We had the good fortune of connecting with Erica Neufeld and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erica, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I was born in the humid, bustling city of Bangkok, Thailand to an Irish-Catholic father and a Thai-Buddhist mother. We moved to Cairo, Egypt right before preschool, where I attended an international school until the end of first grade. At the age of 6, with a new little sister in tow, we moved to my late grandparent’s house that was once on unceded Konkow land, also known as Paradise, California. I stayed in Paradise until I left for college.
Thailand gifted me the ability to understand and speak a melodious language, a scary craving for spicy food, the cheek-sniffing adoration of a grandmother, and a large, close-knit family.
Living in Cairo provided early exposure to many diverse cultures, birthed an interest in ancient civilizations, and infected me with the travel bug.
Paradise gave me a strong appreciation for community, a quiet environment for exploration, and a constant connection to the natural world and its inhabitants.
My late father shared his love for art, cultivated my appreciation and awe for Mother Earth, and supported my insatiable passion for singing.
Thanks to my mom, I have always been aware of the unseen, can call upon my strength to endure the most earth-shattering hardships, and am able to tap into the abundant state of play.
Although I am extremely proud of and grateful for my story, I was once ashamed of the things that made me different. I was so disoriented by the ways different communities reacted to my exhibition of another’s, and living as an intersection of different worlds made me yearn to find my place. This is why I pursued a career that had strict expectations and rules, where an individual can only “make it” once people and institutions told them what they are capable and deserving of. But the devastating wipeout of my hometown, the death of my father, and the quarantine forced me to stop running blindly towards something I thought I wanted. The only way I was able to move forward was to excavate myself from the rubble and align once again with my true voice.
We tend to believe that hiding parts of ourselves will keep us safe and lead us to our desired destination, when in reality, it is the exact opposite that allows us to thrive.
This is why I created The Voice Portal. It was birthed for people like me – individuals who yearn to take back their power, reconnect to their voices, their bodies, intuition, ancestors, and step into alignment with their joys and desires. An incredible sense of self-acceptance and love can be found and maintained through the act of singing and phonation. Doing so will help you realize you are not missing anything, that your differences are a gift, and that you are fully whole.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I teach private voice lessons and guide group meditations and classes with the intention of joyfully reconnecting people to their voices, bodies, intuition, and authentic selves. Although I must acknowledge individuals who are not able to phonate (regardless, everyone has the ability to express themselves in many mediums), singing, speaking, and making noise plays such a huge role in the human experience, as well as our survival as a species. The vibration of our vocal cords releases stress, clears energies, reveals our state of being, connects the inner and outer world, anchors us to the present, and heals through unique frequencies.
Unfortunately so many of us have been raised and conditioned by society to assimilate to the “norm,” to keep to ourselves, to not be disruptive or too loud or too… anything. This causes people to be afraid to use their voice to advocate for their joy and safety, which leads them headfirst into situations that make them unhappy.
As a first-gen, Asian American woman, and performer, I have experienced interactions that had silenced me so effectively that even though I was singing every day, nothing that came out of my mouth was really me. It was extremely painful to step away from the decade-old dream of becoming a professional opera singer and admit to myself that I was not fulfilled. There had to be many deaths, both in my physical and internal worlds, many tears, and lots of love and support before I gave myself permission to reclaim my voice and take resonant actions towards becoming the person I was ignoring and too afraid to claim.
My business captures “me” by utilizing a blend of technical, spiritual, energetic, and somatic approaches to acceptance and radical self-love. The Voice Portal provides intuitive energy readings, healings and sound transmissions, workshops, courses and one-on-one sessions for individuals who are ready to stop compromising their dreams, courageously take up space, and show up authentically in all aspects of life.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Ooh this is a fun one! The perfect itinerary would include hiking the Oak Springs Trail in Sylmar, spending a day at Point Dume in Malibu, walking through the LA Arboretum or Huntington Gardens (or both! why not?), exploring Amir’s Garden and hikes in Griffith Park, cooling off in the cute shops in South Pasadena, and finishing the weekend with the NoHo (Saturdays) and Studio City (Sundays) Farmer’s Market. My favorite restaurants that I always enjoy experiencing with friends include Shin-Sen-Gumi, Brews Brothers, Luv2Eat (best southern Thai cuisine around… you gotta try the Nam Tok or Hat Yai fried chicken), Tacos tu Madre, Carnitas Michoacan, and Bone Kettle. If we’re up for dessert, Wanderlust Creamery, Saffron and Rose, or Baan Khanom Thai (if y’all haven’t tried the Thai Tea Pudding IDK what you’re doing) come to mind for desserts.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have to give a shoutout to my mother, Kittiya Campbell. Her strength and love is the eve, foundation, and catalyst to my growth and success, always.
(featured photo) Ayamefoto