News

Album release concert 9/30, and Fall News!

Hello, friends! I apologize for being delinquent in sharing my news. This is not because nothing has been happening, but in fact because I've been overwhelmingly busy. Aside from releasing my new solo album Unadorned, I've also started an incredibly exciting new teaching job as Associate Professor of Voice at Berklee College of Music in Boston. (Check out my new Berklee faculty page!) This amazing new endeavor, after two weeks of teaching a full studio of private voice lessons, has left me both giddy and humbled. I am in fantastic company of phenomenal musicians, among both the faculty and the student body. Getting the hang of all the aspects of my new teaching gig has occupied most of my time and energy, but now that things are settling, I hope to be able to share some Boston area concerts with you soon. But in the meantime... read on for an exciting release concert in NH!


Unadorned album release concert 9/30

Join me and pianist Jacob Hiser for a free concert celebrating the release of my recent album, Unadorned. We'll perform songs from the album as well as jazz standards and other favorite songs. Hosted by Phillips Exeter Academy, we'll perform in "The Bowld," the beautiful new 250-seat music performance space in the Forrestal-Bowld Music Center, located on Tan Lane in Exeter next to the Phillips Church. The concert is free and open to the public on Sunday, September 30 at 4pm.

9/30 Exeter concert Facebook event page


I'll be selling actual physical copies of my album on CD at this show as well, so if you've been looking for a way to get your hands on a copy without having to order online, come say hi and buy a CD!

I'm also extra thrilled that the exceptionally talented Jacob Hiser will be able to join me on this concert! Jacob also plays piano on my album Unadorned, and he's one of my favorite musicians in the world with whom to collaborate. If you want a sneak preview, check out this 2017 concert where Jacob and I played a whole lot of duos. He's making a special trip up from Boston for this gig, so please come out to support him as well as me and show him some special love at the concert! 

You can buy Unadorned on CDBaby (direct link https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/ilonatipp2) or from a few other online retailers including Amazon and Apple Music. A big, hearty THANK YOU to everyone who has already purchased a copy online... wow, y'all helped me sell out the first stock on CDBaby within hours of its release! We got it restocked within a couple of days, so there are plenty of copies there again... but hey, why not hop on over and order one right now and help me sell out (and restock) again? Most of you didn't reveal your email address and bought anonymously, so forgive me for not sending you personal thanks because I'm not quite sure who you are... but I know a bunch of folks did purchase the album right away and I am brimming over with gratitude for your support.

A few very kind folks have asked what is the *best* way to buy my album, and I deeply appreciate your thoughtfulness with that inquiry, so I wrote a special explanation of the various ways you can support my music, which you can read at http://www.ilonatipp.com/blog/2018/6/17/want-to-support-my-music. The short answer is that buying it from CDBaby is the best way unless you see me in person (like at my Exeter, NH album release show on September 30)...

...and yes, it is also available for streaming now on SpotifyYouTube, Apple Music, and all your favorite streaming platforms, too. Add to playlists, stream, and SHARE my friends if you really want to help me out! 

If you have any reactions, feedback, questions, comments, or just want to say hi, I'd love to hear from you and I'd love to know what you think of my album! And if you buy it and you like it, please write a positive review wherever you bought it - reviews really do help. 

THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING MY ORIGINAL MUSIC!

Do you subscribe to my newsletter? If you did, all this info would have received in a shiny little email package in your inbox. You can sign up for my newsletter here and I promise not to bombard you with frequent emails.

Want to support my music? THANK YOU!

To all my fans, friends, and family who've asked how you can support my music: THANK YOU! I've had a few questions from some of you on what is the *best* way to buy my album, and I deeply appreciate your thoughtfulness with that inquiry. So here's some more info to help you make an informed decision.


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1. Buy the CD directly from me, in person.

This one is the biggest winner in terms of the highest percentage of your dollars going directly to me. You can think of it as 100% (considering what I paid for the recording, mixing, mastering, design, CD printing and packaging, etc... WOW, there is a lot of work and $$$$ in releasing a completely independent album!). And bonus, you don't have to pay shipping costs. If you ever see me in person, whether our paths cross in daily life or occasionally or at one of my live shows, this is the way to go. If you think we may be in the same location, reach out and ask, and I may be able to go out of my way to get a disc to you in person! However, this isn't possible for everyone, and a lot of my fans are nowhere near New England, so I understand the #1 winner is not going to be an option for very many people at all, sooooo....

 


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2. Buy the CD online from CDBaby.

I recognize that not everyone still has a CD player, or still buys or listens to music this way, or has the funds to purchase the CD. But if you do, CDBaby is the way to go. Please go to https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/ilonatipp2 to purchase from CDBaby. I will earn more money from physical CD sales, but also... I put a lot of time, effort, and $$$ into the beautiful album packaging, with gorgeous design by Joseph Lambert, right down to a spectacular image of me walking through a forest of tall trees right on the disc itself. So if a compact disc is something you would consider, for listening or posterity or a keepsake or whatever, this is the way to go! It also has the added bonus of being able to utilize that UPC code I paid for in order to track sales. In the unlikely event that the album sells enough to catch someone's attention... the in-person sales don't go towards those statistics.


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3. Buy the digital album from CDBaby

It costs half the price of the CD, and it's instant gratification: you get the songs immediately! Please go to https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/ilonatipp2 to purchase from CDBaby. While the digital album is available from a variety of online retailers including Amazon and Apple Music, CDBaby is my distributor and they have been very good about support throughout the whole process. I get a slightly higher percentage from digital sales on CDBaby than other vendors. CDBaby is also a business that is set up entirely to support independent musicians, and what money doesn't go to me will at least be involved somehow in supporting independent musicians (unlike Amazon, Apple Music, etc). Let me be clear: if you want to buy my album, I am thrilled with any way that you choose to purchase it and support me and my music financially! But if you're asking, if you're curious, since you read this far, that is why I'd recommend digital purchases via CDBaby. Oh, you can also buy individual songs if you don't want to purchase the entire album, and each song has a 30-second preview clip. (You can also hear longer previews from my individual song pages with liner notes via http://www.ilonatipp.com/unadorned.)


4. Buy the album digitally from another vendor

If you regularly purchase music through Amazon or Apple Music or iTunes etc and that is your jam, your preferred way of getting your music, I get it. Go for it. As I said above, I'm thrilled you want to pay money for my music, and I will still make a profit and very much appreciate any sales of my digital album, or individual songs. 


5. Listen and follow me on Spotify

Yup, Spotify is free. You can hear the whole album there, all songs in their entirety, as of June 18 and you don't have to pay a cent. If you do choose to listen on Spotify, I will get a teensy tinsy infinitesimal fraction of a cent with each song play. I am not even sure what that negligible fraction is, but it does exist... so if you listen, listen A LOT and rack up those plays for me! Add my songs to playlists. Follow me (link button is right here). Also... if you purchase the album on physical CD and want to listen online or on the fly, this is a GREAT option for additional support. Teensy tinsy infinitesimal fractions of cents do add up over time, and the most fundamental way to support music is to LISTEN to it, and to SHARE it! Add my songs to playlists. Share them with your friends.


6. Listen and share on YouTube

YouTube is also free! All of my songs are there, please listen and share. I also get a very tiny compensation when you listen on YouTube, and the more you are able to share the songs on Facebook or any other venue, the more you help my music get heard.
Album link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZ_q-T2SHl8&list=PLD_uWhC7UOQEpJiKQy-McOg2cViRDIDx2


Extra bonus: reviews! 

Most online vendors offer the option to review an album: certainly both CDBaby and Amazon do. People really do read reviews, and are often influenced by them. It would mean a lot to me if you would take the time to write a review of my album, and mention any details that particularly moved or stayed with you. Every little bit helps, and reviews are another excellent way that you can advocate for my music. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your interest in supporting my music! 

Unadorned coming June 18!

 Photo and album design by Joseph Lambert

Photo and album design by Joseph Lambert

After months of writing, rehearsing, recording, mixing, mastering, designing, and countless other behind-the-scenes steps, my first solo album of all original songs is almost ready for the world. "Unadorned" will be released on June 18, 2018. 

"Unadorned" will be for sale on CDbaby on June 18 in both digital download and physical CD. It will also be available on other outlets such as Amazon, iTunes, etc - but that distribution may take a little longer so I can't guarantee it will be ready exactly on June 18 in all those outlets. 

On the release date, I will send you another email with a direct link to the page on CDbaby. But since I finally had a release date ready, I wanted to share the good news with you right away.

In the meantime, you can hear excerpts of the songs, read liner notes, and learn a lot more about the album at http://www.ilonatipp.com/unadorned.

If you have any questions, comments, or just want to say hi, I'd love to hear from you! 

THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING MY ORIGINAL MUSIC!

New album "Unadorned" coming soon!

Friends, I have been remiss in sharing news about this huge undertaking that has eaten up most of my fall, winter, and spring... but let me remedy that now. My new album "Unadorned" should be released soon - hoping for the end of May? You can learn more about the album and all its songs - lyrics, teaser clips, photos of sketches, fun facts, and more! - right here on my website at 

http://www.ilonatipp.com/unadorned

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I recorded it in February at the wonderful Great North Sound Society in Parsonsfield, Maine.

April 5: Guest Artist with Fryeburg Academy ensembles

Hey Northern New England! I've been invited to perform as a guest artist with fine jazz ensembles from Fryeburg Academy during their fundraiser evening at the marvelous Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield, Maine. I'll sing my arrangement of Duke Ellington's lovely tune, "I Like the Sunrise." The Fryeburg Academy ensembles are award-winning jazz performers, so it's sure to be a great evening! 

Stone Mountain Arts Center is one of the finest venues in the White Mountains region of Western Maine / central New Hampshire. They regularly book Paula Poundstone, Ani DiFranco, The Indigo Girls, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and other national and international performers. I'm thrilled to have an invitation to sing at this lovely venue!

The event begins at 8pm on Thursday, April 5, and you can get more info from my calendar event. Tickets $20, for tickets: http://www.stonemountainartscenter.com/ArtsCenter/Fryeburg-Academy-Jazz-Ensembles.html

Coming Monday 11/20: Exeter Transgender Day of Remembrance

I just finished my newest song, "Nobody Can Tell Me," written for the occasion of the Exeter Transgender Day of Remembrance gathering on November 20. I'm really excited to debut the song, which is a sort of galvanizing quasi-blues protest anthem, at this awesome event next week. I also participated last year, and it was a really powerful evening

A local service for the town of Exeter, NH coordinated by local trans authors (and heroes) Lisa Bunker and Alex Myers, this wonderful evening commemorates the 18th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, a world-wide annual event which honors people lost to anti-transgender violence over the last twelve months. The event will feature speakers and other musical performers as well. It's free, open to the public, and all are welcome to attend! Learn more and see who's coming at the Facebook event page.

Expanded teaching: Boston and Western Maine

I'm really excited to share the news that I'm now running private teaching studios in two locations: Cambridge, MA (Boston area) and in Western Maine. I'll be teaching at my home studio in Lovell, ME and will also teach students at Fryeburg Academy in Fryeburg, ME. I primarily teach voice lessons (learn more about my vocal teaching philosophy), but I also teach ear training, songwriting, theory, and improvisation.

Fryeburg Academy jazz robot

I gave a little concert and workshop to the Fryeburg Academy students earlier this week, and they were a really fabulous bunch. (The photo here shows the music building and their great "FA jazz" little robot dude sculpture.) I'm looking forward to becoming a part of that school community, which has a truly outstanding music program.

If you're interested in lessons in Boston or in Maine, don't be shy - get in touch!

Have you seen the latest recital videos?

God Bless The Child video still

I gave a big solo concert in Boston in April, and I was really pleased with how it went. I worked on this recital for over two years, and I'm excited to share the videos of the event with you. All the songs I performed on this concert are now available on my new Solo Concert 2017 page, so please - hop on over there and take a look!

Hassidic duet rehearsal video

Last week I performed with the Jewish Music Ensemble at New England Conservatory - it was an uplifting delight, as this ensemble always is. Unfortunately I don't have any video of the actual performance, but my friend and fellow ensemble member Rafael Natan took this fun video of the Hassidic duet that I performed with singer Eunjin Ahn and pianist Seyun Park. (It's truly a candid video - I didn't know he was filming it!) I'm the singer on the right wearing grey, singing the top voice. It's not every day I get the chance to do scat-singing in Yiddish!

Come to NEC Jewish Music Ensemble concert tonight! Pierce Hall 8pm! Here's some Moyshe Oysher to bring you Joysher!

A post shared by Rafael Natan (@flightorvisibility) on

Where I May Go: MM recital at New England Conservatory

My big Boston concert on April 23 is just a couple of weeks weeks away. I am so excited to share this event with family, friends, and fans. I've been planning this concert for well over two years, and it is a very personal performance that will be very close to my heart. 

This concert is the culmination of two years of intensive study at New England Conservatory. With this recital (and subsequent graduation a month later), I somehow become a Master of Music. That's gotta be good, right? The program includes works by Johannes Brahms, Duke Ellington, Kurt Weill, Willie Nelson, and more - plus five of my original songs.  I'll be joined by two incredible pianists: my inspiring studio teacher Hankus Netsky, and my friend and colleague / piano superhero Jacob Hiser. 

I will also sit at the piano myself for one set, including the bulk of my original material. I've been trying to write songs for 20 years, and previously had always failed... but finally I have written complete songs, and it is a terrifying and exhilarating experience to share them with the world.

I hope you can join me at this special concert on Sunday, April 23 at 4pm in Pierce Hall, 241 St. Botolph Street, Boston, MA.

Free and open to the public. Let me know you'll be there on the Facebook event page!

Recital teaser: God Bless the Child

I am getting very excited to share my recital concert with you three weeks from today. I am thrilled that the pianist superhero dynamo Jacob Hiser will be joining me. He is incredibly talented, I'm loving every minute of working with him... and you're gonna LOVE him too! 

The program will feature works by Brahms, Kurt Weill, Willie Nelson, Duke Ellington, and more... plus five of my own original songs.

For now, here's a little teaser of one verse from "God Bless the Child" by Arthur Herzog Jr. and Billie Holiday. Jacob and I recorded this in a rehearsal last week, and the full song will be on the concert on Sunday, April 23 at 4pm, 241 St. Botolph Street, Boston - in New England Conservatory's Pierce Hall. 

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on January 16

I'm really looking forward to offering my voice to a special event in Exeter, NH on Martin Luther King Day. I was honored to be invited, and I'll be singing my a cappella rendition of the classic freedom song "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around." It's fascinating how social justice leads to more social justice, and art leads to more art: I got this gig from singing the same song at the Exeter Transgender Day of Remembrance event (which I wrote about previously here), and a kind soul heard that performance and asked me to repeat it for this MLK service. I couldn't be happier about that outcome, and feel very strongly how important it is that I offer my voice in the spirit of social justice and remembrance... because let us not forget, Dr. King was murdered -- assassinated --  for his (nonviolent) work pursuing racial justice. Not to put a dark spin on it, but this is one of the relevant aspects of how art can create change, a concept on which I've been musing a lot lately. 

You can find out more about the event on my event calendar and the Facebook event page, and you can use Eventbrite to reserve your ticket in advance. The community celebration includes a breakfast before the service. 

A galvanizing moment for a difficult time: THIS IS WHAT I CAN DO

I am just coming off of a reflective "high" from having been a musical performer at the Exeter Transgender Day of Remembrance (Resilience) Gathering. It's over now, but I wanted to talk about this event for a few reasons... first, to thank the organizers Lisa Bunker and Alex Myers for putting together this incredible evening - it was... so much. So many things. So moving. So powerful. So painful. SO IMPORTANT. (At the end of the service we all lit candles while two young students read the names of all the transgender people who have been killed in hate crimes throughout the world in the last year. Let that sink in for a moment. The list was LONG, folks, and these were just verifiable-via-media-sources trans-specific hate crimes.) The event was very well-attended, the crowd was warm and proud and out and queer (more trans people than I've seen in one location anywhere in NH for sure!), and the ally-ship was inspirational. And there was media coverage! I don't have a TV so I can't watch the actual broadcast, but it seems that this will appear on tonight's NH1 10pm news, and should be on the NH1 website tomorrow. So anyway, Lisa and Alex are heroes, as was anyone who spoke or offered their voice at the event. And from a personal standpoint (I am inarticulately kvelling here, but if you're still reading at this point, yay!), this event was a powerful catalyst for me to realize that as an artist, THIS IS WHAT I CAN DO. I can, and will, offer my voice to stand up to injustice. I can, and will, bring my voice to protest, and to be an ally, and to chronicle my own experiences. I have never been more galvanized, to quote Lisa, with an "upwelling of zeal" that in this scary and dangerous time, I can use my music to give voice to protest. I can. And I will.

Prost in Pushet: learning a Yiddish swing trio

In the spring of 2016, I sang with New England Conservatory's Jewish Music Ensemble. The highlight of the semester was learning the Yiddish song "Prost in Pushet" from an old recording of Yiddish pop duo The Barry Sisters.  

Channeling the Barry Sisters

I've sung extensively in both German and Hebrew, but this was my first venture into Yiddish. Some of my older family members speak some Yiddish, and I heard Yiddish words and phrases in my family growing up, but I had never heard an entire verse in it, and I'd never tried to say more than the occasional word, let alone sing it. Neither German nor Hebrew are known as the most "singable" of languages -- the consonants they use don't exactly roll off the tongue or out of the throat -- but I really enjoy singing in both languages, and am very comfortable in both. I thought Yiddish would just be a combination, but... not quite! It's been years since I had to practice just saying the words to get a mouth feel, but I did for this one.

 Excerpt from chord chart by lyrics for "Prost in Pushet"

Excerpt from chord chart by lyrics for "Prost in Pushet"

So how does one learn a Yiddish swing trio from a recording? Everyone has different methods; I assume if you've read this far, you're interested in learning mine.

I begin with the form, and as a singer, I base that in part on lyrics. I did have a sheet with the lyrics, thanks to inspiring ensemble director Hankus Netsky. Using the lyrics sheet as a sort of map, I figured out the chords by listening to the recording. I work extensively by ear; if that sounds difficult to you, trust me that it gets much easier after lots of study and years of practice. I assure you it was not too tricky, with this upbeat minor tune. The form is also essential - for example, I wrote in where there was a clarinet fill. Line by line, I noted the time in the recording, which helped for reference in learning the piece on my own, and in rehearsing it with others. 

 Excerpt from "chickenscratch shorthand" transcription

Excerpt from "chickenscratch shorthand" transcription

Then I transcribed both the vocal lines, in my chickenscratch shorthand. (I call my transcription "chickenscratch shorthand" because I am generally more concerned with notes than rhythms, so the notes are all accurate but many rhythms are absent - we could all pick those right up from the recording, and they weren't worth taking the time to transcribe accurately... also my rhythmic transcription can be, *ahem,* lacking.) I noted times in the recording which corresponded to specific measures: a very helpful tool when learning as well as transcribing, to be able to jump directly to a passage in the recording for reference. (For transcription and study, I use the excellent Voice Record app which allows you to bookmark spots in a recording, as well as speed it up or slow it down: a very good friend to the musician working with recordings.) After completing the transcription, I learned both the vocal lines during practice time on my own.

Then, the fun part: rehearsing with other musicians! (Well, it's all fun, really - but collaborating with other musicians brings new dimensions that I find deeply rewarding.) I began with wonderful singer Jenny Herzog, who took the top line while I took the bottom; both of our voices fit well with that division. Though the original recording is sung by a duo, we added another fantastic singer, Burcu Gulec, to the mix; in collaborative trio rehearsals, Jenny, Burcu, and I wrote a third line for Burcu. She covered the lower harmony and Jenny always took the top line, so I sang the middle voice (which is the melody here, as it generally is in a vocal trio). 

After a rehearsal or two as a vocal trio, we joined the band for the whole megillah, as it were. Hankus had parts for the ensemble, very faithful to the original recording, and in no time at all, we were swinging along. We performed this piece at our ensemble performance set on April 16, 2016. 

NEC 2016 Jewis Music Ensemble musicians:

Franzi Seehausen, voice
Burcu Gulec, voice
Ilona Tipp, voice
Jenny Herzog, voice
Rafael Natan, oboe/violin
Artavazd Tadevosyan, duduk
Rubin Hohlbein, trumpet
Daniel Bitran, clarinet
Zach Mayer, bari sax
Elinor Speirs, violin
Zhongjia Chen, ghuzheng
Davey Harrison, mandolin/voice
Matthew Okun, guitar
Yaniv Yacoby, percussion
Jeremiah Klarman, piano
 

Feline inspiration

If I had something cool to say, it would go here. In the meantime, aren't my cats adorable? Oberon (M) is the black one and Stella (F) is the torbie, and they love to cuddle with each other.