Imagine taking on the role of a Disney princess singing to an audience of adoring fans. Singer and songwriter Misty Posey knows that feeling well. Posey has moved on from her Disney experience, and she is taking classically themed music to unexpected places. Imagine hearing an Irish ballad in a pub when it isn’t St. Patrick’s Day. Or encountering a haunting presentation of “Ave Maria” being sung in a tavern.
Welcome to a trend that isn’t really new. It’s called “classical crossover,” and Billboard even has a chart for that genre. In this endeavor as well as others, Posey shines.
I originally set out to write a feature. As I worked on selecting photos and composing the article, I recalled something I said to my husband years ago when I was interviewing one of America’s top poets. The poet insisted I fax him questions. He would then fax me back. Those were in the days when you had to use your phone line and computer to get the fax to go through. After days of frustration and no response, I finally received a fax from the poet. He sent answers to my questions, and he apologized for forgetting to turn his phone on for days. As I read his answers, I realized the most challenging interview you can do is with another writer.
As I re-read Posey’s answers to my questions, it hit me. She had basically written the piece for me in one sense. There was nothing I wanted to omit from her answers. I couldn’t improve on her narrative. I knew the piece would run longer than the Web gods prefer anyway.
So I chose to take the logical next step. Run the interview as a Q & A.
I originally bumped into Texas native Misty Posey as I surfed the Web for respite on a day when everything I touched seemed to break or not function properly. When things get sideways, some people self-medicate. I do it with music. I was spellbound by Posey’s classical voice. I contacted her and we spoke by phone. This interview is the result.
Q&A with Misty Posey
Q: Classical crossover isn’t new, but it also isn’t very well publicized. Tell us what it means to you so that our readers will understand.
A: It’s never boring! Classical crossover brings together bits of vocal and instrument traditions from around the world. I can have all the beauty of the soprano voice, even operatic vocals, yet bring a song to a place where any pop fan is drawn to listen. There are so many ways to use the voice professionally and naturally – audiences love the variations – they’re like pleasant surprises. And for me, it’s heaven to incorporate Celtic instruments and traditions into my music. There are others I like, but some of the songs I’ve written would break my heart if they did not have the Celtic instruments.
Q: You performed as a Disney princess. Was that beneficial to your current career path? Were there any negatives?
A: Every performance is a good experience, but singing as Elsa made me a rock star for two years! Hundreds of children clamored to see me, and screamed the high notes to “Let It Go” at the top of their lungs. It was deafening excitement. Does singing as a princess further my solo career? Not really, but I’ll never turn down singing Ariel’s “Part of Your World.”
Q: You mentioned you like to write. Do you sometimes feel torn between music and literature?
A: No, they feed each other. Writing poetry led to writing my own music, and one song to be released in Spring, is derived from a poem I wrote, “Moon, Oh Moon.” (Published in StrongVerse.com) I also began songs to accompany my first YA [Young Adult] fantasy trilogy before I even finished the first book. A great time to write literature is when the voice is tired.
Q: Acknowledging your love for classical music, name three favorite contemporary non-classical artists and tell us why you like them. Also, tell us which classical artist influenced you the most.
A: Ooh, tough! My friend asked me to choose one dessert if I had one day left – I chose three, and that grew to five!
First – Celtic Woman brings a fresh sound to Celtic music, so of course, I adore them. They bring tradition, but still some crossover to their music. And how can I not love my dress-sisters? I’m all about my dresses…my butterfly necklace…and all that I feel mirrors my art. I noticed Lisa Lambe would always wear the one dress I wanted! Love her. Love her voice.
Second – Gavin DeGraw. His songs are complicated and poetic, and I saw him in concert – he had so much fun. He moved with the music, clapped with the music. It looked like it lived inside him. I think he’s a great artist. He always has a song that blows me away.
Third – Happens to be every artist that ever sang in a cartoon! I used to watch Winx Club Saturday mornings and wish that was me opening the cartoon. Most recently, I found out two of my favs, Loreena McKinnett and Lisa Kelly (from Celtic Woman), sang for the first two Tinkerbell movies – love these two cartoons! Love the music! Not to mention Julie Fowlis singing in Brave!
Josh Groban has been my biggest influence. I feel he started out as a classical singer with this voice that melted everyone, and by the second album, had become a crossover artist, vocally and in song-styles. That’s exactly where I wanted to be. His album, All That Echoes, is my favorite; I love the flavors of all of the songs on this album – it truly never gets boring.
Q: What are your recording and performing plans going forward?
A: I’m so happy to be releasing two more original songs in Spring: “Come Along to the Enchanted Forest” and “Moon, Oh Moon.” The first is fun, exciting, and includes Irish dancing on the recording. The second is one I wrote with no Celtic instruments in mind – I just felt this one needed its own unplacable sound. Also, composer/singer Paul Eastman and I have collaborated on an epic new song; I will record vocals for that next!
(Filed by Kay B. Day/March 26, 2018)