Today we’d like to introduce you to Wendy Parman.
Wendy, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My story has been a journey of finding expression through voice, both for myself and facilitating the same for others, through performance, story or song. I am both a performing artist and a voice teacher; these two aspects of my work are now deeply integrated. My own creative work is interdisciplinary in nature, multi-leveled in execution, and has had many different lives-like a cat.
While getting my undergraduate degree at the University of Kansas, I had the opportunity to study with one of Grotowski’s original actors, which completely changed my voice and body, as well as my idea of what theater is or can be. I’ve sung opera, musical theater and was in a roots rock band for 10 years. I’ve written and performed cabaret songs and poetry, that are deeply personal, sometimes dark, or humorous or both. I recently created a musical/comedy web series called Callies’s Solo, (which in 2017 was selected for several film festivals, and can be found on Youtube) about my life as a singer and voice teacher in Chicago. It also touches on middle-aged dilemmas of divorce and the empty nest.
This journey of self-expression led me to be an instructor or guide for others to find their voice through lessons, workshops and various iterations of my Singer’s Salon. Of late, I’ve been crafting cabaret shows with composer/singer Justin Bernard Bowse and one of my most talented students, Lauren Merrick Gaspar. Our new show, “Torch!” will debut May 11, at Davenport’s Cabaret.
I am very excited now about another show I’m creating for the Solo Fest at Three Cat Productions, which will debut May 29. Fragments of Heartbreak Reassembled Here is a mélange of storytelling, humor, poetry and song about the experiences that led to me getting back into the world of acting and creating a web series. It represents an emerging from the darkness into the light as a new person, voice intact. A full circle.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Smooth, no, there’s been very little smooth. Making work of various kinds is challenging and thorny and fantastic and funny and bizarre. Never really smoooooth, though it is often joyful. Coming to Chicago was a challenge; trying to find a way to be a part of the theater community was very difficult for me.
I alternate between being a lonely weirdo in the corner and being the center of attention in the limelight, (who then goes home at night and is a lonely weirdo in the corner…) I still struggle to find a sense of community as an artist, to find ways to facilitate kinship with people, both collaborators and audience. Making the connection is the whole point, and for me probably the hardest part. In the end, I’ve worked with some wonderful theaters, directors, composers, musicians, and filmmakers. I believe we find our people if we keep at it.
My work has at times been closely connected to my personal life and that has been both challenging and inspirational. I’ve transmuted many times. I’ve smashed the whole thing and started over again. But a silver thread remains…
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Wendy Parman Voice Studio story. Tell us more about the business.
Wendy Parman Voice Studio really specializes in the all of the contemporary genres of music. I have mostly adult pros and semi-pros as students now, along with a few teens, etc. who do everything from musical theater to pop/rock, soul, jazz, R&B, country etc. I love working with the individuality of the voice, integrating it, and finding successful ways to sing different material.
Helping folks connect to the content and emotion of songs and helping them find their original sound is rewarding indeed- not trying to sound like somebody else. I have no interest in that. There are enough copycats out there already. I love helping people work through performance fears, probably because I’ve been plagued with that my entire life, which is partly why I developed my Singer’s Salon series.
When it comes to my work as an artist, and as a teacher, I am constantly going after the next new challenge while also staying true to this urge to express. My role is to connect through various pretend or created worlds, to the crazy, out-of-control one we inhabit every day. We must build that illusive bridge from isolation to relationship.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I don’t think much in terms of good or bad luck, but I do think in terms of synchronicity, which I’ve experienced plenty. I’ve been connected to the right people for me a number of times, through seemingly random circumstances.
Sometimes collaborators come back into your life at just the right moment, or you pick up the book you need to read for no good reason. The threads are all interwoven. And then, of course, you have to do the work to make things happen.
- Voice lessons/Private coaching $70 an hour
- Address: 3933 N. Troy Street
- Website: https://wendyparmanvoice.com/
- Phone: 7734748471
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/wendyparman/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wendy.parman
- Twitter: @calliessolo
- Other: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfWddzXpeERx3p5ic8FPPrg (Callie’s Solo Web Series)
Nicholas Suszynski, Alexandra Riegler, Xavier Otten