We're back with Feature Fridays, where we interview Industry Peeps and share 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 Xander Rovang, NYC based MD, Conductor, and audition accompanist for several major New York Casting Directors including Telsey & Co, Tara Rubin and Jim Carnahan.
What’s something you wish actors knew not to do in an audition?
Rush. When you’re in the room we want to spend time with you. Even 16-bars doesn’t need to feel rushed.
What draws you to an auditioner?
Power. Not vocal power, but power of presence. Some people achieve it through stillness, some through humor, others through focus. I think the key is to know where your power lies & give in to it.
What would you rather watch: vocal acrobatics or compelling storytelling?
Unless you’re a Tuvan throat singer, I couldn’t give half a crap about acrobatics. It’s actually usually a huge turnoff to me.
What does “belting” mean to you?
Depends on who I’m talking to and in what context. Too often it means screaming or as loud as humanly possible. What I would like it to mean is a healthy, round mix that just happens to bit more forward than either chest or head.
Tell us one fun fact!
Like, anything? I read once that Axl Rose slept with his drummer’s gf, recorded it, and used the track on a song they played all the time. That’s fun.
What would you say to a singer experiencing fatigue during vocal rehearsals?
1- stop singing
2- give yourself extra time over the next several days to warm up
3- check in with a voice teacher
4- don’t try to outsing a Chorus, you will lose
What’s a lasting piece of advice you’ve heard from a Voice teacher or music director?
Sound, like intention, begins at the first intake of breath.
What's a piece of advice you find yourself giving to clients or actors during the rehearsal process?
If you think the composer you’re singing is good, then pay attention to how his/her music crafts the story. Lyrics always guide writers when crafting melody, harmony, & rhythm. Fiero singing a high note is very different than the Hunchback singing the same note.
The majority of your audience doesn’t know anything about singing or dancing, but they spend a large part of their lives trying to decide if people are telling them the truth. At work, at home, in sales, and politics. It’s the one skill you can rely on them to have... so be honest in your storytelling, and trust that it's more powerful than showing off.