vocals - keyboards
Prior to joining Arise From Thorns I sang a few lines on a demo for another band that Scott and Trevor were in called Fell on Within. I eventually joined them in AFT playing a little bit of keyboards, not expecting too much. I never in a million years thought I would be in a band let alone sing in front of people. I thought if we ever had any kind of live performance I would just hide in a dark corner somewhere. Somehow I worked my way up to singing on a few songs. They pretty much forced me to sing, I was reluctant because I was very shy and I'm glad they did!
I really want to take voice lessons and still plan to do so. I should have taken lessons 25 years ago as I undoubtedly have a lot of bad habits! I've always just loved music. I think listening and singing along with a lot of Tori Amos, Dead Can Dance and Queensryche over the years is where I found my voice and figured out how to do certain things with my voice. I've definitely grown more confident in my singing over the years.
For me, when writing a song, the melodies come first and lyrics are almost always last. I would say 90% of our songs start with guitar riffs from Scott and most of the time I'll immediately have some vocal melodies and maybe a lyric or two in mind. Sometimes though I won't get the vocal melodies until much later. For example our song "Summertime" the music was written probably 20 years ago, but I just figured out what to sing over it last year. But most of the time I'll hear something and work to develop it.
FAVORITE BRAVE SONG TO PERFORM
I have so many favorites to sing live. I love performing the songs live because they take on a bit of a different vibe and the subtle changes that happen throughout the songs in a live setting are so much fun. My favorites include Trapped Inside, Words, Passages, Electric Ravens, Persia, Among the Leaves, I Believe and Mystery.
One of our first "real" Arise From Thorns show I think was at some sort of music showcase that was in a hotel conference room or something like that as I recall . I was super nervous and probably nauseous the entire time. I remember my Dad coming up to me after the show and saying something like "I didn't know you could do that. " I didn't know either! Our first big AFT show was opening for John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band. One of our first big Brave shows was opening for Fates Warning on the "Pleasant Shade of Gray" tour. That remains a career highlight for me!
Finding my voice and getting past the shy marker has really let me work on projects outside of BRAVE. I'm pretty much full time in While Heaven Wept (along with Scott and Trevor) playing keyboards and backing vocals. I have recorded and performed with Division, Kinetic Element, Odin's Court, Power of Omens, David Gallegos, Collins Drive and a few others. The most recent project was actually a collaboration with Brazilian duo Fleesh on the song "Candle in the Dark" from our 2002 album, 'Searching For The Sun'.
The question I get asked the most is why is it that I stand in front of Trevor on stage so nobody can see him... and Id answer that, BUT we are out of time.. BYE!!
Michelle composes on and plays the Yamaha Motif workstation and live, she keeps her trusty Shure KSM8 handy.