Interview with Anastasia Lee
By Don McCullen
Don: What performance have you enjoyed the most so far in your career?
Anastasia: I would have to say (I have 2) at the EAA in front of the B-29 “FIFI”. Everything imaginable went wrong. There was no ‘mini-stage’ set up as they said there would be, no microphone, no camera-man, no CD-player, etc. I sang the whole concert live, with no mic., and acapella. The other concert would be at ‘Operation: Greatest Generation’ at the National Railroad Museum. Performing for all those veterans (around 1,000) was the greatest event of my life. It felt wonderful!
They treated me well at both shows, and I was flooded by people asking me for autographs, pictures, and CD’s, which as you know I don’t have CD’s yet, but that is being worked on. I signed shirts, napkins, etc.
Don: Based on your experiences do you have any tips for concert planners?
Anastasia: I am not a picky soprano, in most cases my ‘dressing room’ is a bathroom stall, and normally I don’t get to do sound checks. One thing I do notice is that when someone wants to hire you, they seem to forget what they are paying for. For example, someone said they would like to hire me, and they asked if I sang and pop or Lady Gaga. A tip is, if you are planning a concert, make sure you pick the right artists, (make sure they all have a good following and bring something ‘different’ to your show), and that what you are doing is actually ‘doable’.
Don: How does it feel to perform on stage?
Anastasia: Really it’s just like running. Have you ever heard of “Runner’s High”? Well it is the same thing. So much adrenaline gets pumped through your body, you get jittery, and it’s a neat feeling really. I started performing all over the place when I was around 13, but from the time I was eight until now that feeling before going onstage and whilst being on stage has never left. [Running] is much more physically painful, but as far as feelings go, the excitement is really nerve-racking. I can get pretty stressed out before I run and before I sing.
Don: How do you deal with that stress?
Anastasia: There really is no ‘way’ to deal with it, you just do what you have to do and that’s all there is to it. I like to joke around on stage and on easier songs (that people know), I ask them to sing along with me, and that helps them understand me more and it helps me calm down (let the adrenaline subside!).
The day I sing, I eat nothing. I once sang, ran a 5K, and sang again, all in the same 2 hours, without eating anything (this was at the end of the day). I felt great, but I got funny looks from people. It’s not that I can’t eat anything before I sing, it’s just that I did it so often when I was more of a novice, that now I can’t bring myself to break that habit.
Don: Do you have any favorite songs you like your audience to sing along with?
Anastasia: “That’s Amore”, “We’ll Meet Again”, etc. I don’t do that many songs with my audience, but mainly WWII era songs with the audiences. It depends on the venue, at Italian Festivals, everyone sings along to everything.