INTERVIEW WITH TIFFANY DESROSIERS
According to your biography, you started out doing dancing and acting before deciding to focus on music. What was it about singing that captured you?
When I was 8 years old, I took acting lessons and was naturally envious of the other girls in the class who sang because they received all of the roles and attention. Around the same time, my grandma encouraged my mom to enroll me in singing lessons and I would bring Celine Dion songs to my teacher to learn. As my teacher’s forte was teaching classical singing, she never dappled in pop style of songs with me as she wasn’t comfortable teaching it, so I started to experiment with pop vocalization myself. I was so fascinated with Celine Dion’s voice that it was a real challenge for me to try to learn how she produced her timbre. It was when I attended an N’Sync concert at age 13 and was so enthralled with the caliber of the production and talent that I decided that performing was what I wanted to do. So basically it was a combination of these three events that catapulted me toward singing as a career.
You have a beautiful warmth and depth to your voice and most of your music centers in the medium to low range of your voice, so I was quite surprised to come across your version of Mozart’s ‘Queen of the Night’ aria! Have you always had such a wide range? Or was it something you discovered with classical training?
Oh why thank you!! That is such a compliment. I’ve always had a wider range but my range has definitely stretched as I learned the proper technique of how to sing coloratura notes. It was actually something that I discovered with Seth Riggs/Speech-Level-Singing technique which crosses all genres of music, but my classical teachers helped me refine it and after further exploring my voice type, challenged me to be able to sing a high F live on stage, which I never thought I would have been capable of.
One of your unique qualities is that you are able to sing both classical arias and pop vocals. Do you find it an easy transition to make? Also what do you do to maintain a healthy vocal function in both of these different styles?
I do find it a relatively easy transition to make, however, when I have a classical concert or competition coming up, I try to sing as little pop music as possible, because using too much of a pop tone can add weight to my voice when I need it to be as bright and light as possible. I try not to overcompensate vocally if I can’t hear myself properly, whether I’m using monitors or am in a venue where it’s hard to hear myself, and also I make sure that in sound check everything is balanced so I don’t feel the need to push vocally. Technically I also make sure to ‘cover’ and narrow the back of my throat in both styles, but make sure to give enough lift in the soft palate for classical, whereas for pop my soft palate is still lifted but it feels a lot more ‘straight out the mouth.’ I also try to use my natural resonators so I don’t have to work so hard vocally. I used to really monitor the foods I’d eat before a show but I don’t worry too much about it anymore, except for avoiding dairy in general.
You have done a bit of experimentation with dance music. What other genres would you like to explore?
Naturally I love adding classical elements into the pop songs I sing, whether with an infusion of strings or a classical touch like at the end of “Fearless.” It would be interesting to explore gospel music more, and I’ve been told my voice could suit country so I’d be open to trying those styles out.
On the classical side, which do you prefer more; singing art songs or operatic arias?
Operatic arias! They are so vocally challenging and emotionally driven.
Who has been your favorite artist, composer, or producer you have collaborated with so far?
I find value in everyone I work with and it’s so hard to pick someone! One of my very favorites though I think was the former Canadian Tenors who transformed into Destino, because I was 18 and just starting out professionally when I had a chance to work with them. I really admired them and it was such a compliment and a great confidence-booster to be included in shows and go on tour with them.
You are a member of the new classical crossover group Vivace. Tell us about how you became involved and what you love most about singing in an ensemble.
About three years ago, I was asked to be a part of a new popera group that was being created and they asked who I would recommend. I had met Marc on Myspace about five years prior and he immediately popped into my mind. DJ and I attended the University of British Columbia together and Melody and DJ were in the Vancouver Opera together. We first performed together at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Eventually we re-branded as Vivace and into the group we are now. What I love most is touring and visiting new places and I really enjoy sharing the stage with the other members and interacting with them on stage. They are some of my best friends and are very smart, talented performers.
Visuals are very important to popular music and are starting to be much more important in classical music. Do you feel any pressure to maintain a certain image or do you think the work should stand for itself?
I don’t feel a lot of pressure. I used to worry about it but as soon as I stopped worrying, I became comfortable with my figure. I definitely think it’s important to take care of yourself, but I think in the past there has been way too much emphasis on image and am very happy that this has started to transform in pop music and that artists can now been seen as real people and not as inhuman with perfect figures. In classical music I have never felt pressure about image, but more so pressure to be perfect vocally.
Once you have established yourself as a singer, do you think you’d like to try any crossover attempts with acting and singing, like Glee or Smash?
I would absolutely LOVE to be involved in a show like that. I don’t like to box myself in a particular genre because I tend to get bored, so am always open to experimenting with elements of different styles.
Which elements move you more, melody or rhythm?
I’ve always been drawn to melody. The hooks and shape of a song can draw you in and keep you coming back to hear it again.
To learn more about Tiffany please visit her website tiffanydesrosiers.com