Interview with Britt Quentin, technician of voice

Britt Quentin interviewed for Estonian TV
© Estonian TV – Britt Quentin interviewed for Estonian TV

Flashback to 2011 and an old interview of Britt Quentin for Estonian television. This TV program also offered an acapella duet with an Estonian group.

In 2011, Britt Quentin did some appearances on Estonian media to promote the Christmas Jazz Festival. Indeed, he shared the stage of this event with the newly formed acapella group Estonian Voices. After many workshop sessions between them, this festival is the defining moment of their common work. For Estonian television, they sang altogether a Christmas song just after Britt Quentin gave a (technical!) interview.

“Man with the bag” acapella

On ETV set, Britt Quentin and the vocal group from Estonia sang a first song acapella. They chose a Christmas classic for this premiere: “Man with the bag“. This time again the result is a beautiful and harmonious arrangement. You can have a look at the video here!

Interview of Britt Quentin, technician of voice

ETV: You’ve had quite many contacts in Estonia already and you’ve heard many of our singers. Since I’m sure you have a very finely tuned ear, are you able to define that this singer comes from Estonia, and that another singer comes from Portugal for example or Spain?

Britt Quentin: (Laughs) No! I can tell regions of the world: Europe, Australia, Asia and America, North America and South America, but not specific countries in Europe. I’m not that good!

ETV: What are the differences if you listen to the European singers versus an American singer?

Britt Quentin: American is generally attending to sing very loud and European singers generally attend to sing softer.

ETV: What do you think regarding the physical particularities? For example whether someone is taller, or somebody has maybe longer vocal chords or chest cavity…

Britt Quentin: I think it has to do with just the way you’re taught to speak. I know very tall people that have very high voices or very tall people who have very low voices. So I think it just depends on the way that you’ve been taught to speak. That determines the way that you sing. People that would taught to speak softly, generally will sing softer. Americans are taught to be very expressive, very loud, therefore we sing louder.

ETV: You have had many corporations with many singers like Sheryl Crow, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder,… But what kind of music is your music? What does actually work for you?

Britt Quentin: I love jazz, when it’s mixed with some other styles of music: jazz with pop or jazz with classical or jazz with soul music. I love anything that has a sort of jazz core. That’s usually what I’m used to.

ETV: On Top of the pops there are not so many of that kind of music…

Britt Quentin: No!

ETV: But why?

Britt Quentin: I think it’s smart music and I think most people want fun music. Most people want music they can relate to and sing along with, what makes them happy. I think jazz music tenses to be a bit more intellectual, so some people just don’t understand that something and put it aside. So it will never be extremely popular.

ETV: What is your vocal range?

Britt Quentin: It’s about 3 and a half octaves, almost 4 octaves.

ETV: Do you think you can expend your range when you train really hard?

Britt Quentin: Yes, I do. My voice teacher was an opera singer. Before I started singing, my range was only about 2 octaves so he trained me to sing higher and higher. I studied with him for about 6 years so my voice kept getting higher and higher and higher. This is strange for a male because usually it’s lower. But I’m actually getting higher. I’m a very strange one!

ETV: Do you think that sometimes you can get competitive with yourself? That you want to find out how far that you really reach?

Britt Quentin: I do, yes! Especially singing live in front of people, when the audience really enjoys what you’re doing, when they want even more. They want a little higher, and then they’re amazed, and a little higher, and they’re still amazed! So yes, I do get competitive with myself.

ETV: Who are your own favorites in the world of the modern/contemporary music?

Britt Quentin: I love Stevie Wonder! He’s my favorite. I also like Michael Jackson. I also love Ella Fitzgerald. She’s not with us anymore but I love Ella Fitzgerald. I like some instrumentalists as well.

ETV: You said that you like Michael Jackson’s music, but does that mean also that he’s related to your West End performances or did you like him before that?

Britt Quentin: When I was a child I loved Michael Jackson. And then I stopped listening to him because everyone compared me to him. So I stopped, saying I wanted to be my own singer, I’m not Michael Jackson! So I stopped listening to him for a very long time. It lasted 8 or 9 years and then I started listening to him again and I realized why I liked him so much as a child. And now that I have this job, singing in the West End, singing his music, it’s how I fell in love with his music. The show covers his entire life, all the 40 years of his career so I finally get to sing all those music every night.

ETV: Christmas means lots of work for the musicians but intense does not mean Christmas. So how can you make this music exciting for yourself, day in day out?

Britt Quentin: Christmas is one of my favorite time of the year because you only get to sing that music for one month, maybe at the most! So there’s something about Christmas music that makes me feel very happy. In America, everywhere you go at this time of the year there is Christmas music: you can’t turn on the radio station without hearing this music, it’s all over the television. It creates a nice feeling and I like to share that feeling with other people.

You can view this interview in the below video:

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