DeLissana

 

Discuss your existence.

We are sisters who were first inspired to sing and perform during our childhood when we LOVED and continually sang and performed together.  Our mom, an accomplished opera singer, her brother a doctor of music, our aunt another doctor of music, and cousins are all either musicians, singers or dancers.  It is in our blood.  Diana, a classically trained musician (a College of Wooster Grad with a Degree in Music & Vocal Performance) played the piano and accompanied Elissa’s many instrumental, vocal and dance solos. We both studied piano under the late, great concert pianist Marianne Mastics.  Our childhood living room was our very first stage as we amused ourselves for hours performing along with recordings and television variety shows.  Little did we know that through the years, and summers performing at The Cleveland Playhouse, Oberlin College Summer Opera Theatre (Elissa was accepted at the age of 9, and Diana accepted as a teen), and Cleveland Institute of Music opera productions, we’d develop our own unique interpretive style.

As life would have it, and the years passed, we never thought we would be performing professionally.  However, about 6 years ago, we sang 3 songs at a wedding, including “The Prayer”.  When we sang our last note, the entire congregation stopped the wedding ceremony by standing up and giving us a standing ovation!  After the ceremony, countless people came up to us and asked where they could purchase our CD.  Now, we were quite surprised (deer in headlights) at that request, since we thought of ourselves as simply sisters singing at a wedding.  That’s when we realized and said to ourselves, “I guess people like us! And maybe we should pursue our singing further!”  And as luck would have it, Elissa’s friend’s husband, Pablo “Chino” Nunez, (JanMar Productions, Inc.) happened to be a Grammy Award Winning music producer, musician and arranger.  When he heard that we sang, he wanted to hear us for himself.  After listening to our rendition of The Prayer on-line (which is rarely sung by 2 women), he asked us to come down to his recording studio in West Palm Beach.  He wanted to meet us and hear us live, because little did we know he was interested in producing our debut album.  So we hopped on a plane and flew down to audition for him.  We stood in front of him (about 4 feet away) in his office from 10 in the morning until about 4 in the afternoon singing practically every song we knew.  He just sat in his chair and listened, and kept telling to “sing another one!” When we sang “The Prayer”, he had tears in his eyes.  He was blown away.  He said our harmonies (since we are siblings) are unbelievably tight, and we sound like the same person.  He could not tell who was singing which part!  He was so inspired, that he wrote an arrangement of “The Prayer” just for us to record on our album.

He signed us to a record deal on the spot, but the catch was…we would have to write 5 original songs for our album.  Needless to say, the thought was a little daunting, but very exciting! So, on the plane while flying back home to Cleveland, we wrote the lyrics to “Daddy Hold My Hand”, the first track on our Album (Embrace Abrazo Abbraccio).  (The album title is the word Embrace in English, Spanish and Italian).  “Daddy Hold My Hand” (video: YouTube) is about our father who passed away at a young age.  Dad was our biggest fan, so he was a huge inspiration.  Our first public performance had our audience in tears by the time we got to the refrain.  What a feeling!

After we wrote “Daddy Hold My Hand”, the flood gates opened! We couldn’t stop writing, and Christmas Garland (“Merry Christmas” in 6 languages with 2 simultaneous melodies) was the love child of Diana.  Elissa thought, “What a great idea!”  The languages wrap around the world, just as garland wraps around a Christmas tree. Then, we decided to produce a music video, and Elissa added, “We should wear the clothes native to the countries we represent in the song: United States, Italy, Spain, Germany, Serbia and France!”  So, you will see, the video is fun and somewhat goofy, which is us being us.  We have always been goofy sisters “acting” and joking around…and that is what you will see in the video:  YouTube

After recording our album, Chino, a Grammy Board Member, felt it was worthy of submitting to The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) for a shot at a Grammy.  Lo and behold; we got nominated! We were voted onto the Grammy Pre-nomination list right out of the gate! Chino told us artists can wait well over 20 years to get on this list.  Wow.

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State your favorite genre of music and your reason.

This is a very difficult task.  We were raised primarily on classical and ethnic music.  But as we grew into teenagers, we were exposed to many different types of music, i.e., folk, rock, jazz, country, acoustic and easy listening.  We find the beauty in, and respect all of them.  That is why our album has so many different genres.  We also enjoy singing in foreign languages, as you will see on our album.  We adore music sung by artists such as Il Divo.  But we love and respect them all!

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Tell us the theme of your song.

“Daddy Hold My Hand” invokes emotion, loss, yearning for the past and nostalgia for another time with a loved one.  It also uplifts and reinforces the wonderful memories and lessons we’ve learned from that special person.  We do not know anyone who has NOT lost someone close to them.  That is why people relate to this song, and why “Daddy Hold My Hand” has been a favorite at our performances.  We see our audience members well up with tears and smiles at the same time.  Plus, it is a true story about our dad.  The theme…missing a loved one, but we can live on cherishing their memory and feeling gratitude for having them in our lives.

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Name the people behind your success and thank them on this platform.

Well…given our story in “Daddy Hold My Hand”, our dad was the one who told us daily, “Do you girls know how much talent you have? And how much talent is under one roof here in our home?”  He was so proud of us growing up and knowing we could do whatever we wanted.  Our mom reinforced this feeling by singing with us, and making sure we had piano, flute and dance lessons, even though our parents could not afford them.  Our parents sacrificed so much so we could pursue our dreams.  Unfortunately, our dad passed at a young age, which moved our paths in different directions until a few years ago when we started back on the path we felt was our destiny.  We also have some amazing friends who have believed in us from the start.  Even though we are a very different type of singing group, our friends and family continually tell us there is definitely an audience for us.

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Tell us your future goals.

This is our conundrum. We are always researching and looking for new opportunities and gigs, and are currently in the process of exploring the idea of performing at House Concerts as well.  We feel if we are heard by the “right” people, and if we had proper representation and/or an agent who believes in us, we would definitely find our niche and be successful.  We are fearless and will sing for anyone. We are not kids, so we are focused on our passion.  Like so many musicians, we run into roadblocks every day, but we are not giving up.  To have our original songs placed in a movie or in a television commercial or series would be a dream come true.  And a European tour is definitely on our bucket list.  We saw Il Divo’s televised concert in Spain, and were awestruck.  We looked at each other and said, “We can do that! We are good enough!”  But to be totally candid, the fact that we are mature women is a fact that most MIPs do not respond to.  HOWEVER, WE FEEL IS IT OUR STRENGTH.  It is a novel and original idea.  We will always remain true to ourselves and to who we are.  Look at Susan Boyle.  (And she does not write original music.)  If she can do it…so can we!

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Share your press release and review with us.

 

Chronicle Telegram Article

 

Press release from PR.com

 

Article from Mimi Vanderhaven

 

Article from American Srbobran

 

Article #1 from Cleveland.com

 

Article #2 from Cleveland.com

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Elaborate on how you think your music is inspiring your fans.

Since we are mature women, we have been approached by so many fans at our concerts who tell us how inspiring it is to see performers who are not 20 years old.  They are really pleasantly surprised.  And much of our humor relates to that as well.  We do get the laughs. We also know each other so well, that we can perform a song in different rooms and still be totally synchronized.  And due to the fact that we are siblings, our blend is spot-on.  The fact that we write our own songs is always received well by our audiences as well.

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Analyze the transformations you have discovered so far in the music industry.

We believe a huge transformation is due to the internet.  Access to all types of music is only a click away.   This in itself is a great benefit.  But, the music industry requires the artist to self-promote and self-record which is very costly.  Years ago, if an artist was not educated in the industry practices and accepted procedures, (and many were not), they would/could hire an agent/manager to handle the “business end” of everything.  Currently, obtaining a producer, agent, backer, supporter, etc. is very difficult.  The primary responsibility falls on the artist for all aspects of their trade, unless they have a manager/agent to help guide their career.  In many ways this is a good thing, and in many ways it is not.  Then and now, an artist could move too quickly which could be very detrimental to their career.  Artists basically learn as they go.  But nowadays, artists have tons of information at their fingertips (literally!).

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State the artists you cherish most and your reason.

We love Il Divo, Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, David Foster, Yani, Chicago, Doobie Brothers, Martina McBride, Trishia Yearwood, Celtic Woman, Christina Aguilera and Patsy Cline.  But this list only touches the service of the artists we cherish.  Their talent is inborn and their mastery of their craft gushes at every performance.  We are totally engrossed in their performances.  We love to sing in different languages as do many of them.  We have studied them and enjoyed their music for years.

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Give us the links to your social network and stores.

Website

 

@Delissana1 / Google Play / Facebook

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Elaborate on how you develop your lyrics.

We start with a theme or specific subject and basically write/develop a poem about it.  The music comes later. We like to write about real life and topics that everyone can relate to.  We prefer writing uplifting and “happy” songs.

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Tell us if you enjoy collaborating with other artists or just singing as a solo artist.

We would revel in collaborating with other artists.  Give us a chance to sing with Il Divo and Wahoo! We have not had much opportunity to do so however, but that is definitely something we would enjoy.

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Brief us on your opinion of making music that makes people dance or making the music with a genuine message that inspires them.

Making people want to stand up and dance is rewarding and a wonderful feeling.  Our song, “Life is Good” is about Diana’s friend from Colombia, S.A. with a wonderful Latin beat and fun lyrics.  We also enjoy conveying a genuine message like “Daddy Hold My Hand”, or our other uplifting song, “Life Goes On”.

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Explain copyright.

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the government for “original works”, including literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, cartographic, choreographic, pantomimic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, and audiovisual creations. Copyright literally means “the right to copy” but has become the body of exclusive rights granted by law to copyright owners for protection of their work.

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Discuss the impact of a Performance Rights Organization.

PROs protect the artist(s) in that they provide intermediary services, particularly collection of royalties, between the copyright holders and any parties who want to use the artists’ copyrighted works publicly.  It is comforting for the artist to know these types of organizations exist for their protection.

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Elaborate on how you develop your melody and instrumentation.

When presented with the opportunity to compose original songs, we draw on the emotion and inspiration of a particular event or topic, thought, dream, whether they are mutually shared or individually experienced.  Typically, we write the lyrics first.  Then we “live” with them for however long it takes to come up with a melody that serves as a chorus, for example.  Interestingly (and sometimes miraculously!), the verse melody seems to fall into place once the chorus is created.  Along the way we usually tweak the lyrics and melody to make the song flow.  Yet, there have been times when we compose a melody line and then write lyrics which are a good fit with the music.  The special aspect of our composing lyrics and music together as sisters allows us to draw on the help and talents of each other.  When one of us, let’s say, has a mental block (like writers sometimes get), the other often takes the lead and suggests a solution.  We then “try it on for size” to see if it works.  It’s a huge advantage for each of us to have the other to “bounce things off of” especially when we work through a snag.  As for the instrumentation, we have left a good deal of that to the imagination of our magnificent producer/arranger.  But, yes, we have thoughts about specific instruments in certain songs that suit the feelings of the songs we want to be conveyed.

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Go into detail on the recording of this song.

Recording “Daddy Hold My Hand” was probably the easiest part of the entire process.  When we heard Chino’s arrangement of “Daddy Hold My Hand” for the first time, we knew he “got it”.  He felt the lyrics and understood our story on a personal level.  We couldn’t wait to get into the studio.  And Chino remembered that we told him Diana had a toy piano when she was very young, so he incorporated the playing and sounds of a toy piano at the very end of the song.  Diana and I had sung it so many times together, that when we entered the studio, put on our headphones and began singing, it only took a few takes and it was a wrap!  What a feeling to hear the playback of your own story with Chino’s beautiful arrangement…

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Discuss your music performance.

We are siblings who love singing together and it shows.  We also have a goofy sense of humor, so we can engage our audiences and make them laugh.  When we use humor, we have our audiences’ full attention, and we know they are having fun.  Then when we start singing, our audiences cry tears of joy.  They are surprised that such beautiful music comes out of such goofy women.  They are engrossed in our song(s).  Case in point, our producer cried the first time he heard us sing “The Prayer”.  Everyone does!  Being able to touch our audiences in such diverse ways is extremely rewarding.  We want them to “feel” and experience the love and passion we feel for our music, our audience and each other.  After every performance, we are on a huge “high” for days afterward.

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State the official date of release.

Single: Christmas Garland, December 2013

Album: March 2014

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State your artist’s name and elaborate on it. 

DeLissana is a combination of our names: Diana and Elissa.  “Elissa” is hidden in the middle of the word “D[eLissa]na”, and Diana is spread out from the front and at the end.  It’s like you gently placed “Elissa” on top of “Diana” and Diana got spread out a little.

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State the title of the song and the meaning.

Daddy Hold My Hand – About our dad, or any dad.  Daddies hold their children’s hand for many reasons: safety, comfort, direction, understanding, security, support and as a gesture of love.

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State the title of the album and the reason for choosing the title.

“Embrace Abrazo Abbraccio” – It is the word “Embrace” in English, Spanish and Italian.  We hope our music embraces our audiences, gives them a hug and conveys that meaning in the languages in which we sing most often.

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