For today’s Music Monday, we are delighted to have Miss Wensday & The Cotillions, a vintage jazz band out of Providence, Rhode Island. Her style, in both voice and dress, is a unique combination soulful/jazz/pin-up with a twist of sexy/edgy/rocker prompting Alice Cooper to refer to her as “the other girl next door.” And that’s not all. The talented Miss Wensday also acts, writes music, teaches voice and theatre, performs wedding ceremonies as an ordained minister, and fights domestic violence by working with victims of abuse. Hear her music.
Describe your music style to our readers.
My band is called Miss Wensday & The Cotillions, and we are a vintage jazz band! We specialize in music from the 1920s-1950s, but we like to throw in some surprises, too. Sometimes a gal just wants to sing Sly and the Family Stone. My love of jazz is due to my parent’s influence and the direction of my first voice teacher. Besides singing it, I always loved to listen to it, especially Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, and Louis.
How and why did you become a musician? Are you full-time?
I’ve been singing and acting since I was 5 and was in a jazz band from 8th grade through high school. I got a BFA in Drama from NYU and when I moved back to Providence 10 years later, I started singing with a jazz band. I moved to Phoenix briefly to record an album of original music, and the album called “Torch Rock” was on the Grammy ballot in several categories including “album of the year” and “best blues vocal.” No matter what I do, and I do a lot of diverse projects, I always come back to jazz, it’s where my soul is. I teach voice and theatre during the day, and it’s the best day job ever! I mostly work with children but have some adult students, too!
What inspires you?
The relationship between the performer, the material and the audience. I tell my students a song is not worth singing unless you feel it.
Describe a typical day.
I wake up, need coffee immediately, feed my dogs and go outside with them, take pictures of my sleeping boyfriend, handle my Miss Wensday Music business (the name of my company that blankets all my endeavors), teach classes and/or lessons, and if I’m lucky I have a gig at night!
What are your fondest musical memories?
My unauthorized duet with Alice Cooper onstage at his Christmas Pudding show in 2006, singing the entire score of “Jesus Christ Superstar” during free periods in high school with my friend Matt Perri, and giving “living room concerts” at my parent’s house, mostly just for my parents, my number one fans!
What advice would you give to other musicians?
If you’re in it for the money you are in the wrong profession! If you have no emotional connection to your music, just stop.
How can our readers contact you?