Q&A with Kristin Berardi – 2005 NJA finalist

Sydney-sider Kristin Berardi responded to our questions in lowercase, except in the obvious place where capitals are required – GROOVE. What Kristin lacks in capitals, she makes up for with exclamation marks. It’s all about balance…

From now until the end of October, expect to see a new finalist’s Q&A posted every three days. Scroll to the bottom of this Q&A for links to others.

Miriam Zolin: When did you start singing and why? For example, was there a ‘moment’ when singing came to you as a calling or vocation?

Kristin Berardi: i was always singing to my pop records around the house growing up,but it wasnt until i was 15 that i started to consider myself a singer. i was primarily a violinist, and saxophonist until that point, and tried to juggle all three until i was 19 and it was then that i focused my energy on studying jazz voice at the conservatorium. the reason being was that i felt i could express myself better through voice than the other instruments-though you always try to improve such a thing, i certainly got closer to what i wanted to say through voice than through classical violin, for example.

MZ: Which musicians (singers or otherwise) have been your greatest influences? What about them stood or stands out for you?

kb: first of all comes mariah carey (pop singer) – sorry to all the hard-core jazz fans! i think she has an amazing instrument and i love the sound of her voice.
bill evans (piano) – for his sincerity and selflessness. his playing and his thoughts on being true to yourself and the music, continue to give me much hope and inspiration.

ella fitzgerald, carmen mc rae and sarah vaughan (jazz singers)- for their total hard-core swing feel!!!! and their commitment to being more involved with harmony and improvisation.

eva cassidy (singer) – her beautiful, pure, clear voice.

jeff tain watts and dan weiss (drums) – mostly for their intensity of feel, focus. But also, for their ability to also have fun and enjoy the music they’re making!

MZ: What do you look for in a rhythm section?

kb: people who have an intensity about their feel and good time/good sense of time, and who are their because they love music!!!!

MZ: What are your favourite lyrics, and why?

kb: …i dont think i can answer that question… nope-i can’t! i dont know the answer!:-)

MZ: What are you listening to now?

kb: right now i am listening to david binney’s group: with dan weiss, thomas morgan, and jacob sacks. i love binney’s compositions, and weiss, morgan and sacks are an incredible unit of GROOVE!!!!
i’ve also been listening to alan ferber’s new cd – love his writing too!, and both kim burrell, and judy collins’ live cds.

MZ: What do you hope to get out of the Wang competition?

kb: i’m hoping to get out of wangaratta – the chance to share music with new musicians, new audience, and also “old” or known audience-members, along with getting to meet and hear some of australia’s singers (!), to being able to play with the band provided (!), and to hear all the music that’s on for that weekend-both in the competition and outside those walls!!!

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