Saturday August 23rd 2014
♥ Where are you from?
I consider myself a New Yorker. I was born in New York City and moved to Nashville when I was 5 because my parents thought Nashville had a better school system. I hated Nashville (and the school system.) I moved back to New York when I was 20.
♥ What do/did your parents do for a living?
My mom was a singer and sang in the chorus of three Disney films, “Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Pocahontas” and “Beauty and the Beast.” She was also on Broadway at one point in a musical called “The Human Comedy.” Here’s a more informative article about her on Wikipedia. Here’s her singing on The Human Comedy (listen to numbers 25, 53 and 54 and 83.) Look up her name on Youtube and you’ll find music from her albums when she was my age. I love her music. She made an album with my dad called Celtic Christmas Spirit, which is also gorgeous.
My dad was a guitarist in a band called Starz when he was young. Here’s a cool video of them performing. He’s the lead guitarist (the one with the long black hair and chunky black heeled boots.) He was a rock star! Here’s another. You can listen to an interview about his traveling with the band here. (skip to 1:43) He played in the pits of some Broadway shows like Jesus Christ Superstar. After retiring from the road, he became a recording engineer and built a studio in the basement of our house, which he ran all though my childhood and continues to run today. He’s recorded with some amazing people like Jeff Coffin and Victor Wooten from Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. We used to say, “Daddy go down stairs, daddy close the door daddy all gone.” when we were little. It was amazing for us to grow up around professional musicians.
♥ What was your childhood like?
I had a pretty great childhood. Since both of my parents were musicians, I got to sing and perform a lot. Sometimes my dad would bring me and my sister downstairs to record tracks on an album. I got to sing in the church choir with my mother and even got paid as a section leader when I was 17. I learned a lot of amazing music from them. My dad introduced me to rock music, like The Who, Sting, and The Beatles. My mom introduced me to classical music. I memorized the Mozart Requiem when she was the soprano soloist. My cousin was a major opera geek and introduced me to the genre when I was 10. I went to see a lot of operas and musicals. Later in church choir, I got to work with an amazing choir director, Murray Somerville, and sing some fantastic solos. I even got to sing The Allegri Miserere soprano solo when I was 19 (despite being in college in Kentucky!) I sang on the classical radio station with the host Will Griffin (my mentor), won talent shows at school, and visited London and New York (the later several times.) I took voice and violin lessons and was an all out weirdo at school, dressing in crazy costumes and reading the score to Die Zauberflote when I should of been doing math homework.
♥ What’s some of your best childhood memories?
First discovering the Phantom of the Opera original cast album on Halloween night when I was 10.
All the times we went to New York City for vacation and stayed at nice hotels and went to see tons of Broadway shows.
Going to NYC to see Phantom for the first time when I was 12 and going backstage to meet Howard McGillin (the Phantom!) He was an old colleague of my mothers from when she was in La Boheme.
Going to Mexico when I was 10.
Going to London when I was 16 and seeing Phantom of the Opera with John Owen Jones. “Go now and leave MEEEEEEEEE!” My sister was a much more creative dresser so we had a lot of fun dressing up together.
♥ What’s some of you worst childhood memories?
My father picking me up from school and telling me he and mom were getting divorced. I hit the dashboard with my fists and cried.
♥ What kind of music do you listen to?
Cirque Du Soleil, dark, disturbing musicals (like Sweeney Todd and Phantom) Mozart and Verdi operas (like Rigoletto and Don Giovanni), Bobby McFerrin, S.K. Thoth, Blea Fleck and the Flecktones, Philippe Jaroussky, Philippe Glass, Michael Jackson, Sting, Steely Dan, Meredith Monk, the list goes on….
♥ What turns you on?
My husband, listening to Phantom of the Opera, watching Phantom of the Opera bootlegs on Youtube, reading erotic Phantom of the Opera fan fiction. (Yes, I’m weird, and I like it that way.)
♥ What are your favorite pastime activities?
Singing, drawing, painting, writing, creating costumes, shopping for jewelry, seeing a great theatre production, walking around NYC listening to my iPod (when I’m in NYC,) walking around Lisbon listening to my iPod (when I’m in Lisbon.)
♥ Are you classically trained? How did you learn to sing/play violin?
Yes, I’m trained classically in both voice and violin. I started taking Suzuki violin lessons when I was 7 and classical voice when I was about 12, though I had always been singing before that. I was an impatient student. I always wanted to sing arias or learn concertos too difficult for me. I gave up on violin when I got tendonitis when I was around 16. I continued training vocally until I moved to New York when I was 20. After that, I couldn’t afford it anymore. 🙂
♥ Do you do your makeup yourself?
Yes, I’ve always done it myself. I’ve been developing my makeup style since I started prayforming with Thoth in 2009. I think my talent for it stems from my drawing ability.
♥ Why have you chosen this career path (if you can call it that)?
When I met Thoth in October 2008, I was amazed how he combined opera, theatre, dance, music, singing, violin, costume design, makeup design and rhythm into one performance. He was doing it all at once! I had never imagined that and thought he was a genius. So I joined him and realized I could add my voice and personality into his work easily. It gives me such a thrill to sing to people and deal with all the issues we face when prayforming.
♥ How long have you been prayforming?
About 5 years.
♥ Who/what are you supposed to be (in regards to my costume)?
To put it simply, I am myself. I see myself as a super hero. Some people call me an angel or a princess. I dress the way I do because I like dressing that way. I think it expresses my inner self perfectly.
♥ Where have you traveled so far?
NYC, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Ruigoord, Paris, Nice, Barcelona, Tarragona, Brindisi, Athens, Marrakech, Madrid, Porto, Lisbon, Sintra, Madeira, Sao Paulo, Berlin, Nashville, New Orleans, San Diego, Oakland, San Francisco, Eugene, Portland, Vancouver, Edinburgh, London….
♥ What are some of your best travel memories?
When we met Thoth’s old friend Vicente randomly on the street in Barcelona in 2010 and he invited us to stay at his house.
The first time we performed on the large resonant patio of a castle in Sintra in 2010, after not having been able to prayform much for 6 months.
The first day Thoth brought me to the parking garage in Lisbon in 2010 where we got to prayform and everyone loved us.
The 2 months spent that summer in Lisbon going to fancy dinners and spending our days off on the beach.
Being invited and going to the Red Bull Sounderground Festival in Sao Paulo in 2010.
Being flown to Madeira to perform at a hotel on a cliff in 2010.
Prayforming at the Angel Tunnel on Thanksgiving in 2013 when the Afrobats weren’t there.
Prayforming at a party at a mansion in 2012.
Getting married to Thoth in 2014.
Meeting James in London in 2014.
♥ What are some of your worse travel memories?
When Thoth was grieving for his lost life and beating himself up for his choices in our first trip to Europe in 2010.
The three times we were stuck on the street all night in 2010 because of missed train connections.
Thoth threatening to stop eating because he was so hopeless in Barcelona (and then in Marrakech) in 2010.
Getting our violins taken by the police in Barcelona and having to pay them 400 euros to get them back in 2010.
When Thoth hit his head on the pool in Madeira and blood gushed from his forehead and he said, “If I die, you have to go back to Nashville.” He had to get stitches. “This is his brain.” the doctor said teasing me.
When I almost drowned in the ocean near Lisbon in 2010. (Thoth rescued me.)
Thoth thinking I stole money from him in Lisbon in 2010.
Being stuck in Berlin for a month in 2012.
Being robbed of $500 in San Diego in 2012.
Getting our camera stolen in NYC in 2013
Thoth loosing his passport in Edinburgh in 2014.
♥ How have your parents reacted to your chosen path?
My dad took a while to accept what I was doing, but he’s always been supportive of me. He is now totally supportive of me and loves Thoth. I don’t think my mom will ever truly warm up to it.
♥ What language are you singing in?
It’s our own invented language.
♥ Why do you sing in a made up language?
It works well with the improvisatory nature of our music. Not singing in a known langueage makes it possible for no one to be able to understand us, therefor everyone can understand.
♥ What is your opera about?
Love and Devotion.
♥ Where does your music come from? Is it influenced by anything?
Our music comes from our hearts. I’m influenced by opera and Western classical music and some Bulgarian and Indian classical music .
♥ Do you perform in venues/do you ever do events?
Yes. We’ve prayformed in a church, a mansion, a hotel, and at several events in different parts of the world.
♥ How can you afford to travel?
Through our prayformances.
♥ Is this your only source of income?
♥ What is your favorite city you’ve traveled to?
Thursday August 21st 2014
“Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.”
―Ralph Waldo Emerson
Here are some things I’ve done that have helped me embrace my own creative path.
♥ Immersing myself in fantasy and dreams as much as possible.
I really believe fantasy life is where we become immensely creative. Imagine the life you want, and eventually it will come true, but maybe not in the way you expected. I developed a unique musical taste from a very young age and spent a lot of my time immersing myself in it. Classical music, opera, Cirque Du Soleil, Steely Dan… I spent a lot of time fantasizing in my room. I’d dance or sing to music, imaging myself to be on a stage or in a fantastical environment. I also spent a lot of time acting as other characters. I have an immensely complex fantasy life. Life is never as creative and beautiful as your imagination. It helps me to retreat into it when life gets hard. My imagination and dreamscape gives me strength and perseverance. It will eventually manifest itself in real life, as it has for me in prayformance.
♥ Not following the crowd.
I’ve always followed my own heart. I never followed fashion or music trends. I did what I wanted. I wore the most outrageous outfits to my regular high school. I was an outcast and misunderstood for it, but I don’t regret any of it.
♥ Changing my name.
I’ve changed my name many times. I was born Caity, changed it to Joe in high school, then Zoe, then Pink Angel in NYC, and finally Lila’Angelique. Each of these names dictated a particular creative time in my life. When I was Joe, I was boyish. When I was Zoe, I was obsessed with Cirque Du Soleil, when I was Pink Angel, I was learning to be a busker, and when I became Lila’Angelique, I’d developed my creative persona. I may change it again someday. Who knows. Choosing my own names gives me permission to be exactly who I want to be.
♥ Not listening to the radio or popular music.
I completely stopped listening to pop music a few years ago. I believe it kills brain cells and makes us into robots. You can never find your unique voice if you’re always listening to the next popular thing. It used to make me feel small and insignificant and it was impossible to embrace my own creative process.
♥ Limiting the use of my iPod.
One of the first things Thoth recommended me doing was to refrain from listening to my iPod constantly. I wasn’t giving myself time to create my own melodies. It really helped me focus more on my inner self.
♥ Not worrying about what other people think.
Over the years, I’ve been judged a lot on my blog. I used to be so concerned with making everyone like me that I would delete posts and give up on blogging for months, or a year at a time. I’ve realized that not everyone is going to like me, and that’s ok. I can still be myself.
♥ Accepting my imperfections.
I know well I am not perfect. None of us are. I am greedy and selfish at times, I have been rude to people, and I have been hypocritical. That doesn’t mean I don’t I deserve love, acceptance and understanding.
♥ Not comparing myself to others.
This is a difficult one. I’ve distanced myself from the mainstream so I can focus on my own personal creative growth. It has really helped.
♥ Becoming creatively self-motivated.
Over the years, I have learned to motivate myself from the inside out. When I’m not prayforming, I try focusing on creative projects like writing or drawing. That helps keep the blues away.
♥ Having no regrets.
When you follow your own path, you will be judged, shunned, excluded and feel lonely sometimes. In the end, that is the only way to become your true creative self. No regrets!