Today we’d like to introduce you to Rosana Eckert.
Rosana, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started as a band kid, learning the French horn when I was 12. I came to DFW from El Paso, TX to study music at the University of North Texas. I got a Bachelor’s degree in music theory and French horn performance, but throughout that degree, I had been surrounded by the sounds of jazz from UNT’s legendary program. For graduate studies, I decided to explore jazz more, singing and writing for the UNT Jazz Singers and performing with the UNT One O’clock Lab Band – amazing experiences. A few years later, I got a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies as a vocalist (the first vocalist to do so, actually. The jazz degree had been around for over 50 years, but there hadn’t been a vocalist to pursue jazz studies at the grad level until that point). Upon graduation, I started a freelance life as a live and studio singer. I was also hired at UNT as the first private teacher in jazz voice (and honored to be the first woman added to the jazz faculty). Along with vocal jazz colleagues Paris Rutherford and Jennifer Barnes, it has been a privilege to help build our vocal jazz program, now the largest program in the country.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has been a winding road – not necessarily bumpy or smooth, just winding and a bit unpredictable. While the UNT job has been a steady job for the past 19 years, it was only a part-time job for 15 of those years as I chose to focus on building my freelance career alongside the UNT career. The freelance life is tricky – it is hard to live on a budget when you don’t know how much money you will bring in each month. My husband is a freelance musician as well, so we are both in the same boat. It can be hard to plan for the future or even give yourself permission to take a break. For example, it can be really scary to pour tons of money into making a solo CD, not knowing if you will make any money from the sales – the industry is so different now. And yet, as an artist, you must continue to create music. There have been a few missed opportunities and disappointments along the way, but mostly, I have just tried to do my best, learn from my mistakes, build solid relationships, take smart risks, and be an asset to my various communities.
What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of as a company? What sets you apart from others?
I am a musician. Like most of my fellow musicians, I wear many hats in my career. I sing, write songs, make albums, perform live (a lot!), arrange choral music for publishers, travel as a performer/clinician/jazz festival adjudicator, and work as a singer and voice-over actor on commercials and other projects. I specialize in jazz, but I sing a variety of styles of music regularly. The instrument I play the most is no longer the French horn; it is the piano. I also play trumpet or flugelhorn every now and then. I am proud of the versatility I have gained from the various opportunities I have had, and it makes it possible for me to say yes to a lot of different types of work in the arts.
A few examples of recent projects: I just released my 5th solo CD, Sailing Home, produced by an awesomesinger/songwriter/pianist friend of mine, Peter Eldridge. We recorded it Luminous Sound in Dallas (such a great place!) with engineer extraordinaire Tre Nagella. It’s an eclectic collection of all-original music, released on Origin OA2 Records. In addition to promoting that album, I’m also promoting a book I wrote last year called Singing with Expression. It’s a step-by-step guide to deeper and more adventurous song interpretation for singers, published by Hal Leonard. Trips this fall will include traveling to Finland to give a workshop at the International Jazz Voice Conference, singing a CD Release show at the Rockwood Music Hall in New York City, performing as the guest artist with the Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra, and conducting the Idaho All-State Jazz Choir in Boise, ID. Lots of variety, which is what I love.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Goodness… so many people mentored and cheered me along the way (and continue to do so)! There are likely too many to name, but I’ll try.
First and foremost, my immediate family: My parents Bob and Rosemary Calderon, my husband and fellow musician Gary Eckert, and my daughter Noe. They have supported me every step of the way and continue to do so. I also have an incredible extended family and a wonderful group of friends that are my advocates and cheerleaders.
My teachers have been extraordinary and have helped shaped my life. Band directors Maria Galindo, Dan Black, Richard Lambrecht, Horn teachers: John Groves and William Scharnberg. College teachers: Paris Rutherford, David Joyner, Cody Garner, Pattye Johnstone, Neil Slater, Hildegard Froehlich, Mike Steinel, Fred Hamilton, Dan Haerle, and Cathy Jenson-Hole to name a few. Community mentors: Michele Weir, Bruce Wermuth, Abby Holmes, Annagrey Weishman, Darmon Meader (and the vocal quartet New York Voices) Jennifer Barnes, John Murphy… honestly, there are just too many to name. In the music community, we help and nurture each other.
- Website: https://www.rosanaeckert.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rosana_eckert/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rosanaeckertmusic
- Twitter: rosana_eckert