Childhood was a Rehearsal !

Jessie Paul - Studio C

In the Studio for Promo Pics,,,Capitol Records Studio A

I grew up in Los Angeles having moved from New York at 3 years old.    When I was a young girl in North Hollywood, I was already singing.  I knew that I was a singer at 3. My best friend Sandy Ducker sang with me at every opportunity.  Sandy remains a best friend, even though we have lived in different cities as adults. She is singing now also, at her complex where she lives in Phoenix Arizona. They have Karaoke contests etc. 

Life in L A. was always exciting, we had the ocean and the mountains at our fingertips. Our lives were filled with Jazz concerts in our yard in the San Fernando Valley. Also, my parents would travel,  because daddy was a great drummer.  he was with The Andrew Sisters when I was about 5. I remember a long drive to Patty Andrews ranch, lots of land and horses, and a fun filled swimming Barbecue day.   Ray Bolger, and Joel Gray would be our family guests and give me piggy back rides. Bob Crane was still a radio D J and great friends with my family, His wife Anne and kids Bobby Jr, was a playmate in there pool!. In fact We were at Bobs house the day he brought the Pilot script home for Hogans Heros,  I remember they were laughing at the Plot and that it would NEVER be picked up by the network,,Man, were they wrong!

Another very good family friend, so close they were Uncles and cousins, were the Guardino’s.  Lou had sung with mom in Big bands, and Harry was a great actor. We did everything with them. I remember we were at Uncle Harrys house when he got the call from Peter Lawford that Marilyn Monroe had died. He raced out of the house.  I never realized the significance of this until I was older. These were our friends and looking back, life was pretty amazing.

When I was in Elementary school, my best friend was Laurel Resnick.  She was the sister I always wanted. I also loved her dad Nick. Her parents were divorced, I believe that was the first family I knew of, that was divorced. I had my audition at Capitol Records and they were finding songs for me.  By the time we were in Van Nuys Jr high, I had recorded 4 songs, with another two on my contract to come. I took a few friends with me to the studio when I recorded.  When my dad died in 2009, Laurie flew out for the service. She stayed with me and that night we were singing my records and she remembered the words Better than I!!

My Roots were firmly set  in the San Fernando Valley,  I never imagined we would leave.    My childhood friends  are still friends today, but moving out of the state was devastating.  My drummer dad was working in Las Vegas more and more, and felt that it was the future of Live Music.  Which for the sixties and seventies, was true!

It was natural for me to be quite nervous to move to the Adult Planet of  Las Vegas. Because of the records and my song being played on the radio,I was a small celebrity when I got into school there.  I was interviewed  on Keno radio with Dennis Hunt, and before long  I got into a band right away,,,   The first was The Little People,, then that band morphed into  The London Fog,,, and then a band,  Free Circus,   a band made up of college guys who played originals.  I was still in High School.  This was very good for me, I finally figured out who I was, not doing only cover songs.   We opened for Santana, Three Dog Night, Steppenwolf, Iron Butterfly, and Grateful Dead among many many more.

I was doing it, I was working as a singer, and getting paid, and living the dream I dreamed. I didn’t need a Grammy, or a manager. I was working big arena’s. Roby Bennet, our guitarist wrote many of the songs, they all had terrific chord structure and three and four part harmony. His songs began my Love for harmony and loving groups like  The Beach Boys, Crosby Stills and Nash, Mama’s and Pappa’s,  before them,, The Hi Lo’s, who my dad was the drummer for, and Lambert Hendicks and Ross.  Later on,, Manhattan Transfer.  We had a great thing and got along well.  We were approached by a record label, and made demos.    

I grew up very fast, working every weekend, and being in rehearsal after school. Even in summer, we were in Lake Tahoe at the Blue Tooth rock club.  We rented a house in nearby Meyers, and drove to the club together.  We had many bands back to the house . Many late night parties and dinners where it was a big exciting grown up world for me.  It would be  very hard to go back to being a teen after this. I suppose I never did go back to being a teen…I would lie in the fields of grass and flowers and listen to Crosby Stills and Nash..it was pure Bliss!

Free Circus would have remained my destiny, but, our keyboardist Danny Barnett dropped out of college, and was Drafted!

We decided since he played Hammond B3, it would be impossible to replace him. We all went our separate ways.  I was flown right back to L A with an agent my sister had met at the Stardust Hotel lounge!    I flew back to L A  with him and got a Motel room, in Hollywood and he began to get me auditions. The first audition was at the Aquarius Theatre, for HAIR…..  I got it!   It doesn’t get any easier than this.

When you are young,  singing and have a big audience, and you are a teenager, It can really change you. I didn’t get an attitude , not that kind of change, but you know what you will do when you are an adult.  Most kids are still wondering.  I always knew. If it hadn’t worked out, I have no idea what I would have been.  I wasn’t prepared for failure.  At 12 years old I was a signed artist,,, then opening act,,,,and when I went to L A, It was just a few months before my first audition was for the Rock musical Hair..and I got That too!  was it luck? Or Destiny,,,, All I know is, my course was set for my life to travel,, live out of a suitcase, and be the gypsy that I am.     Living on my own, and falling in love and partying at Hugh Hefners Mansion was, well,, the normal.    I remember Hef’s secretary Bobbi, who was a close friend of my then boyfriend Tony Good who managed North Beach Leather on the Sunset Strip. Poor Bobbi, her boyfriend was a drug dealer,, and the FBI in trying to get Hefner for porn,, harassed her and Hef , which led to her suicide.   Very Very sad for all of us who knew she was a great person. 

Looking back, I was blessed. I also had a strong work ethic, and was always taking care of myself, Like an athlete,,,health food, no drinking, or lack of sleep. I learned ethics from my Drummer daddy.       If he were still here, he would smile, and say,,,‘ Well, pookie,, you did it your way….

Jessica Marciel visits Joey Ciccone Show

Jessica Marciel and Joey Ciccone enjoyed a rockin’ hour on Friday, April 8th. From her inside-track to a recording deal at 12 years old.

And on through her singing and stage career, onto launching singing training business, LasVegasVocalTraining.

Friday, April 8th – Show Guest, Jessica Marciel – The Joey Ciccone Show

Superb Vocal Training Testimonial

When I received this vocal training testimonial from Jeff Lavigne, it overwhelmed me. It embodies so many elements making up a successful coach-student relationship. Please enjoy it…

 – Jessica Marciel

Jeff Lavigne - Singing Student, Las Vegas Vocal Training

Jeff Lavigne

“I have struggled with my singing for ten years now (I am 28 and started when I was 18). It is my passion. Everywhere I go I sing my little heart out. For a long time my problem was that I just wasn’t that good, and people let me know it. I quickly got discouraged and stopped singing in front of other people.

Eventually, this led to a frustration so profound that I thought about quitting singing altogether. That is what led me to Jessica. I made a deal with myself that before I could quit, I had to make one last effort.

I was skeptical of voice lessons because I tried them before, and by the second lesson my teacher basically said that I would never be any good. But, after calling Jessica, I got a very encouraging and nurturing vibe, so I decided to give it one last shot.

At my very first session, Jessica informed me that I wasn’t a bad singer. I wasn’t destined to shower singing mediocrity. Rather, I just wasn’t singing correctly. All this time I thought I just had a bad ear for music, that I had a pitch problem and just couldn’t hit the right notes. But Jessica showed me how most of my problems weren’t caused by an inherent lack of ability. They were caused by not knowing the proper technique. In a few short months, based on Jessica’s teachings, I could hardly recognize my voice. I couldn’t believe how much better I sounded. More importantly, my confidence started to come back, due to Jessica’s encouragement and the fact that my singing was undoubtedly improving.

She also helped me develop some of my original music. We went line by line through the songs I wrote to make sure I was hitting the notes properly and with the right tone. I am by no means a pro now, but after seeing her detailed approach, I now know what makes someone a professional and I can continue to develop these skills forever.

Further, I want to emphasize how quickly I started to improve. Based on talking to other people and my previous experiences, I thought that, if I could improve at all, it would take me years to do so. However, I started to notice changes almost immediately. To be honest for the first month or so I thought I was getting worse because I had to learn a whole new way to sing. But by the second month (4 or so lessons in) I was already singing better than I ever had before. Within 6 months I was singing better than I ever thought was possible for me.

Finally, I really appreciate Jessica’s bedside manner. She really knows her stuff, but doesn’t make beginner/ intermediate students like me feel inferior.  Many of her exercises are silly, but she is willing to get silly with me so I don’t feel self-conscious. In fact, I really like the exercises because, in addition to helping develop valuable skills, they help get me out of my head.

Jessica didn’t ask me to write this testimonial. I am doing so out of gratitude for what she gave me. I can’t believe I was about to give up on one of my life’s greatest passions when the solution was so simple.”

– Jeff Lavigne

RIP Ray Charles Jr. – Official Mascot

RIP Ray Charles Jr

Ray Charles Jr.; smiling for the camera.

Shortly after moving into the studio home of Las Vegas Vocal Training, students enjoyed a warm greeting by Vocal Coach Jessica Marciel and  Super-Sheltie Ray Charles Jr..

Ray’s welcoming bark and company in the studio, earned him status as the Official Mascot and soul of Las Vegas Vocal Training.

Sadly, Ray’s life was shortened, with incredible speed, by a condition called IMHA aka known as Canine Leukemia. It’s a common condition, but is terminal, with no known cure. From the moment of Ray’s diagnosis with IMHA, until it became necessary to  ‘put him down’ was just a matter of days.

As companion to both Jessica and Las Vegas Vocal Training students, Ray brought sunshine and effervescence to all he touched.

RIP Ray Charles Jr.

Jessica and Ray- in the studio

For their exceptional care, concern, love, and understanding during an incredibly stressful and challenging period, Immeasurable Thanks to…

Ray Charles Jr.
March 13, 2004 –
August 25, 2014

Official Mascot: Ray Charles Jr.

Ray-Charles-Jr-mascotRay Charles, Jr. is the official mascot of Las Vegas Vocal Training. Andy and I rescued Ray about five years from a family in North Las Vegas.

Ray, a Sheltie (Shetland Sheepherder), has a warm and friendly personality, and responds well to petting and tummy rubs.

When Ray first became part of the household, he rarely barked. Now, his barking is as an extension of the doorbell. When he hears the doorbell, Ray alerts me of the arrival of my next student, by running to the front door and barking, cheerfully. Upon opening the door, Ray never jumps up… he just needs a few moments of acknowledgment and affection, and that’s it… barking stops, and he accompanies me and my student back to the studio.

Singing phenom, Nikki Yanofsky, started singing jazz classics at a very young age. On one of her live recordings, she introduced the Etta James standard, At Last (see Nikki’s performance), by saying (paraphrasing)…

“I’m only 13, a little young for the mature theme of this song. So when I sing it, I think about my dog, Hudson.”

Nikki Yanofsky

As a vocal coach, part of my job is to help students relax and focus. Ray is the soul of the studio, completing the cozy atmosphere of my home studio, enabling students to focus, more completely, and fully enjoy the learning experience.

Ray is an asset to my studio for students of all ages, and like Nikki Yanofsky and her dog, Hudson.

In the video, below, Ray provides inspiration and audience for my student, Ella (Cool, classic, jazz name, too).

Enjoy Ella as she serenades Ray Charles, Jr. 

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

Lost on the New Jersey Turnpike

Commonwealth

When the band Commonwealth was touring the Playboy Clubs, I enjoyed some of the best times of my life. I was proud of the band, and our 5-part harmony. We were a 70’s pop band channeling the Hi-Lo’s and Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross.  Before we hired horns, we sang the horn parts ourselves, and I loved it!

Many times a year , Commonwealth was the dinner/dance band in the swank supper club at the Great Gorge Playboy Club in New Jersey.  You had to fly into Newark and drive into the hills. The club away from most everything. It was just country and golf courses.

We didn’t fly anywhere, but traveled constantly, driving caravan with a car and a U-Haul.  The Great Gorge Playboy Club was in the valley of a huge, bright green golf course. You could smell the freshly cut grass as you drove the long winding driveway to the hotel.

Jorge Casas

Jorge Casas

This hotel was always a favorite of mine, because of its out-of-the-way location; and it is where I first started having more than friendship feelings for our Cuban bass player, Jorge Casas.

He was dating a pretty, blonde bunny waitress, and for the first time, I was jealous!  We hadn’t even been friends really, he was always bad mouthing the American Woman. I felt, being a singer and working with musicians, I was an exception to the typical greedy, materialistic American woman.   I did not disagree with him, I only felt he generalized everyone, that way.  It’s funny how close hate and love are!

While we were in the New Jersey club, I did not let my feelings be known to anyone, But on-stage, we did ‘look’  at each other more and more. The vibe was changing. We did talk about our feelings at the end of this engagement, and chose to talk to Maurice, the bandleader.

Maurice had strict rules against dating within the band. We didn’t think it was ethical or possible to skirt the rules, so we felt compelled to discuss it with Maurice, suggesting we might have to quit, to be together.  We waited until our next Playboy job in Detroit, when Jorge took Maurice out for a drink, and told him.  But that is another post!!

Peter Cook - Dudley More

Peter Cook – Dudley More

On our night off, Maurice (British pianist and leader) and Jorge suggested the three of us drive to New York, have tea at The Plaza, see the British comedians Peter Cook and Dudley Moore in their Broadway show, Good Evening.  We planned on going to Chinatown, and jazz clubs, after the show, to really make a night of it!.

And so we headed out… Maurice drove, and Jorge and I were passengers.  It was so exciting. I was in my early-mid twenties, and the only time I had been to New York was to see relatives. Didn’t really get to see much of The City, during those visits.

We went to the Plaza Hotel, and spent time in the Tea Room. So many elegant woman, draped in their furs. and the fragrances of  Joy and Chanel. I was still wearing Shalimar perfume, I wore in high school!    Up to that moment, I had only seen The Plaza in movies.

Maurice, being from England, had such culture, and loved fine cognac, and pipes.  I hate cigarettes and cigars, but the sweet cherry tobacco that Jorge and Maurice smoked was nice. I always loved when they lit up.

I felt very sophisticated and was glad I always had beautiful dresses to wear on our nights, out. One thing I did spend money on was nice clothes. I had some beautiful costumes for our shows and always great silk and linen dresses for our nights out.

CourvoisierWhen we arrived at the theater, I hadn’t heard of these very famous comedians. This was long before Dudley Moore did the movie, 10, and long before he was known in America.  The show was brilliant, and I laughed so hard.  We left filled with laughter and joy, and our next stop was a jazz club in Manhattan. The guys drank their Courvoisier and I club soda. I never have been a drinker, and always went mad when friends said, “Oh Come on, have something”  I just hate that, but the guys never did that to me. They respected my non-drinking and did not try to push anything on me.

Next stop was Chinatown, and had the best food I had ever tasted! By now, it was now about 2 am. The guys were drinking heavily; I mean A LOT.  When we were going to the car, I noticed Maurice was slurring and stumbling, I said,  “Jorge. I don’t think he can drive.”  Jorge said, “I don’t think he can walk!”  

Jorge said, “I’ve had too much, too.” and he asked me if I would drive.  OK, let me tell you about my driving skills at that age. I didn’t even got my license until I was 18.  Then at 21, I was in a terrible car accident that left me terrified to drive again.   But now, I was our only option.   I told Jorge I had no idea where we were, and how to get to Great Gorge. It’s easy he said, follow this road to the turnpike and pay the toll and we are almost there.

toll-booth-nj-turnpikeThey were both in the backseat passed out by the time I got to the turnpike.  I paid the toll, and kept driving.

I was listening to the cassette tape deck and was driving along, when I came to another toll booth. Uh OH,  it was the same toll booth?  Had I gone in a circle?  I guess I had.  I asked the toll man how I get to Lake Geneva, and he couldn’t help me; too many cars behind me. Well, I will try this again.  Off I went with two alcohol soaked guys in the back seat, and I kept driving. La de da, driving along. It was nearly 4 am now, and a little frightening.

When suddenly, there is a toll booth. Yes, you guessed it, the same toll booth, for the third time. Now I pulled over on this ultra-busy Highway, and tried to wake Jorge. Help, we are lost, I need help.  Maurice heard me, and said , “Don’t worry Dahling, with his accent, I will take the wheel.”

“The HELL you will.”  I said, “I will walk before I  let you drive.”

Playboy Club Lake GenevaI stood in the cold freezing road of the Jersey Turnpike watching Maurice and Jorge drive off without me!.  I started to walk as far to the side of the road as I could to not get hit by a car. The greasy smelly street under my beautiful shoes. they were getting ruined in the morning dew of the New Jersey humidity.

Thank goodness, when they drove off I could hear Jorge yelling at Maurice, ‘You can’t leave her there!!”  I was hoping they would somehow come back for me, but knew it would take a while because you just can’t make a u-turn on the highway!

They did come back, and I got in the car, Maurice was angry that I had gotten out of the car. Jorge was now driving, and we made it back to the Hotel in time for breakfast. This was just one episode of our life on the road with the Commonwealth.

There are many more stories to tell. It certainly was never boring!

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

Nick Hissom celebrates single release event on July 4th

July 4th is Nick Hissom’s birthday. It was also the release party of his new single, “If I Die Young,”

“It’s a party anthem, but it’s also a bit of reflection, and it’s vocals — what I think about dance music is that a lot of the vocalists get lost in all the noise,” he says. “I want to change that. The vocalists get no credit, no face time, and that I don’t like.”

nick-hissom-tile-200“If I Die Young” is produced by Mick Shultz, who has sold more than 9 million records by his mid-20’s. The song is a dance track, and features Hissom’s distinctive vocals, cut clear about of the rhythm.

The song has already been released, internationally, and reached #1 on the pop charts in Turkey.

Mick Schultz is an American music producer and songwriter. Some of his accomplishments include production of Jeremih’s début and second albums, including the platinum hit “Birthday Sex”. He has also produced for artists such as Jenna Andrews and Jessie James.

An extensive article and interview with Nick, was published in the Las Vegas Sun, Monday, July 1st by John Katsilometes. 

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

Students of Las Vegas Vocal Training – Where Are They Now? – Part 3

 

 

 

 

LOU LOU WHITE: Ready to Break Out

At that time, she and her husband had been in America about two years. They had just moved to Las Vegas when Lou Lou  found me, online.

Students of Las Vegas Vocal Training

Marine Goujon

The moment this beautiful girl opened her mouth, I was amazed. She had so much soul! her CD was good vocally, but the horns were weak and She was better than the album. The songs were good, really good, but not commercial, enough? So, they said.  Tom flipped over her and they decided to write an album together. Every time they wrote a song, Tom and Marine knocked it out fast, I did a lot of back-up vocals . We used horns and strings too. Marine is a great writer and they clicked, quickly.

My relationship with Tom Marolda, and his input with my talented students is priceless. He not only writes with and sometimes for them,  them, but is most generous in giving credit in their  co-writing the songs. I have former students who only gave him ideas for a song, and he was so generous. In Marine’s case, she did write everything with him.  Some others, have not. Most of all, Marine is a writer; and was before they met.

Marine comes to me weekly and takes her study very seriously. When her first single breaks, she will be in shape to do a long concert because of her stamina. I have the highest respect for her dedication. When I describe Marine, I only think of blue-eyed soul singers, like Dusty Springfield, Joss Stone, Adele, and Jesse J (because of her power).

I try to mentor my students, and give them direction for what genre they would excel in, what they should do to start the process. The original material, the production, the exposure is all a start. Then you need a break, someone to take notice, or someone like Tom to place your song or songs in film, or TV shows.

Students of Las Vegas Vocal Training

Dayna Kovicic

Dayna Kovacic: A gift for writing lyrics

Dayna had been with me long before I started collaborating with Tom. She goes back to when I was sending students to Los Angeles to write with Brody Brown. She would drive to Hollywood just about every weekend and write with Brody, and call me, Sunday night, I’m almost in Vegas , can I come over and play my new song for you? It as always mind-blowing!

When nothing was happening for her with the songs, I took her to Tom, they clicked very well and she wrote some Twilight-type vampire-oriented songs. Tom got some interest from the show Vampire Diaries, and they kept writing. Dayna continues studying with me and I am quite proud of her. She is a stunning girl with a natural talent for lyrics. She will keep writing until something hits and I know it will one day.

Thank you for reading my blogs. I am so proud of my students and my next blog will be about some students who are doing tributes to The Doors, Paramore, and some singers working The Strip as piano/singers in the hotels.

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

Save

var _gaq = _gaq || []; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-731822-7']); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']); (function() { var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true; ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js'; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); })();
Singing Skills Evaluation - 30 minute session, only $20 Click HERE For Details