Advice Blog Client Spotlight

Client Spotlight: Samantha Gibbs

World, meet Samantha! She is an extremely talented performer with a passion for knowledge. Due to her love of the human voice, we can really dive into the scientific aspects of singing. She has killer pipes and can sing any style you need (even at 9am).

Hello!! My name is Samantha Gibbs, and this is my fourth year working with Julia. I’m a rising senior at the Molloy/CAP21 program getting my BFA in Musical Theatre.  I’m originally from a small town in Vermont, but now I live in Brooklyn in order to attend school and be in the city for any opportunities that arise.  My most recent project was a new musical called “Hang In There, Baby!”  by Alex Arlotta at BerkleeNYC where I played a psycho-babbling kitty cat.  

I started voice lessons in a classically-trained environment working on arias in various languages, and since then Julia has helped me blend and balance my classical voice with my love for musical theatre.  Now, I love bringing Julia a big 11 o’clock number to belt out at our 9am voice lessons.  Some of my top dream roles include Elsa in “Frozen”, Jane Seymour in “SIX”, Regina in “Mean Girls”, and Molly in “Ghost”.  My first role ever was Orphan #4 in “Oliver!”  when I was nine years old, and my first leading role was Fiona in “Shrek”.  

Something I love about my voice is my vocal flexibility.  I love that I can surprise people by singing a pop song and then pull an Italian aria out of my back pocket.  I grew up idolizing Demi Lovato, Kelly Clarkson, and Christina Aguilera, so I really enjoy bringing that belt/riff style of pop music into the musical theatre songs that I sing.  One of my biggest challenges has been making my different vocal registers sound as one.  Coming into CAP21, one of my biggest goals was to develop my mix-belt sound so I could balance out my lower and upper registers.  Julia has helped me find that sound and refine it to work in all styles.  My vocal insecurities go hand in hand with what I’m proud of the most because I’ve worked so hard to get to the place that I am at.

Another fun fact about me is that I will be going back to school to get my masters degree in vocal pedagogy!  I would absolutely love to have my own vocal studio one day.  I pride myself on being able to understand the way the voice works, and I want to share that knowledge with people and help them overcome their vocal insecurities.  Without Julia and the Starling Voice Studio, I wouldn’t be so committed to this dream.  She has really encouraged me to pursue teaching voice, and we have had countless conversations in my lessons about how my curiosities in the pedagogy world.  Julia has been more than just a voice teacher for me – she is also one of my good friends and favorite mentors.

I would love to dive back into my classical roots a bit more this upcoming year.  Julia and I have tackled a lot with my mix-belt, and I think I now have the understanding to apply these notes to my head voice.  Even when working on a seemingly isolated part of the voice (my mix-belt), the rest of the voice will shift around.  I’m a hardcore perfectionist, and it’s been a little intimidating knowing that my muscle memory won’t be working in the same way that I’m so accustomed to.  My goal for this year is to work on new head voice repertoire and build a library of self-tapes.  I’m so much more comfortable belting now than I used to be, and since I’ve been capitalizing on that I recently discovered that I barely have any self-tapes using my head voice.  I want to spread out my focus more this year and work on all parts of my voice evenly.  It’s time to prioritize my vocal flexibility!

If someone is starting lessons for the first time, the advice I would give them is to trust the process.  I had to completely rework my chest voice freshman year, and I was notably on ‘belt probation’ for a solid six months.  I felt like I was losing my progress and I was having a really hard time restricting myself.  Little did I know, I had to break down my voice in order to build it back up again.  I know my voice wouldn’t be where it is today if I didn’t completely start fresh and release all that built up tension from my throat.  Sometimes the best thing you can do for your voice is to take a step back and focus on the basic foundations of technique.  You might feel like you’re regressing or not challenging yourself, but I promise the wait is worth it 🙂