Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sergio Mims Interviews Vocalist and Conductor Bobby McFerrin For EbonyJet.com

[VOCAbuLarieS, Bobby McFerrin, EmArcy (2010)]

Sergio Mims sends AfriClassical this interview recently published in EbonyJet.com:

An interview by Sergio Mims
Friday, April 30, 2010
“If there is one thing that 10 time Grammy award winner Bobby McFerrin has proven throughout his over 30-year career , it’s that he can’t be easily labeled. Incorporating everything from jazz, classical, pop and world music and literally everything else in between, Bobby’s unique vocal style and technique have entertained and amazed audiences in dozens of recordings and hundreds of sold out concerts and recitals that he performs all around the world every year by himself, with musicians, with his vocal ensemble, Voicestra, or in his growing career as a symphony conductor.His first new recording in 8 years is VOCAbuLarieS, releases this month on the Decca label, in which Bobby, Voicestra and 50 other singers from jazz, opera, rock. cabaret and other forms music continue his exploration into the possibilities of the human voice.”

"And no doubt your father Robert McFerrin, who was an opera singer and teacher and the first black male opera singer to ever perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and the New York City Opera, was one of your great influences.
HUGE influence! (Laughs) First of all, and I know this is going to sound biased, he had the best baritone voice of anyone I’ve ever heard. It was rich and warm and he could also sing tenor parts. He had an incredible range and he studied, studied, studied. And as a teacher he showed no mercy. He was a kind and gentle and humble man, but when it came to teaching if you didn’t work he had no time for you. He expected you to practice, he expected you to learn your lesson. If he gave you an assignment to work on for a week he would expect you to know the music the following week and if you didn’t he basically would just kick you out the door and say: 'Have a good time dude if you’re not serious about this.' So what I got from my dad was to be serious, work hard, know your craft and don’t be a slouch.

What many people here in States are not aware of is the fact you’ve established an important career as a symphony conductor in Europe. You’ve conducted many concerts with different orchestras and even the La Scala Opera House Orchestra in Milan and The Vienna Philharmonic, perhaps the greatest orchestra in the world which has never had a regular conductor or music director in its 150 year history. Players themselves select who they want to conduct them. It’s considered the highest honor. And you know you’re the first black conductor to lead the Vienna Philharmonic in its history and La Scala too in fact.
Well, you know I could be. We never talked about it. (laughs)
No really. You are the first ever.
O.K. (laughs) [BobbyMcFerrin's website is: http://www.bobbymcferrin.com]

No comments: