that song was like no other. It just felt, right, and reminded my why I love performing so much. And I got to pull out my senior-year prom dress again, definitely a bonus.
Three local performers you admire:
• Bobbi Mitchell. I’ve gotten the pleasure of performing in various events with Bobbi in the last year, and every one has been a pleasure and a growing experience for me. She is just as genuine of a person as she is a performer.
• Fellow Diva, Cameron Brockett. Cameron and I have been performing together for years, starting in high-school choir, and now as band mates of sorts. The amount of stage presence she possesses is kind of ridiculous, and just performing next to her has taught me so much. Not to mention her killer voice, and the way we harmonize. It’s a metaphor for our friendship. Just kidding, but not?
• Mary Desmet. I grew up taking piano lessons from Mary, and knew she was great then, but as I’ve grown older I’ve begun to understand just how great and talented she really is. There’s something behind her eyes when she sings and plays music that I hope one day I can maybe have just a little of.
Favorite place to sing:
Gosh dang. Anywhere with a lot of reverb, like large churches, the Shrine of St.Therese chapel, the swimming pool, mountain fields, and large bathrooms and locker rooms (can be awkward at times, but totally worth it).
Famous movie or theater role you would love to get the chance to play:
Ingrid Bergman in “Casablanca.”
Other interests besides singing:
I enjoy crafting. If you haven’t been to the Joann’s paper isle you should check it out. It’s really not a site that should be missed. I also enjoy throwing pots on wheels (the ceramic way), and as cliche as it is, but always a good response, being with my friends and family, especially when you includes the great outdoors that we all are lucky enough to call home.