Latina Soprano Sings her dreams into reality
Big Dreams of Vanessa Vasquez have become a reality. The Cuban/Colombian Soprano is one of the few winners of the National Audition competition at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
Name: Vanessa Vasquez
Born: Scottsdale, Arizona
Origin – Cuban/Colombian
Resides in - Center City
Occupation: Opera Singer – Soprano, Academy of Vocal Arts
How long have you studied at the Academy of Vocal Arts? What made you get into being a vocalist?
This will be my third year of the four-year program. It all started in a performance based High School and I thought I was going to be a doctor and go to medical school. I then got the lead in “My Fair Lady”. It was sort of the catalyst to me realizing this is something I wanted to do with my life. I had to break it to my parents…” I’m not going to medical school. I’m actually going to music school” and they were like “What?” That was a shock for them but they are the most supportive. My dad said “Well if you’re going to sing I want you to be a double major just to fall back on.” I remember telling him no. I am going to do this with everything that I have. If I fail I fail, but I want to give it my 110 percent. This is what I love. This is my passion.
What did you have to do for your audition at the AVA?
You have to prepare 5 Arias to provide a profile that’s varying in style and contrasting in tempo just to show you in the best light of what you can do. There are two rounds that you have to make it through. I remember the day I got the email that I was accepted into AVA and I thought it was a joke because it was April Fool’s Day. I actually called the Dean of Students and she said that I got in and I started crying. It was amazing.
How do you prepare yourself for a competition or an opera?
I’m always hydrating. I drink a lot of water and I like to exercise the day I sing to warm up the body. We’re taught to project without microphones. It’s very different from a musical theatre singer who would have a microphone so they won’t have to project so much. I warm up about 45 minutes before I have to sing and I have a compact mirror to see what I am going facially.
What was your first competition or play you were involved in as a lead?
It was my master’s program where I did my first lead. It felt kind of surreal in that you can work hard with countless hours in the practice rooms doing the same thing over and over. All those hours for just for just four minutes on the stage. We feel like Olympic athletes in that sense. It takes a lot of focus. It takes a lot of concentration. I personally like to say a prayer and focus my energy and thoughts and not to get nervous.
Are there any singers that you look up to?
I have a fellow Cuban singer Eglise Guiterrez. She feels like a sister to me. She also went to AVA. I feel like don’t see many Latina opera singers on the stage here in the United States. To see her succeeding is so encouraging to me.
There are children who want to study music or voice. What would be the best way to get into the field?
I think it is important to cultivate learning very early. I remember when I was 6 or 7, I would be singing all the time and my parents asked me if I wanted to do voice lessons or singing lessons and I said yes. My parents wanted me to be one on one with the instructor. My parents wanted to find an instructor to cultivate my strengths. That’s so important for young kids.
If you were not into music, what do you think your career choice would have been?
When I was little my parents would ask me what I wanted to be when I grow up and I said a “Singing Doctor”. So my parents always thought I was going to be a doctor. I knew that I wanted to heal people, but I didn’t know in what capacity.
Can you give advice to other millennials trying to pursue their own dreams and careers?
Really dream big and visualize your dreams in reality. I like to write down my goals and see them and believe them. Putting them out there in the universe makes them come true. It’s powerful. Reading my goals and dreams I think would help bring them to fruition.
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