Where Are They Now? Students of Las Vegas Vocal Training – Part 2

Nick Hissom comes to Las Vegas Vocal Training

nick-hissom-tileA European man contacted me to coach a high-profile young model from the United Kingdom.  I was asked to sign a confidentiality contract. I received the PDF, signed it and, a few weeks later, the yet-unidentified student  arrived at my door. A slender young man with a hoodie exited a stretch limo, and instructed the driver to return in three hours.

As a magazine junkie, an avid reader, I recognized this young man was  Steve Wynn‘s stepson, Nick Hissom, a cover model on many magazines. Nick is both sweet and real. He explained he had an opportunity to go on tour, and would soon be in the recording studio.

We started with the basics. I taught him how to relax, and breathe. Nick has a natural ability to sing. After only three lessons he wanted to start writing. We started to write together, not my strongest suit, but I added what I could and we recorded what he wrote.

After a few months, as he would come and go, traveling the world as a socialite and model, we texted and tweeted. He said his mum and step dad wanted to meet me. I met the Wynns for a lovely Japanese dinner.  When everyone was eating Mr. Wynn and I talked music the entire time.

Since then, I have dined with Nick at the Wynn Hotel with he and his friends. We keep in touch, although now he is on tour. Interscope Records signed him and Kenny Ortega directed his tour. The show has lots of dancers and the soles of his shoes light up a round perimeter surrounding  him. He too, is living his dream. If you get a chance to see him perform,  Nick Hissom is his name, and he sometimes goes by Nick Robertson.

Katie Pilkey: From Las Vegas to Nashville

Katie Pilkey

Katie Pilkey

Katie is a photographer who started vocal lessons, and I heard something right away. I called my Nashville connection, Eric Bikales, Neil Sedaka‘s Musical Director. He sent us many songs to work with. Katie choose five songs and we packed up and headed for Music City, USA!

We had, thanks to Eric  the best musicians, George Maranili, the guitarist for Bonnie Raitt, and a members of  Dolly Parton‘s band. It was magical!  Katie and I went out to clubs and piano bars, at night. This was during the time the Casey Anthony trial was going on, so I vividly remember being in my hotel room, when the verdict came in. I will always remember that about this trip.

When we returned to Las Vegas, Katie auditioned for a country band, and got hired, stopped lessons!! And stopped doing anything with these fabulous records she made!! They sit, and it is a shame no one has heard them… yet?? Who knows?

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

Superstar Band for Student Katie Pilkey

When I first heard Katie sing, I thought of Nashville, and Eric Bikales, my friend, pianist/producer/arranger for Neil Sedaka.

Eric moved to the South 7 years ago from Los Angeles where he did quite well. Knowing, and trusting him to get me the best originals from award-winning writers. I sent a video of my new discovery Katie. He responded with a Yes, I could work with her. We fell in love with 4 songs and Eric and Katie decided to write a fifth one themselves. It is one of my favorites!, “Somewhere, Anywhere”.

Katie and I booked six days in July in Nashville, and Eric outdid himself!. The guitarist was possibly the best guitarist in the country. George Marinelli was with Bruce Hornsby and the Range, and for the last few decades, Bonnie Raitt,  I think because Bonnie plays, people do not realize the genius of this musician.

The drummer had worked with me before when I was in Nashville, two years ago, Fred Satterfield, of the Oakridge Boys and Ronnie Laws. Bassist, Steve Mackey is with Dolly Parton, and again, a major talent. Matt Berry rounded out on guitar and was just divine in filling in those places that round out the song. Eric on Keys and B 3, and adding steel guitar, I threw in some back up on one song, and Katie knocked it out of the park. She has no idea of the star power that Eric got her on her first 5-track EP download.

I can”t wait to hear the finished project. I feel so honored to have worked with these guys, I even got to cut a song with them myself, due to Eric’s generosity.

Katie Pilkey and I had the best time seeing Nashville by night, and being in the studio all day. It is possibly the best time I have had in the studio in a long time.

Can’t wait to do it again!

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

Born to sing? How do you get there?

They said it tonight, on American Idol, and it is said over and over: “You were born to sing”. Well, yeah, thanks, but what do you do if you don’t have the contacts, or “juice” TO GET STARTED.

It is very hard and you must have a plan. If you have read my blogs you know, my dad simply took me up to Capitol Records and I sang behind the president’s desk. Wham, had a contract. Not that easy now.  Not half as easy, so you must plan how to get discovered.

There have been people  discovered  on YouTube. That is one way. If you do it this, make sure you are brilliant to get as many hits as you can.  I have students who are much better than the two final contestants on American Idol so I know it is largely luck and timing.

If you have a backer {financier}, you can find originals and record some great songs and shop them. My student Cherish Berdahl did this.We went to Nashville through a friend of mine, Producer Eric Bikales. Eric found 4 great songs and they are better than anything I have heard on the CMA’s.

The songwriters are Grammy award winning writers, Vince Melemed, Danny Orton and David Kent. These songs and her voice are so strong I know it is a matter of time before It happens for her. She is a better singer now since we recorded in  Oct, so I am in favor of her re-doing the vocals. This is one wasy to go, but it isn’t cheap.

Another way is to go to Los Angeles, get a day job, and sing in clubs every where and every time you can. Learn to read music and be a session singer. Do ANYTHING you can to get out there. Check out people who come on to you, don’t trust anyone. it is easy to do a background check. See if they are in the unions, or just do a search for warrants. It is a rough business and people will promise you everything and give nothing.

My two students D&A have recorded at least 6 sides and one video. They are so close and still it hasn’t happened. They are ready. They dance, sing, have personality, looks to kill and supportive parents. If it is hard for them to get a deal, it is really hard for anyone! A Record label has been courting them for months and no deal yet.

The Fulco Family from here in Vegas, took a few lessons from me, they have just decided to be on “Wife Swap” to get noticed. Any publicity will help; they are smart to do this. They are a modern day “Partridge family” band and they are good.

So bottom line is… get out there, stay active, be creative, and keep at it. Don’t give up, after all, you were born to do it!

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

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