Life's a song for Alecia Forbes
On The Rise
HER performances always leaves the audience asking: 'How does such a big voice come from such a small stature?'
Life has been a song for petite soprano Alecia Forbes. For this member of the University Singers, as long as she can remember, singing and music have been a part of her being.
But it was not until age 12 that she recognised the power of her voice.
"I've always liked to sing, but (it was) as a student at Vaz Preparatory that people started saying to me, 'you have a very nice voice'," she recalled.
Forbes' love affair with music continued at Ardenne High School where she joined the choir and honed her vocal skills. She was encouraged to audition for the University Singers when she entered the University of the West Indies, Mona, but only made it into the University Chorale — the adjunct choir — at first try.
Forbes made her mark with the Chorale, hoping to make the transition to the 'Singers'. She did but admits it has not been all fun and games since becoming a member of the renowned 50-year-old choir.
"Wow!... It's a little bit of everything... it can be stressful, demanding a lot of dedication from you especially when a concert season or special performance is coming up," she said.
Despite the challenges, Forbes says one of the lessons she has learned since joining the group is staying true to oneself.
"You have to do it for the love of music and singing. In performance, I have learned that it must come from a real place in order to connect with the audience."
Musically, the 20-odd-year-old Forbes is drawn to spirituals which she believes suits her voice best. But also likes listening to other genres such as R&B, with her favourite voices being American opera diva Kathleen Battle and Italian mezzzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli.
Another on her list of favourite performers is Audrey Luna whom she saw in the role of Ariel in last season's mounting of The Tempest by The Metropolitan Opera.
Giving up on this "God-given talent" is not an option. Forbes plans to remain with the University Singers while developing her skills as a vocalist.
"I want to continue training. Possibly study voice with the Royal School of Music, once I can find the funds to offset the cost."