At age 13 I was the drummer in a sub-par middle school rock band. The guitarists/singers told me I wasn’t a singer. I believed them, even though as a boy I was the one who belted through all the hokey performances. Two years later my mom remarried a man from a family of Broadway singers who encouraged me sing. I remember sitting in a dark wintry room, his advice, “use your stomach,” echoing in my mind.
After nearly four years in a professional-level collegiate choir I found myself in North Sumatra, Indonesia. The Batak people indigenous to that place are a singing people. After dinner, before work, at church, late into the evening at a palm wine bar, we sang. It was only there that my friend Junpiter, the man who invited me to Indonesia, said “Ian, wow, you are a singer, huh?”
Today I am a grateful participant in a century-long tradition of exploring, nurturing and opening the human voice. Gathering from experience as a professional singer, songwriter, musician, songleader, teacher, and multilingual world traveler, I understand the power of the sound of the voice to convey vital information like intention, confusion, curiosity or empathy.
My degree is a BA in Humanities for Leadership from Seattle University. We studied the practice and essence of leadership, focusing on skills like communication, authenticity, and discernment. In 2016 I earned a certification as a Full Voice™ coach under Barbara McAfee, founder of the Full Voice™ Institute in Minneapolis.