Encore: Your First Time?


Hi gang, this is Jan and we have made it all the way to our third week. (And they said our love wouldn't last....)

This week we visit with a first time competitor, learn more about one of the newest Vocal Edge spin off competitions, Off Your Rocker (for the heavy duty rock music set) and check in on the All Stars who were battling it out with Bond themes this week.

A First Time Competitor Takes the All-Star Challenge

I was somewhat surprised to learn that a first time competitor had entered the VE AllStars competition. But not only did she take on the challenge, she was still there this last week as they took on the James Bond Battle Round after many an All Star had bitten the dust in this competition. So this week, we are meeting Sky Forestt, _TheBlackMamba_ on Sing!

Encore: Can you tell us about your background as a singer before discovering Smule?

Sky: I haven't had much of a background when it comes to singing.

I remember taking music in school and I enjoyed it quite a bit, they made us sing live and put on small concerts to entertain people. When I was younger I took part in the choir and really could express myself by the power of singing. That's when I decided to really continue and see what else I could do with my voice.

Encore: How long have you been active on Smule and what groups are you a member of?

Sky: I have been on Smule for 11 months, I discovered it while browsing through Facebook, I never knew how big the Smule community was until I explored more into it. It's quite exciting to discover new people who share the same passion as you do.

I'm a founder of a group called Eleventh Encore, through that group we share the same passion and sing with one another and make new friends. Being a part of a group is something special to me because they are like your family, and you look out for one another and achieve great things.

Encore: How did you first hear of Vocal Edge and what motivated you to join the All-Stars competition?

Sky: When I first heard about Vocal Edge my friend Isabel who's in our group was taking part in one of the competitions, she has been doing it for quite a while and she's very well known within the VE community, she has gotten very far [in competition] and has achieved quite a lot. She told us they were putting up auditions for the all star competition and decided that I should give it a try and challenge myself. I usually tried to stay away from competitions because I didn't like the idea of people judging how I sang and the stress that would come with it always put me off, but I'm really getting into it and thoroughly enjoying the experience.

Encore: So this is your FIRST competition?

Sky: This is my first competition, it was quite a big stretch for me to really put myself out there and finally be open to help and advice.

Encore: What has been the thing you are most pleased or proudest about concerning your participation in VE?

Sky: I feel I have grown quite a lot ever since joining VE I did things I never knew I was capable of. I didn't know what a 3 part harmony was until I joined this competition.

I'm really pleased with my first entry which was the Madonna round because it was all so new to me and I was able to produce something that got me to the second round.

That has been a great achievement to me because I never knew I could actually do something like that or even attempt it.

[You can check out her Madonna entry at: http://www.smule.com/p/470021583_582334196]

Encore: What has been different about All Stars?

Sky: This is a first experience for me, but I feel the judges and the participants are always supportive and if they feel you have room for improvement they will always give great advice on how to improve a certain technique or whatever it is your having problems with. All stars is an amazing competition and it's great to be involved with loads of talented people.

Encore: Are you hoping to participate in any future VE competitions or theatre projects?

Sky: I'm definitely thinking of joining another VE competition, they have a rock competition coming up called "Off Your Rocker" which I'm very excited about and can't wait to be involved in.

Encore: What would you say to someone who is considering any competition?

Sky: My advice to anyone that wants to take part in a competition, do it. A few weeks ago anyone that tried to get me to join one , I would always turn my nose up at it because I didn't like it. And when I finally had the courage to really step up and audition I felt like I was taking a leap of faith. The people I have met along the way are now really great friends to me. The rounds are exciting and challenging but if you really believe in yourself you can achieve anything and really surprise yourself. I'm already learning so much more about areas of singing and music That I had no knowledge of before. If you think you're the best then prove it. Anyone that participates in these competitions are also proving to everyone else what they are capable of, why can't you. Take a jump and do it, you have nothing to lose.

VoxFugit Comments: If, like Sky, you decide to try out competing, look for competitions with good reputations and judges. Anyone can open and advertise a competition. Therefore ask around, what sort of reputations do the organizers and judges they have recruited have in the Smule! community? Do they have good reputations and/or credentials that lead you to believe you might learn something from them? Is this the right competition for you? If you are primarily a rock singer, then a musical theatre competition is unlikely to interest you. Most of the larger competitions are looking at versatility in a singer. If versatility is something you want to develop then these might be great competitions for you.

Remember that ultimately most of these competitions involving Sing! are about fun, meeting people, trying out some things and learning something about manipulating the app or singing and arranging along the way. Much of music is about personal preferences--as is the case in many art forms. So, don't let anyone, whether they are a judge in a competition or someone commenting on an Open Call, no matter how well "credentialed" they claim to be, take your joy out of your singing.

Competition Check-in: All Stars Battle It Out with Bond Themes

Some of the best known movie theme songs of all time come from the James Bond movie series. This week our remaining competitors were charged with updating and dare I say improving upon the near perfection of some of the Bond themes in a battle round.

It was hard fought with some really tough match ups. Perhaps not surprisingly, when an All Star went up against a non All Star, they won. Including the matchup that pitted this week's focal interview subject, Sky, against Season One runner up Cryss2002. There were four match ups between non-All Stars, the most interesting of which was _Kymber_ went at it with dym75 over A View to a Kill. They had equal and some of the highest running totals in the competition when the round started. Kymber opened with a mouth trumpet whose tones referenced back to earlier Bond themes. dym75 went for a more traditional arrangement with some lovely harmonies. In the end, Two points gave the round four win to _Kymber_.

The real fireworks came from All Stars going up against other All Stars. In one case, the quaintlullabies and SiRENSBLuE faced off over the classic Goldfinger (a personal all time favorite) and tied. In that case the judges had to revert to the running scores total to determine a winner and the victor was . . . . quaintlullabies. Full results are available here: https://quip.com/AmoyAjLDwMae

And so the 30 becomes 15 entering into the semifinals of this contest. And four non- All Stars remain to fight for the All Star crown. The top 15 and their running totals are as follows:

  1. iSuperBenedikte (116)

  2. VE_Saralinda_MOF (112)

  3. Sam_ORSA (111)

  4. quaintlullabies (111)

  5. imlouzada (109)

  6. LESTERHARMONY (109)

  7. _Kymber_ (108)

  8. SteffiScheuer (107)

  9. __JJ__ (106)

  10. ikir (105)

  11. CarnKat (105)

  12. _jaymz_ (103)

  13. Cryss2002 (102)

  14. _valerie987_ (101_

  15. shanMcKrause (98)

Round five, the semi finals, calls for each contestant to select a Post Modern Juke Box Arrangement (a theme in season 2) and to do it as though they were performing it with some of the pressures of a "live" performance. That is, each contestant has a total of ten minutes from the time they receive a link with a silent join by a judge to complete their single layer and return a link via PM to the judge who opened the piece for them. This combination means there is "nowhere to hide and artistry and expression are key."

During October, Vocal Edge will have an unprecedented three spinoff competitions, all running concurrently.

This week, we wanted to highlight the second of these coming in October,

VE: Off Your Rocker, the upcoming competition for fans of the expansive genre of ROCK MUSIC.

Judged by some of VEs biggest fans and performers of Rock Music, and headed by the magnificent Saralinda, 'Off Your Rocker' promises to be a tour-de-force of the genre, pitting contestants against each other in challenges designed to push the boundaries of their knowledge and talent, through honest and frank critique of the submitted performances.

You can audition from October 7th, and we will provide more details on audition week. Spread the word, and get ready to rock!

Next week, a look at The Feelers, a group of musical theatre lovers who formed their group from contestants in the first Once More With Feeling competition.

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