A Singer and Teen

When I  was in Van Nuys Jr High in L A Calif,, I had begun my recording career.   My friends are still my friends  today, and the thought of moving out of the state was devastating.  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 got into a band in school right away.  The first was The Little People,, then that band morphed into  The London Fog,,, and then a college band,Free Circus..I was still in High School.  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. We had great original music and we would have stayed together, But Danny Barnett our Keyboard player was drafted.  We drifted apart, and I flew back to L A .

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 was very hard to go back to being a teen after this.

When you are singing and have a big audience, and you are 15,16 years old,, It can really change you. I didnt 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.    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, drugs,,,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


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

‘Duets’ Season One Finale – Wrap-Up

rome-nettles-300x213My personal favorite, J. Rome, won the Duets Finale! When Duets began, I really enjoyed the process of the professionals singers choosing the contestants. I loved J Rome from the start, and knew between John Glosson and  J Rome, both Jennifer Nettles proteges, I knew she had the winner.

One thing bothered me, was the show host, Quddus (rhymes with caboose) calling the singers amateurs, instead of contestants or proteges. I found it very offensive. Another problem with the show is the lack of major talent, tapped from the other singers, Kelly ClarksonJohn Legend and Robin Thicke.

Bringing Back The Losers To ‘Duets’ Finale

The finale featured songs by the prior weeks’ finalists, seemingly, to kill time. The performances almost killed me! They were so weak. Jason Farol, a finalist, showed the greatest improvement, but has a way to go.

When Robin Thicke sang Fever with his (amateur) Olivia Chisolm, I had to mute the sound.

When Jennifer sang “For Good” from Wicked, with John, I was in tears. He sang it better than anyone I had heard since Idina Menzel.

‘Duets’ suffered from some poor contestant choices by judges

From a pure, TV Ratings standpoint, Duets was ‘just OK’. It peaked at about 7 Million viewers, and closed out at 4.5 million viewers on its Finale Show. By comparison, American Idol garnered 20 million viewers for its finale, down from 30 million in its best year. It has aired for 12 seasons. The Voice, airing in 28 countries, finished up its second U.S. season with about 11 million viewers for its finale.

Hopefully, Duets improves in Season 2. Jennifer‘s choices should influence her peers to select better contestants.A renewal for Season two has not been announced, yet.

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training.

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