Late 17th century: French, literally ‘head-to-head’
1 : a private conversation between two persons
2 : a short piece of furniture (as a sofa) intended to seat two persons especially facing each other
Sometimes in life, you face people you wish everyone could meet and greet. People, who have a personality, wisdom or knowledge you want to spread around like sprinkels on ice cream or sugar on toast. And you have to pinch yourself, because you have been lucky enough to meet them. These people are the reason why I have started a whole new blog category: Tête-à-tête. Because some people just need to be sprinkled!
Tête-à-tête is a personal description, or an interview, with the coolest people I’ve met as a vocal geek. First off in this row of international encounters is my favorite flavor of New York: Jasper Grant. No one inhabits the spirit of community more than Jasper, and on top of that: he has the most beautiful energy to be around – it is actually kind of addictive!
“My main task is to crash your hard disk.” – was Jaspers first statement, meeting up in his coaching room, on 17th floor, 8th avenue, at legendary Ripley-Grier Studios in the middle of New York City. And he did. Giving me tasks such as “play with the five stages of loss and grief”, “sing all the colors of the rainbow”, “touch every inch of my work space (as it was the most important thing in life…)” – or “act all opposites possible in a song” – he just flipped me over. All to make me stop thinking so “goddamn much all the time”. His constant honesty did not put me off or threw me down. It made me feel comforted and most of all seen. “Give yourself permission to play” he said – “and permission to get messy!” I fell in love with his coaching over a common flair for cool hair, the great view from his studio window, dramatic Kurt Weill songs – and my true wish to grow as a singer and a person. But most off all, I fell in love with all his crazy ideas, small tricks and what seemed to be a never ending toolbox.
Jasper has music directed his way from China to California, doing shows like: The Color Purple, Altar Boyz, Fame, Company, The King and I, A Chorus Line, Fiddler On The Roof, Jesus Christ Superstar, yes, you get the drill, the list goes on forever. But most of all, Jasper Grant is a man of community amongst artist. His own organization, B-side production, (the name deriving from b -sides of old records, being the side of songs with rarity, creativity or more artistic freedom than the hit/radio single on the a – side), is created “by artists for artists in order to foster, renew and reinvent theatrical tradition“. Aim for #artistsforartists on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and check out the drill! It is a mix between the best network you would find in business school and an old Indian guru (Jasper don’t know this, but he is actually the one, who made me start meditating this summer, but that is another blog post…). Every victory (and process) of all his clients is shared and celebrated – all to increase the bond between us artists. B-side production is makes amazing shows of course, but they also do picnics for artist in Central Park, NAMA (the new american musical award), late night concerts, a book club for the soul and a really cool blog, featuring topics such as the mind, health, fun – all in the context of being an musical theatre artist. Do check it out – it is so worth your time!
A lot of my New York truth telling piece actually comes from Jasper – read it here – and be ready for inspiration!
I promise that not all my Tête-à-tête posts will be as teenage puppy love like this one. But sometimes you have to start out with a bang! For Jasper to come to Norway to teach and play, is a big dream for me, but if you have the chance to visit New York – check him out and try to get an appointment – Jasper coaches you in subjects such as acting, musical interpretation, repertoar work, preps you for auditions or helps you pick out the perfect songs for your next cabaret act. But if you get in, be prepared for big magic. Because the coolest thing with Jasper – above all his mental wisdom, community work and his magical toolbox – is that he really knows how to make music. He is a monster behind the keys – and working with him always felt like making music. Just like plain old making music. And that is the best way to get over your self – just make music!