We had the good fortune of connecting with Kyaunnee Richardson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kyaunnee, how do you think about risk?
Risk has played in various key moments of my life and career. One cannot be shy but one has to be smart about what risks he/she takes. When it comes to making an important decision or taking a risk, I ask myself, “How will this affect me in the long term rather than the short term?” I am thankful to have my parents and performers who have done this career because I can ask for their wisdom and guidance. When I am in their counsel, I talk about my ideas and glean any information they give me. This is coupled with using common sense and trusting my gut. With all of these factors, I can make a sound decision.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am an opera singer! So, how did this all began? Well, I started singing at the age of two. My grandmother would put a cassette player at the head of my bed and I would listen to music from Handel to classic Disney. Opera came later in my life and I became enamored by this art form at the age of 14/15 years old. By reading the novel Phantom of the Opera, I was reintroduced to classical music and this opulent world of opera. And since no one in my family did it, I decided this is what I wanted to do.
I began taking voice lessons, I went to college and graduated with a bachelors and masters in vocal performance then began singing professional from travelling as far as Portland, Oregon to New York City. It was not easy. I was told that talent can only go so far and hard work will get your further. With hard work, one needs a drive/passion/ambition to keep going forward. Learning how to sing opera is difficult. Auditioning for various companies is stressful. Dealing with rejections and setbacks are draining. There was a period after graduate school where no one gave me the opportunity to perform. So, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I created opportunities for myself. I worked very hard to put myself out there in the best possible light until people began to take notice. Opera Fusion gave me a chance and soon others did too. It only takes one person to say “yes”.
I’ve learned to not be afraid to be creative and try new things, listen to your audience, be kind to everyone, the importance of networking, never forgetting where you came from, don’t compare yourself to others, run your specifically designed race, closed doors are not bad, and never give up and pursue your dreams 100,000%!! I want the world to know that I love being on stage singing opera and bringing these epic stories to life. To be able to bring these emotions and share them with all who watch and listen, to see them go on this journey with me and escape reality for two hours or so, it brings me so much joy.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
It really depends on what my best friend is truly interested or in the mood for. If this was a Disney trip… I’d give the grand tour!! Here in South Florida, I would take her shopping from Aventura Mall to Sawgrass Mills. If she wants a relaxing day, I’d treat her for a day at Hollywood Beach, brunch at the Cheesecake Factory or Another Broken Egg Cafe then a trip to Hand and Stone Spa in Fort Lauderdale. I know we all love Starbucks for our coffee fix but I found a little cool coffee shop that reminded me of one in Utah called Dark Brew which has the best lavender latte!!! There are many museums to choose from such as the Norton Museum in West Palm Beach or the Viscaya House and Gardens or the Science Museum in Coral Gables. Bayfront Park in Downtown Miami has a ton of shops and great draw for tourist and sits right on the waterfront. For entertainment, you can visit the Arsht Center, Broward Center or the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts to see symphonies, operas, concerts and Broadway shows. Now, I cannot forget many of the local small theaters such as Parker Playhouse, Opera Fusion and many other companies that put on amazing productions. Whatever your taste, South Florida will match it!!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are many people in my life who have helped me throughout this career. First, I want to give a shout out to my family who have instilled in me that I can be whatever I want to be and supported my belief in this career. I want to thank Opera Fusion and Birgit Fioravante who has given me the opportunity to take those risks, try out new things and challenge myself to go the next level in a safe and creative environment. To the various churches and organizations who gave me to opportunity such as the Music Club of Hollywood (Chai Chien) and the First Presbyterian Church of Delray Beach. I’d like to also thank the faculty at the College of Music at Florida State University and the New World School of the Arts college. There have been many people who have come into my life as teachers and they have become mentors, who’s advices have helped me in my career and my life, they are: Susan Hiltibidal, Ivette Rossi, Linda Considine, Rodney Miller, Michael Irvin, Dean Peterson, Caren Levine and Lauren Flanigan. To the programs who gave me a chance: Utah Festival Opera (Michael Ballam), IVAI (Joan Dornamann) and the Audition BootCamp (Lauren Flanigan), to the coaches and friends in New York who also have helped me and pushed me to the next level; Thank You!!!
Robert Stolpe Hank Henley Gregory Reed Ron Magill AP Photos and Video