We're back with our exciting new series today called Feature Fridays where we'll be interviewing Industry Peeps and sharing insider info, tips, and tricks! If you have anyone that you'd like us to interview, please let us know!
Our next interview is with Trevor Pierce, Off-Broadway/Regional Music Director, Vocal Coach, Audition Accompanist, Theater Educator.
a) What draws you to an auditioner?
I am most drawn to actors who know who they are. That doesn't necessarily mean to limit yourself to what you think is your "type", but you should be true to yourself whenever you audition. Yes, we are casting a specific character, but at the end of the day we cast the actor we like the best. We look for what you personally bring to the role to make it special. And that means showing us who you really are, at your core, in your audition.
b) What’s something you wish actors knew not to do in an audition?
Don't touch anyone. At any time. For any reason. That includes handshakes, pats on the back, poor acting choices... you name it. The only exception if if someone behind the table initiates it... but don't ever initiate it yourself. I once had a pianist quite literally say to an actor "I'm not shaking your hand. If you touch me, I'm leaving." Cooties are real! As is personal space.
c) What would you rather watch: vocal acrobatics or compelling storytelling?
Always the storytelling. Yes, unfortunately it is true that most of the time, you need to show us some vocal skill as well. It's not in your best interest to not give us some sort of impressive high (or low) note or phrase in your cut. But that's just one moment. The rest of the time, I want you to tell me a story. And furthermore, it needs to be a story from beginning to end! Too often actors come in and sing cuts that pick up in the middle of a thought or emotional moment. How are you supposed to connect to that, and furthermore how are we?? Make sure your cuts have beginnings, middles, and ends. It's possible, even in 16 bars.
d) What does “belting” mean to you?
It's about increasing the excitement that we get from your sound. Every actor has their own journey here, and every song is different. I, like many coaches, try to teach a ratio-driven process, urging singers to think about their chest and head voices as one long continuum. Belting normally means heavier sound, but it can also just mean brighter sound or flatter sound. At the end of the day, the goal is to increase the excitement, and regardless of how you achieve that, if you do, you're successful.
e) Tell us one fun fact!
Before I got into music, I thought I was going to be a professional swimmer. I was practicing 8-12 times a week, into high school. Truthfully, I credit everything I know about breathing to being an athlete... it's the best hands-on training you can get!
f) What would you say to a singer experiencing fatigue during vocal rehearsals?
No good ever comes from "pushing through". We all get tired sometimes... our larynx is just more tissue, after all, and it can get swollen from overuse. That being said, I think sometimes actors turn off their brains when they turn off their throats. And that's no good. I'd much rather have an actor sit silently and listen, concentrating on learning regardless of how they're phonating, and come back the next day prepared to work because they were focused from the prior rehearsal.
g) What’s a lasting piece of advice you’ve heard from a Voice teacher or music director?
"Don't be sorry, be fierce." Or maybe that was RuPaul. Who cares- it's my mantra.
h) What's a piece of advice you find yourself giving to clients or actors during the rehearsal process?
You need to be enjoying this. The prep work, the waiting in line, the act of auditioning.... everything. Because this is the job. And if you're not having fun every second of the way... go be a lawyer.