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"UCLA Daily Bruin Interview"

She’s just like any other student except she has a secret weapon: her singing voice. Teira Church is a musician actively battling the conceptions of jazz as “elevator music.” Church is a second-year ethnomusicology student with an emphasis in jazz studies and will be performing today as part of the Fowler Out Loud concert series. Church spoke with Daily Bruin’s Manjot Singh about her origins and influences that have shaped her as a musician today.

Daily Bruin: When and why did you start singing?

Teira Church: Music was always in my house. I started singing when I was 3. My mom was the music director at her church and so I would sing there. Then I went to Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and that’s where I discovered my love for singing jazz. Then I transferred to Hamilton High School where I started competing with their jazz choir and performing at different jazz festivals like Monterey and Reno.

DB: If I were to turn on your iPod right now, what five artists would I see on your recently played list?

TC: You would see King, a neo-soul female trio, Chaka Khan, Doris Day, Charles Mingus and A Tribe Called Quest.

DB: What kind of music influences inspire you?

TC: I’m probably inspired by jazz and by gospel. … I can’t really pinpoint one thing. But I’m very much inspired by music that just has a lot of soul. And I love classical music too. I just have so many influences like (Claude) Debussy, a famous classical composer.

DB: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you before?

TC: I have a distinctive sound that incorporates and is influenced by jazz (and) soul. … I would say (it’s like) Nancy Wilson has a coffee break with Sly Stone.

DB: Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition?

TC: Oh, all the time. … It seems like when I start singing, that’s when all of the nerves go away. And I think it’s a good thing because it keeps you humble. Being nervous means that you know and recognize that you can make a mistake at any moment. … I just take a breath and you just have to do it. Music is something that I do and I can’t allow my emotions or nerves to get in the way of it. How do you get up in the morning? How do you brush your teeth? You practice. That’s how I get over it.

DB: What are you most excited for your performance today at UCLA? Have you performed here before?

TC: I have performed at UCLA before and I’m so excited about singing ’90s R&B tunes. Recently, I’ve arranged them. So we’re flipping a ton of ’90s R&B songs, a little bit of TLC and Musiq Soulchild. We’re taking some of their songs such as “Waterfalls” by TLC and “So Beautiful” by Musiq Soulchild and creating a jazz aesthetic with it.

Email Singh at msingh@media.ucla.edu.
- UCLA Daily Bruin


"UCLA Honors Teira Church"

Presented to Teira Church for Student Achievement in the Performing Arts

View Teira Church's performance at the Music Center Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County 2007 Spotlight Awards
Teira Church is a sophomore studying voice in the Herb Alpert School of Music within UCLA's Ethnomusicology department. She began perfecting her talents at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. Inspired by artists Nancy Wilson, John Coltrane and personal favorite Nina Simone, Teira refined the focus of her study to jazz voice joining Hamilton High School's award-winning vocal jazz ensemble. While still in high school, she sang on the stage of the LA Music Center's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Teira has demonstrated extraordinary vocal talent amassing an impressive array of awards and recognition.

2007: 1st place - Los Angeles Spotlight Awards - Non-classical Voice
2008: Dolo Coker Jazz Scholarship - Most Promising Artist
2008: 2nd place - National Association for Negro Musicians' Scholarship
2009 & 2010: Reno Jazz Festival - Outstanding Vocalist
2010: Bronze Medal - National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts Young Artist Competition - Popular Voice Category
2010: Semi-finalist - Presidential Scholar in the Arts
This past school year, Teira taught beginning jazz history at the UCLA Fowler Museum and beginning vocal lessons at Locke Tech High School, for the Young Angels Corporation, a foundation that strives to expand arts education in low-income areas of Los Angeles. From this experience she tapped into another vein of expression realizing that teaching can be an outlet for creating change. In 2011, Teira had the privilege of singing jazz as a headliner for two weeks on the world renowned Crystal Cruises, on behalf of the Los Angeles Music Center.

Teira will continue developing her love for jazz and all music, and one day hopes to make a difference one song at a time. - Ucla Alumni


Discography

The Shaheed Sessions, 2012

Photos

Bio

PACT is an LA based duo comprised of pianist and composer Aaron Provisor and vocalist Teira Church. Their musical journey together began while nurturing their talents in high school jazz choir. As their affinity for each other's artistry grew, they began collaborating regularly. They conceived of PACT as an outlet for their collective creativity.

Aaron started out playing classical piano as well as bass and drums in a rock band. He soon found a passion for jazz piano and is now in his final year of his undergraduate degree from USC in Jazz Studies. He has performed as part of various groups at venues such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and the Kodak theatre, among countless others. He has shared the stage with the elite of the Los Angeles and international jazz scene, including Ernie Andrews, Clayton Cameron, Marcus Belgrave, Jason Marsalis, Walter Smith, Richie Cole, and Willie Jones III.

Teira Church began singing at the age of three in her grandfather's church where she embraced gospel music. In middle school, she discovered the music of Nina Simone, who would become her greatest influence. Over the years, Teira won high accolades from various festivals and competitions such as The Monterey and Reno Jazz Festivals, where she won the award for best Female Soloist, the YoungArts competition, where she won a nomination for a Presidential Scholarship, and the Los Angeles Music Center Spotlight awards, where she took first place in non-classical voice. Most recently, Teira shared the stage with Kenny Burrell, Stevie Wonder, and BB King.