Thursday, October 10, 2013

An Interview with Bri Cooper: Opera Singer, Soloist, Recitalist, Actress, Author and Humanitarian

She is the first classical singer to be featured in the highly acclaimed Black Enterprise Magazine. After many well acclaimed performances in 2012, she got the award of Distinguished Alumni of the year by East Carolina University School of Music. She got nominated for 2013 Callywood Indie Artist of the year award.

And when her debut album Heavenly Grass: Great American Art Songs was released, it remained in top 10 charts for 5 weeks in Music Arts Center. She was one of the few solo performers for the People’s Inaugural Luncheon honoring First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama.

There is lot more to write about Bridgette ‘Bri’ Cooper but let us hear about her from her itself. A warm welcome to Bri on my blog.

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood
I have some great memories, one was how my parents would buy two Christmas trees every year. The one in the living room was what I dubbed as the tree with all the "basics", you know, the stuff we needed, socks, clothes etc. lol. The tree in the basement was where the "good" stuff was.  before you turned the corner, all you could see was the glow of the lights from the tree. When my sisters and I turned the seemed like there were gifts from the floor to the ceiling and about a football field wide. I still try to recreate that experience every year for my daughter.

About your education:
I attended an all girls high school. Those nuns kept us girls in line. It really was like the move the Trouble with Angels. I then attended East Carolina University School of Music.

What career did you plan during your education days:

I always planned on being an opera singer since high school. In junior high, my music teacher from school heard me sing and identified me as having a very unique quality about my voice. My parents and and my music teacher started sending me to concerts by great opera singers. I had not made  up my own mind about it until later in high school. I knew I  wanted to have the same qualities as Marian Anderson.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life

My biggest source of inspiration comes from not only hearing other stories about famous people who have overcome personal obstacles, but my family. My Dad's family came to this country with nothing, I am always inspired and hold myself accountable that everything I have and that I am able to obtain comes from the hard work, pain and suffering of those who did not even know me, who wanted something more for me. I am always moved by that.

What hurts you most in this world

I try not to dwell on hurt in this world. As an opera singer and humanitarian it is my job to heal. I  focus on bringing beauty to the world..... with a little humor too!

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? Were you able to overcome it? How? 
There have been many challenges, when I think about it, many of them have caused me tears. There was a situation a few years ago. My husband at the time literally deserted my daughter and I. So much of it is a blur because I was in survival mode. I remember having to do so much to keep a roof over my daughter's head and food on the table. At one point I distinctly remember for almost a year. It was God, me, my daughter, and tweets from @TheRock  Dwayne Johnson.
A year later, I was featured in Black Enterprise Magazine, won the Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award from East Carolina University          School of Music, and nominated for a Callywood Award for Indie Artist of the Year.

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why? 
Me, because I'm fabulous ;)

What is your favorite genre and why:
I like all types of music, my favorite is operatic/classical. I love the composers, the reasons why they wrote so many wonderful operas, the characters, and knowing that every opera depicts a piece of history. The music itself and how music really does have healing qualities.

What is the purpose of your writing? 
I write, because it gives me an opportunity and another form to express myself. Being an "artist", i find myself always wondering, always analyzing  a choices, emotions, human nature, because that is what lies at the foundation being able to bring a character alive in opera, or even art songs. My writing gives me an opportunity to express what I am thinking and to share with others.

Which of your work released so far? 
My CD Heavenly Grass Great American Art Songs. A compilation of great art songs by American composers and my blog The Mezzo Maven on wordpress.

What are your forthcoming writings? 
My newest single is called Segni Di Pace Fino (Peace Signs Up). It is a collaboration with a wonderful artist. We call it Urban Classical, the song is about promoting peace in communities everywhere.

What are your future plans? 
I am currently working on a few projects that include upcoming recital performances in Key Biscayne, attending the 2013 Callywood Awards in Los Angeles where I was nominated for Favorite Indie Artist of the Year and starting my radio show OPERA luscious, and bringing the book Chrystallia and The Source of Light by actor Paul Michael Glaser to stage.

What best things you liked about visiting around the globe? 
I love learning about various cultures, I am grateful that I have been able to visit so many countries and make new friends from around the globe.

What is your zodiac? 

What one thing in your life you wish had not happened? 
I try not to dwell on them. I try to learn from them and move forward.

What is your definition of fear and how to overcome it?
Fear to me is self doubt.  I always think how you have to be fearless to accomplish your goals. Many people can make poor choices out of fear because they were afraid of being alone, afraid of success and what it brings with it. All of it is self doubt. There is a great book by actor Paul Michael Glaser called Chrystallia and the Source of Light. The book addresses how we all deal with fear and choices we make. It is a beautiful book with very colorful characters. I also remember what Dwayne Johnson said about fear. "Write the fear down on a piece of paper, crumble it up and shove it up fear's &#*$". That analogy showed me that we ALL deal with fear, and the tricky part is how are you going to overcome it.

How would you define God in your words? 
God IS........everything and in everyone of us. It is the universal force that guides us all, it is the wind in the leaves, it is the smile on a face, it is the embrace of a friend, it is the love in I love you. GOD is the beauty and wisdom in the purest from in all of us.

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