The sounds and styles of vocalist/composer Jocelyn Medina cross cultures, creeds and continents. Her original music fuses elements of Brazil, Spain, Africa and India with jazz harmonies, neo-soul/funk grooves and adventurous improvisations delivered through compelling lyrics and a distinct sound. Whether by means of an unexpected melodic turn, a hook that leaves you hopeful, or the rich resonance and dexterity of her voice, she seeks to touch on each listener’s individual experience with messages of universal truth and an inventive artistic approach.
Vocal Technique (breathing, registration, placement, tone quality, intonation), Jazz voice, Improvisation, Ear-training, Song Interpretation and Delivery, Stage Presence, Microphone Technique, Rhythm Section Direction, Repertoire Development, Composition and Songwriting, Western/Jazz Harmony and Theory, Brazilian Vocal Styles, Classical Hindustani (Indian) Vocal Techniques (including Ragas and Sargam, “Sa Re Ga…” Practice and Application)
Singing to me is a person channel of art, health, and feeling—a therapeutic outlet to enhance self-esteem and express emotion. In my classes, I strive to help my students experience this creative encounter between their bodies and minds, develop their musicianship, guide them through technical challenges and find their individual voices.
Just as music is a dynamic, ever changing and evolving cultural force, my teaching strategies vary according to the demands of the subject matter and the specific needs of my students. Every singer has the potential to succeed, whether in his personal goals, professional goals or both. As each vocalist’s instrument is unique and each singer’s mind-body awareness quite personal, I try to establish the classroom as a safe and comfortable space of non-judgement in which questions are encouraged, risks are taken, vulnerability is welcome, and experimentation is essential. Building solid technique for healthy, free vocal function is a key element in my classes, regardless of musical genre, with the ultimate goal of enabling each singer to convey the most emotional and sincere message possible with their instrument, while having a great time in the process. We are all improvisers, both as students and instructors, so I encourage my students to try new things, perhaps make mistakes and then learn from those mistakes, just as I myself do as both an educator and as an artist. I learn a great deal from my students, both from past musical experiences they bring into the classroom as well as their new creative ideas and approaches to music making.
In my own academic, artistic and spiritual education, I am fortunate to have had a variety of both effective and passionate mentors who inspired me to pursue my dreams while also providing concrete methods to make those dreams a reality. I challenge my students with high expectations while providing them with as much clear, organized information and practical structure as possible. I believe my role is to guide each student to a place where she taps into her personal reservoir of potential to develop an individual artistic voice. In the words of Greek writer and philosopher Niks Kanzantzakis, “True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own.”
Born into a family of singers, Jocelyn determined her identity as a musician at the tender age of five through choirs and piano lessons. She later pursued opera work at Stanford University, earned a Bachelors degree in Professional Music from Berklee College of Music, and a Masters in Vocal Jazz Performance from Manhattan School of Music. Further musical explorations brought Jocelyn to Ghana, West Africa, as well as Salvador, Brazil, and most recently 6 months teaching, performing and studying in
Mumbai, India, where she was exposed to more of the wide-ranging elements that continue to inspire her creative projects. In addition to her degree credentials, Jocelyn is certified in all levels of master vocal pedagogue Jeannette LoVetri’s Somatic Voicework©, a functional, body-based method of vocal training whose techniques have been adapted by a number of her previous and most influential teachers, including vocal jazz virtuosos Theo Bleckmann and Luciana Souza.
Between her formal studies, Jocelyn gathered much of her eclectic mix of artistic influences during the four years she spent living and performing abroad in Madrid, Spain. Before returning to the United States, she recorded her first full-length CD of original compositions, “The Journey Begun,” featuring fellow expatriate musicians Dan Rochlis (guitar), and Bob Sands (tenor sax), as well as legendary Spanish harmonica player Antonio Serrano. In 2011 she released her second album of original work, “We Are Water,” featuring flutist Rodrigo Ursaia, guitarist Miles Okazaki, pianist Kristjan Randalu, bassist Aidan Carroll, and drummer Bodek Janke, which topped national and international jazz radio charts and continues to receive wide-spread air play and flattering reviews. Her third record is currently in the works for anticipated release in summer of 2015.
As an educator, Jocelyn has over 15 years of experience as a private voice instructor to all ages and levels. Outside of her vocal studio, she has worked as a choral music and ensemble director in public education throughout the 5 boroughs, as a teaching artist with MIMA (Music Improvisation and Media Academy) in Brooklyn, and as Head of the Vocal Department at the True School of Music, an affiliate school of Manhattan School of Music, in Mumbai, India. As a Master Class Clinician, Jocelyn has been invited around the world to present workshops in voice, composition, improvisation and vocal jazz to students at both the college and professional level.
As a bandleader, she has toured with jazz ensembles at venues and festivals throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and South America, including Spain’s JAZZPARLA festival, Alte Feuermache in Mannheim, Germany, Voicingers Jazz Festival in Zory, Poland, the Mahindra Blues Festival in Mumbai, India, and the Goethe Institute in Salvador, Brazil. Her most recent U.S appearances have been at such NY venues as the Iridium Jazz Club, Cornelia Street Café, Bar Next Door, Zinc Bar, and 55 Bar with her own group, at Lincoln Center with the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Orchestra, and at Carnegie Hall with Calpulli’s Music of Mexico. Since moving to New York City in 2005, she has established herself as a unique and powerful voice in the local jazz scene.
Currently based in Brooklyn, Jocelyn plays regularly throughout the New York City area showcasing her compositions, accompanied by the areas best musicians including Pete McCann, Nir Felder, Zack Lober, Chris Tarry, Cliff Almond and Todd Isler. In addition to her original repertoire, she sings, plays percussion and arranges for her Brazilan/World-Jazz project, sings and drums and with the NJ-based Rhythm Monsters West African ensemble, and is a member of the classical Brooklyn Conservatory Chorale.
“Medina offers the jazz listener a musical journey that takes the foundation of Latin and Jazz idioms and successfully redefines the experience with thought provoking lyrics and vocal abilities far beyond the norm. Medina uses her voice as an instrument and storyteller, and invites the listener to delve into the corners of their mind with lyrics that reflect life and human conditions…” (Constance Tucker, All About Vocals)
“…(her) seductive voice transforms each live performance into an authentic multicultural experience…demonstrating her remarkable finesse in the renovation of musical styles and genres.” (La Mundial, Spain)