Saturday, December 14, 2013

Pheaturing Phile Alum Stephanie Nakasian

Hello, everybody, and welcome to another Phile. I'm your host Jason Peverett, but you can call me Back Door Santa. I make my runs about the break of day. Haha. My favorite line from that song is I ain't like the old Saint Nick, de don't come but once a year. That line cracks me up. So, how are you? You know, I think I am gonna get a new job as a sign language interpreter. I'm doing some kinda sign language now. Seriously though, it looks as though that fake sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's funeral may not have actually had balls the size of South Africa but a mental disorder which caused him to hallucinate under the pressure of signing in front of the entire world. Thamsanqua Jantjie explained, "What happened that day, I see angels come to the stadium… I start realizing that the problem is here." Which is never a good way to begin a big job. I'd apply to be the sign language interpreter at Mandela's NEXT funeral, but this star angel with 7000 glass hands is telling me no. Jordan Linn Graham admitted that she did in fact push her husband off a cliff at Glacier National Park just about a week after their wedding. She claims the two were fighting and she pushed him without thinking about their whereabouts, thus neglecting the first rule of pushing your spouse at the top of a very large cliff.  Science which has long reveled in destroying everything good and nice in the world has finally achieved its ultimate goal and proved all of reality out of existence. According to research done at Ibaraki University in Japan, the entire universe is just a big hologram and everything you know and love is bullshit. So, have a nice weekend.  Gay Australians watched their marrige rights spiral down the toilet... in the opposite direction than gay Californians watched theirs spiral 5 years ago, after the country's highest court struck down a law legalizing marriage equality. The national director of Australian Marriage Equality called the decision a "temporary defeat." Don't forget to set your clocks back 100 years if you're against gay marriage.  A bunch of rich kids broke into an abandoned but fully furnished mansion in a wealthy L.A. suburb and threw a party before looting the house and leaving $1 million is damages and stolen property. Among the objects stolen was a mounted leopard worth $250K.   So, do you guys know about this Elf On A Shelf? I think it's kinda cool. I showed you a picture of him last year, and now he is up to even more mischief. Check it out...

Lucky elf. Wait, those are dolls? Never mind. Haha.  You know I'm a big Star Wars fan, right? I thought George Lucas was really creative with some of his characters until I saw a certain Norman Rockwell painting. I have it here in case you don't know what I'm talking about.

That's pretty clever. I wish I knew who the real artist was, I would invite him onto the Phile.  Christmas is right around the corner and up to Christmas I am showing you some clever Christmas ads. This one is kinda cool...

And just for the hell of it I am showing you some geeky Christmas trees.

Okay, like I said, Christmas is around the corner and you might be struggling what to buy for your loved ones. So, like last year, I'm here to help. So, once again, here is a little pheature I call...

Work your slap save, backhand, drop stop and bounce pass on this working pinball machine "(app)cessory".

Just like the classic cabinets only smaller, Pinball Magic recreates classic arcade pinball action on your iPhone or iPod touch device. It even has flipper buttons, ball launching plunger and credit/select button. Oscillating LED indicator and animated backbox set the stage to reward your pinball wizard skills! You can buy it right here:

If you spot the Mindphuck email me at Okay, before we continue I have to talk about something. Long time Phile readers know I grew up in Port Jefferson, Long Island. Well, I miss Port Jeff and have no idea when I'll be back there. I wanna go back really bad because two years ago Port Jeff Brewing Co. opened. Here is a picture of it...

Anyway, a month ago or so I came up with the idea that if I plug the Port Jeff Brewing Company here on the Phile they might want to send me free samples or at least an XXL T-shirt or baseball cap. I thought it's worth a shot. So, go to Port Jeff Brewing Company and try a Peppermint Porter, brewed exclusively for Superstar Beverage. I bet it's reaaalllll good!!

Okay, so, Laird Jim, a good friend of the Phile has a crazy story he wanted to share. He's a singer, patriot, and renaissance man. You know what time it is...

Just when you think you like someone... My clients today were seemingly nice guys. Had a pleasant day. Wait for it. As we arrived back at JFK... the tall one says, "I feel you Americans have a dim view of Germans in general due to the Hollywood propaganda films depicting Nazis as more evil than they in fact, were. As well as the Jew controlled media grossly inflating the actual numbers of Holocaust victims." I sat for two full minutes in stunned silence before I could reply in a calm measured manner. "You're right, the Nazi regime had lousy press agents. I guess these days, you'd roll out a Hitler bio starring Ben Stiller and everybody would be wearing jackboots next fall. You are both ill mannered currs, not fit to walk the streets of this city. Let alone do business and prosper here. I'm glad you're leaving... New York wasn't running short of assholes today. We don't need you." Fucking Nazi BASTARDS! I need a drink... maybe ten.

Today's pheatured guest is a Phile Alum and the author of "You Already Know How to Sing: Voice Lessons-Life Lessons", and her latest album "Show Me The Way To Get Out of This World" is still available on iTunes. Please welcome back to the Phile... Stephanie Nakasian!

Me: Steph, welcome back to the Phile. Can I call you Steph?

Stephanie: Of course.

Me: So, how have you been?

Stephanie: Many changes this year... dad's house burned down, he passed away at 97... had a great life, I miss him! Then we had to move from the property so we bought a house... changes!!! While still missing our daughter who's in school in Miami... sigh.

Me: I'm sorry to hear all that happened, Steph. Your daughter, like you, is a very talented jazz singer. She's at the University of Miami now, am I right?

Stephanie: She is... gigging all over... in jazz, pop and now E.D.M.... electronic dance music. Her band is Codega. Can see and hear them on Facebook, she's doing great!

Me: What is she studying there?

Stephanie: She's majoring in jazz at the Frost School of Music there but also taking liberal arts courses and courses at Bruce Hornsby's Center For American Music'. She's learning technology/ production and lots more, singing with great ensembles!!

Me: You know, having you as her mom and Hod O'Brien as her dad you'd think she learnt everything growing up. Did she get a scholarship?

Stephanie: Full ride! Thank God, but its still expensive.

Me: You studied jazz at a university as well, am I right? But not in Miami I think.

Stephanie: I studied economics at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, then got my MBA in finance and international business and was a consultant and banker in NYC before jazz.

Me: You're based in Washington DC, am I right?

Stephanie: We're in Charlottesville, Va... 2 hours west and south of DC... home of Thomas Jefferson, Monroe and Madison, etc.

Me: I have to ask you about Hod, how is he and I still have to get him on the Phile.

Stephanie: He's in Europe on tour with Chuck Israels (from Bill Evans' Band The First Billevans) and guitarist Axel Hagens from Holland. They're in Holland and France playing in Hod's favorite type of group, piano, bass, guitar as in his old days with Joe Puma and bassists at Gregory's in NY in the 70s and 80s.

Me: He's a legend in the jazz world, isn't he? You met through music, am I right?

Stephanie: A legend that doesn't work enough!! He's shy and doesn't hussle... I'm not that good at it either but he is the greatest! We met at Gregory's in NYC... 1980!

Me: Before we talk about your new book which is in the Phile's Bool Club, I have to talk about your latest album "Show Me the Way to Get Out of This World". Man, what a long title, which I think I mentioned last time you were here. How is that album doing?

Stephanie: Who knows? I'm not into following my projects... just keep creating and putting them out there. I have to leave that to others... so I guess it's not going as well as if I were hussling it... it's a great CD featuring another great and unknown pianist Harris Simon... he is worth listening to!!! I am grateful to Capri Records... they have really backed me on this, but the market is horrid... well beyond that, but let's not talk on that.

Me: On the cover you're sitting on a suitcase in a road. I'll show a picture of it here again, Steph.

Me: Where was that taken, Steph?

Stephanie: I had an amazing "team" who volunteered out of love to put together the cover. The photographer Hans Lorenz had been photographer for Williamsburg so we shot it in Jamestown Island, the layout was done by a team headed by a great portrait artist Nancy Harris. It was wonderful how they helped me!!!

Me: You do a few cover's on the album, including the Van Morrison song "Times Are Gettin' Tougher Than Tough". What made you choose that Van song, and are you a big fan of his?

Stephanie: Sure, but I learned that song while on tour in the 90s with the Danish Radio Big Band... it's a great song and I have a killer big band chart for that... got a standing "O" in San Jose a while back!!

Me: I wonder what he would think of that song. Do you know if he heard it?

Stephanie: No idea.

Me: I'd love you to do a Beatles cover or two. Have you ever thought about that?

Stephanie: I think about it and then I find more great standards from the Picassos of the popular music world... I'll do it. My next album may pull from my own childhood rather than that of my parents'.

Me: You teach singing as well as performing, and I am sure you know a good voice if you heard it. Are their any newish singers out there that you think has an amazing voice? Miley Cyrus perhaps?

Stephanie: I really don't know... the emphasis is on screaming, whining and whispering... i love singing! Real voices with beautiful richness... then the pretty voices have to have 'umph' and make you feel something. There are pretty voices out there... but not really full of character. I'm so good at criticizing... but I'm working on my own stuff too.

Me: How would you react if your daughter Veronica started acting like Miley?

Stephanie: Haha. She'll do her own outrageous things... don't worry!! She has to discover herself, but I promise if she does... it will be real to her and not forced or contrived.

Me: Alright, let's talk about your new book "You Already Know How to Sing: Voice Lessons - Life Lessons". Man, you sure like long titles, Steph. When did you start to write that book?

Stephanie: I wrote 400 pages between 1996-1998 after my mom died... it was therapeutic. The appendix of that became my first book "It's Not On the Page!"... about jazz and jazz rhythm, then I got back to it in 2000 but never finished editing it... after my dad died I finished the singing technique part... that's the new book. I'm really happy with the book... it's the result of 20 years of teaching.

Me: What about if you don't know how to sing, like me, is that book good for people that can't carry a tune in a bucket?

Stephanie: It's bizarre but if you can match a pitch, you can sing. Ear training is an ongoing process... There are very few really tone deaf people. My students who are not well ear trained get right to the piano. At first copying the pitches they hear but then learning to sing it and then check it. You have to hear it and calibrate the ear to different intervals, but it can be done. Everyone can sing.

Me: How long did it take to write, Steph, and when did you come up with the idea for it?

Stephanie: All of it came from my great students at UVA and William and Mary here in Virginia and at workshops across the country. Usually 40 a semester... private lessons. Each one with a different story of insecurity about singing yet each one with a song to sing. And a unique great voice in there somewhere. So I guess it's taken 20 years of research and laboratory work.

Me: Life lessons are also in the book. What kinda life lessons? Anything that could help me do you think? I need some life lessons.

Stepahnie: Things like let go of control to have real control... go in to go out. There is no up and down or high and low... it all comes from one deep connection. Don't think of where you are or where you have been... just keep your eye on the road ahead of you, or in music the end of the phrase. You already know how to sing.

Me: The book comes with two CD's... what's on the CD's?

Stephanie: Over 130 minutes of exercises from the book. When students sing with me my muscles talk to their muscles and they get it.

Me: Oh, okay. What has been the biggest feedback you got from the book, Steph?

Stephanie: It works. I have been told its very liberating and supportive of self discovery as well as learning music.

Me: So, will you be releasing any new music soon?

Stephanie: When I clear some space from all these changes and get to a quiet still place I will be ready for the next project. I won't force it. It will come to me but this market is very discouraging, but I'm sure I'll do more.

Me: Okay, so, as you know I am asking random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Want a new one? Which vice would you indulge in if it had no side effects?

Stephanie: Oh, come on, isn't music a vice? Ha. I love sweets so you guess that's it. But I'm driven to work too hard too so I'm looking to play more.

Me: Stephanie, thanks for being back on the Phile. Go ahead and plug your website and tell readers where they can buy you book. Take care.


Me: Good job, Stephanie, and please come back soon.

That about does it for this entry, people. Thanks to Laird Jim and of course Stephanie Nakasian. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Derek Murray from the cool band Gifted Kings and then on Monday with musician Chris Leigh. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Strawberry Blondes Forever!

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