Rebecca Zama plans on releasing an album before the year is over. And what a treat it will be for those who have seen her perform live, and those who have not. Those who have watched the Boston-bred singer-songwriter sing ballads like “Worth it All” by Dominic French and Max Macrides know that she has a marvelous range, and grace on the stage.
Kreyolicious: Tell us how your musical career begun.
Music has always been a passion of mine, and I’ve known that I wanted to be a musician since I was a baby. My musical career began very early, I started singing and performing around Boston at the age of three. It started because of my mother’s faith in me and my music. She has encouraged me to pursue my musical career and gives me all of the unconditional love and support I could ever hope for. She pushes me to be the best that I can be. Since a young age, I was exposed to both Haitian and Afro-Caribbean music as well as American music, especially R&B and soul, and those built the foundation for my musical taste and the music that I sing. I’ve mostly sung R&B and pop music, but this year has really shifted towards focusing more on the kompa/zouk scene. I’m mainly self taught and I’ve used each of my musical endeavors as a learning experience so that I can improve my craft. I also play the piano, which I’ve been doing for over 10 years. I am devoted to my musical career, it takes up all of my free time when I’m not at school. I perform constantly, and spend a lot of time writing new music as well. I released an album “Brighter Than the Sun” last year, which is all original music of Pop and R&B, and this year be ready to expect some new zouk/kompa music from me!
Kreyolicious: Being that a singer’s voice is his or her primary asset…what steps do you take to protect yours?
I do a lot to protect my voice, my number one method of protection is tea. Hot tea with honey lemon and ginger on a daily basis keeps my voice strong and healthy and of course drinking a lot of water. But also, I make sure to always wear a scarf when it’s even the least bit windy outside and I avoid dry environments. Most importantly, I make sure to do vocal exercises every day to keep my voice energized, sharp, and to increase my stamina. The voice is so delicate and I can’t afford to lose my voice, so hydration, protection, and practice are my keys to maintaining a strong and healthy voice.
Kreyolicious: You’re based in Boston. What’s the musical scene there like?
I think the words “diverse” and “energetic” are the best words to describe it. Boston is so culturally diverse, and that gives the opportunity to explore so many genres of music you don’t even know exist. Although it’s small, the music scene here is full of life and love. There is always something musical going on in Boston, and everyone is so supportive of each other. I think that the Boston music scene is underrated, some of the most amazing musicians that I know are located here. The love of music is so present and the city generates a lot of support for the arts, which I think is so important. I’m blessed to be part of it.
Kreyolicious: You published your own poetry collection…Optimum Me. Some would contend that all songwriters are poets…and all songs poems…But a poem stops there…and a song is put to music…What are your thoughts?
In my opinion, songs are poems. Poetry is use of language to create art using rhyme, meter, imagery, and figurative language, just like song lyrics. In music, the words and music compliment each other, and in poetry the music comes from the words themselves. I define poets as masters of expression and imaginations and artists who use words to express themselves and connect with others, which is what songwriters do as well.
Kreyolicious: People enjoy seeing you on stage…they love your music, and your voice…and they may not grasp all the preparation that went into a performance night?
The preparation for a performance is always the most stressful part, but once I get on stage, any worries I have go away. But during that preparation time, I have to make sure that my voice is well prepared, so I spend the previous days rehearsing and then the day of the show I go on vocal rest to give my voice a break before doing a warm up right before going on stage. On the accompaniment aspect of the performance, I have to make sure whoever is accompanying me, whether it be a DJ or live musicians, that they know the order of my set list and know the songs that I’ll be performing perfectly. The day of the show, also, I have to do a sound check and make sure all of my levels are right as well as get comfortable with the space that I’m performing it and make mental notes of adjustments I’ll have to make. After all that, I have to go get ready to perform,which is essentially getting my hair and makeup done and getting my outfit on. I know this sounds like a lot, but once you get used to it, it goes by quickly. When it comes time to perform, every minute of preparation is so worth it.
Kreyolicious: You been to Haiti?
Yes, it’s my second home! I visit at least twice a year, both to see family and for some vacation time, but also to spend time my family’s village in the south, L’Asile, and organize day camp for the youth of the different schools in the village and those neighboring it. My family created the Foundation to Help Youth of L’Asile in 2012, and we organize enrichment programs for youth there as well as manage a clean water initiative.
Kreyolicious: What’s the most memorable day you’ve had as a performer?
Two years ago, I was a Fidelity Investments Young Artists Winner and was given the opportunity to perform at Symphony Hall with the Boston Pops. Looking out from the stage, every seat was filled. The room was silent, I had everyone’s undivided attention. The sound of the orchestra behind me as I sang was truly magical, and I felt the emotion behind every note that they played. After my performance, I got a standing ovation, and the happiness and pride that I felt was unforgettable. It was one of the best performances of my life, and I can’t wait for more experiences like this.