LIFESTYLE | MUSIC

Q&A with Jennifer Trijo, musician

Jennifer Trijo
Jennifer Trijo performing at her LP launch in Sydney. Photo: Ashley Smith of Pole Line Photography

What inspired you to write the song Calibre?

It is a song about all the trials I’d faced musically through auditions, performances, studying and competitions and the lyrics represent what my conscience was saying to me throughout my whole musical upbringing. In a nutshell: keep at it despite how good the competitors in your field are because you have something unique to contribute, ‘the calibre is high, won’t get far if you don’t try’.

What’s your favourite musical instrument?

The piano is my favourite instrument to play but my favourite one to listen to would have to be the saxophone, particularly the tenor sax – and especially when it’s played by someone as innovative as John Coltrane.

What were the three best things about playing the alternate lead role in Kim?

First, that the role was made famous by Lea Salonga, an amazing singer and a Filipina.  Second, it taught me readiness and unbelievable stamina as I could be called upon any time to perform even when it was not a usual scheduled performance. The role was shared between Laurie and I which sometimes meant I had to do two shows of Kim in one day if Laurie was unwell. It is very vocally demanding but the discipline it gave me is priceless.

Finally, Kim is one of the most challenging yet rewarding female lead roles in musical theatre and for this to have been my debut in professional theatre and to have done it in Australia, my home, I am forever grateful.

In the zone
In the zone. Photo: Ashley Smith of Pole Line Photography

Top three ‘vocal improvement’ tips for our readers?

1. Your throat is not your instrument, your whole body is.  The fitter you are overall, the fitter you are vocally, which means rest well, eat well, don’t drink and smoke. Well, the occasional social drink is ok … everything in moderation.

2. Listen to recordings of great singers but avoid imitating them. Find your own interpretation within every good song and you will find your own voice.  More often than not, there are years of solid technique behind the great singers that it could be detrimental to your voice to try and imitate them using incorrect technique.

3. Find a suitable vocal teacher for the level you are at vocally. Singing should always be fun.  It’s not an overnight success if you want to do it professionally.  So, practice your scales, note reading, music theory and make yourself the best singer you can be.

* A profile story on Jennifer Trijo will be out on the September 2009 print edition of the magazine.

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