I guess I have always wanted to be a performer of some kind. I can remember being very very young, and secretly belting out “Before the Parade Passes By” with Barbara Streisand, or looking at myself in the mirror or a window attempting to make my face appear genuinely sad, shocked, scared, lost, excited, contemplative…and any number of other emotions. I never wanted to be famous (I still don’t), but I often dreamed about being on Broadway, on a sitcom like Friends or Will and Grace, or voicing a Disney Princess.
I began my “performing career” as a gymnast. I was very competitive (to a fault), with ambitions to get a college scholarship to UCLA. That dreamed changed however, when I was forced to retire at 15 years old due to a bad back injury. A panel of doctors wanted to fuse several of my lower vertebrae together. My parents and I were not particularly excited about this, so we decided that I would quit gymnastics, and try less invasive ways to alleviate the pain.
It was difficult to leave the gymnastics world, but I soon found something I knew I could enjoy even more. I fell in love with musical theater. I attended The Academy of the Performing Arts (APA) at Huntington Beach High School, and participated in a couple musicals and plays. In truth, I strongly disliked almost everything about high school. I had two English teachers that were very inspiring, and the acting teacher seemed to like me, but I wanted a lead in a musical more than anything (enter my stupid competitiveness), but it just never happened for me.
Finally, my senior year I decided to move on. While completing my last year of high school, I auditioned and was accepted into a performing group called The Young Americans. I was immediately so busy, so tired, and SO HAPPY. My parents spent their late teenage years traveling the world with The Young Americans (it is how they met), and the lifelong friends they made in the group are some of the most talented people I have ever known. Sidebar: I always feel the need to defend the name “The Young Americans,” because I don’t want anyone to have an incorrect impression of the organization and what it stands for. The group was started in 1962 in order to reinstall America’s faith in their youth. It is not politically or religiously affiliated. It is simply made up of a bunch of young people brought together by the love of music. Today, the group’s main ambition is to keep music in schools. End sidebar. After I graduated high school, I traveled all over Europe and the United States visiting schools and teaching their children about the importance of music. I witnessed the truth, that music is an international language. We do not need to understand the lyrics to understand each other. The concept is truly remarkable, but I saw it proven again and again. In Germany we worked in an all male prison. I was barely 18 years old. The inmates were 17-25, mostly Turkish and German speaking with very little English, and were there for everything from car theft to murder. Both parties were extremely nervous when we started. The Young Americans usually enter a school with open arms. We are very physically encouraging to the kids we work with (hugs and high fives etc.). Here however, we were very closely watched, and not allowed to even touch the prisoners. Everything changed when we taught them Yellow Submarine. They turned into what I can best describe as a joyful bunch of well behaved fraternity brothers. They put their arms around each other and swayed back and forth to the song. They learned several more songs, and dances, and insisted on calling all of the female Young Americans ladies instead of girls. It sounds crazy, but have never felt more respected by a large group of men in my life. I’m not saying we changed them, I have no idea what any of them have gone on to do, but I knew then that music is magic.
The other thing the YA’s teach is how to support one another, and how to work hard for the sake of each other. When we tour, we do all of the work, we unload and reload the truck in every town, run sound and lights, fix costumes, count props, build the set. We are all counting on each other to complete our jobs. I HATED being in charge of costumes. I wasn't good at it, and they smelled. They smelled so bad. BUT, if I stopped paying attention and accidentally left someones stinky "Hairspray" shirt in Largs Scotland, they would not be able to do the show in the next town. The show would suffer from this, and because I am part of the show, I would suffer too. The supporting each other lesson is obvious, but not always easy to execute. Most people want to be the star whenever they are on stage. The truth is however, that most shows have many stars. It is sometimes difficult to give someone else "their moment," but when you put all of your energy into making someone else look good on stage, the show looks good, and you in turn look good. Everybody wins. I credit these two lessons to any success I have experienced in my life thus far.
After I left YA’s, I enrolled in Orange Coast College, began auditioning for musicals, and started my career with Disney. A long story short, I transferred to UCLA, graduated with my bachelor’s degree in psychology, was finally cast as a lead in several musicals around Southern California, and worked my way up to becoming a full time cast member at the Disneyland Resort.
In March of 2012 I auditioned for a show in Disney California Adventure called The Mad T Party. This show completely changed my life. The Mad T Party is a nighttime event that includes a live cover band, a DJ, incredible dancers, and many other elements. The whole thing is based on Tim Burton's version of Alice in Wonderland, but then turned rock and roll. The craziest thing is that I almost didn't audition for this show because I had no experience singing pop and rock music. The band adds new songs about every three to six months and I have been able to (sometimes painfully) grow every rehearsal process. Being a part of this band lead me to some of the most talented musicians and most wonderful friends I have ever had, and some of them helped me create my first EP of all original songs. I released "Back to the Water" in February of 2014, and the experience of writing music (something I never had any interest in doing) was beyond eye opening. I am so proud of what Dan Franklin, John Flanagan and I created, and I have never been more artistically fulfilled in my life. The project was funded almost entirely by fans of The Mad T Party. They are some of the most incredible and supportive people I have ever seen, and Disney gave that to me. I will always be so grateful.
Because of my experience in The Mad T Party, I now am a sub in several cover bands performing for weddings, corporate events, and private parties around LA and Orange County, in addition to starting my own band made up of "friends" of the Mad T Party band, called Hiatus.
I am proud to say that many of my life goals have returned to those I had in my childhood. I still want to be the voice of a Disney princess (or character in general). I still would like to be on TV....and I still don't want to be famous. I am constantly learning, and so excited to see what the future holds.
Today, I sing in several cover band in the LA and Orange County area, do as much studio session work as I can get my hands on, still perform full time for Disney, and most recently, I became the producer and manager of Hiatus, a new cover band and production company for hire across the US.
If you are looking for a studio singer, or for a live band for an event. I can absolutely help you out! Just click the word contact on the top of the page, and we can start communicating. :)
What I do now