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Jazz vocalist René Marie critiques student performances

March 3, 2015

Students studying vocal arts and musical theatre at Stephens had an opportunity to perform for a Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist yesterday.

René Marie, a singer, actress and writer, encouraged them to sing in a comfortable range—and to stay away from strenuous notes.

“It’s like wearing comfortable shoes,” Marie said. “You can do so much more than if you’re in six-inch heels.”

That said, she also suggested trying songs in different keys and tempos. Get to know a song well before performing publicly, she said.

Marie was in Columbia as part of the University of Missouri’s “We Always Swing” Jazz Series. Following her master class at Stephens, she gave a public presentation on campus about her life and career.

Married at 18, Marie left her husband of 23 years after he gave her an ultimatum: stop singing or leave. She started her music career after the age of 40. She most recently recorded her 10th album, “I Wanna Be Evil (With Love to Eartha Kitt),” which was nominated for a 2015 Grammy.

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