An Interview with the podcasters from: The Holistic Voice by Julimar Alarcon
Interview with Austin Vitaliano & Jordan Reynolds
Conducted on October 15th with the podcasters from The Holistic Voice: Navigating your life as a Vocalist
Austin Vitaliano and Jordan Reynolds met during their master’s program at The New England Conservatory of Music. And one day had an epiphany, why is no one providing this musical outlet?
What prompted you to start The Holistic Voice podcast?
Jordan: I always thought Austin had a great radio voice and that sparked my idea to start the podcast.
Austin: I remember being in Dr.Howell’s class feeling frustrated, Jordan being inspired and it seemed like a perfect blend of “inspirational frustration”. The conservatory life offered so much, but we felt like there was a ceiling. Life happens and how do you manage singing with a family, how do you manage doing taxes, etc?? We wanted to provide an educational resource with all of the contacts we had within our masters and undergraduate programs. We wanted to hear from successful people within our field and define what “success” means.
Did you feel that it was a welcoming environment?
Jordan: Definitely. Everyone who we reached out to was very excited and wanted to come on the podcast. If we ever didn’t get to do an episode it was merely due to a scheduling issue. We went through a lot of iterations with what we wanted our mission to be and what we wanted to focus on. Thankfully Austin and I were going to Dr.Howell’s class and were able to workshop and fine tune exactly what our purpose was.
Austin: I agree with Jordan. Everyone wanted to be a part of this opportunity. The community was open to share their experiences, advice, etc.
Since leaving NEC both Jordan and Austin have continued their busy schedules. Jordan Reynolds, a singer-songwriter in the Los Angeles area, is currently hard at work writing songs and performing. I asked Jordan, "What advice can you give to those trying to maneuver a songwriting career?",
“I started with a very classical background and most recently I was able to join a choir in the Orange County area and that has been very fun to still be connected to my classical roots. Quite a few challenges have risen such as how I can relate that to the audience. More singer-songwriters have a musical theater background than classical. They don’t necessarily think “Oh hey, let me go listen to this podcast about singing”, it’s not as common. One of our most recent episodes was with a musical theater/ film composer. She helped advise on what she looks for vocalists when composing.”
Currently based in Washington, DC, I asked Austin, “How is the music scene in DC?”
Austin: It’s great. Covid definitely affected it at the beginning but it’s starting to pick back up again. I have a few Mozart Requiems coming up and Messiah’s. I’m fortunate to have fallen into a different voice field. One that I had always wanted to get into but wasn’t sure and that’s radio!
When Covid struck, how were you affected in regards to your future engagements, gigs?
Jordan: The pandemic was definitely challenging as our field is very performance based. It proved to be extremely challenging for everyone, but in the midst of that I was able to really dedicate myself to more songwriting and recording projects. But I definitely missed a lot of the live performance aspect. I released my EP in February of 2020 and then everything shut down. I was beginning to line up shows and build an audience right when Covid struck.
Austin: I believe that it pushed us in many ways to explore things differently and maybe bring forth things that we wanted to do. As musicians we wear so many hats. Whether it’s having a 9-5, church job on the weekends, etc, Covid definitely swept a lot of opportunities. I was in the midst of NATS when flights got cancelled, the live performance had switched to being recorded, it was madness. I’m fortunate that my voice over and radio work has really begun to take off again with everything being remote. And the great thing about this is that you don’t have to worry about anything getting cancelled. As musicians we’re very adaptable creatures.
As performers we thrive on the live aspect of hearing an orchestra, interacting with our audience, etc. What is your opinion on things being switched to virtual, Live-streamed, and pre-recorded?
Austin: I’m not a fan of virtual. Although I do think it’s very cool, technologically I feel that we’re not there. Dr. Howell has definitely changed the industry in a positive way by expanding the possibilities of having virtual lessons with a teacher who is 2-3 hours away from you. I think that should be the new standard, however when it comes to live performances I want it back.
Jordan: My response is very similar to Austin. I tried committing to Twitch (an interactive live-streaming service). You would see when someone would login and the audience count would grow but you don’t get the magic and connection of actually seeing the audience. I do agree with Austin that having a virtual voice lesson and being face to face with someone really helps make the most of my time.
In listening to the latest podcast episode with Jacob Khalil, gigging musican based in New York City, his story was so relatable and similar to a lot of musicians. What other guests/topics are you looking forward to in the next episodes?
Austin: We have a couple people in mind. Allen Henderson, Executive Director of NATS, we would like to talk about his experience with the organization and how covid has impacted them. In addition to that we have some contacts in Europe we’re going to check in with.
Jordan: Yes. I’m excited to reach out to a couple who had tried out for multiple different opera companies, while raising 2 kids and just so happened to end up in the same company working.
For more on Austin & Jordan please listen to the Holistic Voice, found on Spotify. Also to keep up with Jordan’s song-writing please visit https://jordanprattmusic.com/ and to learn more about Austin please visit https://weta.org/fm/hosts/austin-vitaliano