Tuesday, 24 December 2013

HIGH NOTE: Opera starlet Raehann Bryce-Davis talks divas, modern-day Harlem, and her island home

THE VOICE: "These boys are phenomenal. The vowels, the purity of sound. It was just beautiful," says the US-based artist of recently collaborating with the KC Chapel Choir. With colleagues, below.

Raehann Bryce-Davis travels the entire world for work, but her heart remains on the sunny island of her youth, Jamaica. And that's saying something for the lavishly talented mezzo-soprano who was most recently wowing classical music lovers at a recital in Harlem, New York. 

What goes on in Harlem these days I wanted to know? "It's amazing. I just love the whole vibe and culture of the place," the 28-year-old songbird says of the storied neighbourhood that famously inspired the legendary likes of Claude McKay and Lorraine Hansberry. "I do a lot of travelling to places where most of the people don't always look like me. So when I do get to be in a place like that, where I see my people around me, I get excited. And that's exactly how I feel about being here in Jamaica." 

The charming, full-bodied songstress and fast-emerging opera starlet was in her element (glorious pipes all ablaze!) this past Sunday at the UWI Mona Chapel, giving a magical rendition of excerpts from Handel's masterful oratorio The Messiah, alongside the Kingston College Chapel Choir. "It was fantastic," she tells TALLAWAH following the well-attended concert. "These boys are phenomenal. The vowels, the purity of sound. It was just beautiful." 
Born in Mexico to Jamaican parents, Raehann got to hone her craft at the Manhattan School of Music, where she completed a Masters and acquired a professional studies certificate. She admires the divas of the Russian school and can't stop singing the praises of such African-American greats as Jessye Norman (a personal fave), whom she recently bumped into at Carnegie Hall. 

Up next for the busy bee is a portrayal of Albine in Thais. And when she's not singing? "I like zumba, I like yoga, and I enjoy skiing." And paying regular visits to Jamrock one can imagine. "Of course," she enthuses. "Here is home. I come back as often as I can get here."

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