We had the good fortune of connecting with Libby Lavella-Perfitt and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Libby, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I have to admit, when I originally started as a vocal coach, there wasn’t a huge thought process behind it. At the time it was something I really enjoyed, and it was a flexible gig that supported me while I was pursuing a career as an artist. Ultimately, teaching singing brought out the “nerd” in me. I always wanted to know more…more about the science, how the brain worked, how language impacts production, the physiology and anything else. It led me on a quest for knowledge and now, with a BA in Linguistics and an MS in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, there is a much deeper and broader thought process behind my business! I still work with singers, but I can also work with singers who have a vocal pathology, whereas before I had to refer. Additionally, I can work with non-singing clients seeking gender affirming voice or actors seeking dialect coaching and more. My business is really a different animal now than when I started out.
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’m a voice professional. I sing, I coach and produce singers and I am qualified to engage in voice therapy as an SLP. I have a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley (Hons) and an M.S in Speech Language and Hearing Sciences. My professional credits include ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’, and my diverse client base has included both professional and amateur singers, artists, actors and entrepreneurs. I have a holistic approach and I think my mix of entertainment industry experience mixed with scientific understanding of voice makes me unique in my field. Former and current clients include Pat Monahan, Peter Himmelman, Wendy Melvoin, Courtney Love, MXMTOON, Mark Webber, Quincy Jones protégés Blush, and Daniel Jesus French, multi-instrumentalist for the Chicano alt-folk band Las Cafeteras. As a singer, I’ve recorded backup vocals on ‘Te Perdi’, Grammy-nominated artist Gustavo Galindo, was a featured vocalist on the Universal Curious George movies “Halloween Special” and lent backup vocals to ‘Swings Into Spring’. I’ve toured or performed with Hope Sandoval and The Warm Inventions (Mazzy Star), Smash Mouth, Prince associates Wendy & Lisa, and Australian singer Kate Ceberano. I have also contributed to the production of albums by Seal, Ricky Martin, and Robi Draco Rosa. I believe, without any hesitation, that the human voice can heal and transform. Research is always unfolding, but there is a ton of work that points to improved health benefits such as: respiratory function, balance, cardiac function, cognition, language use, etc. Also, psychological and emotional benefits that tap into the metaphysical aspects of voice (e.g., speaking up for oneself, gender affirming, etc.) and so much more. Whether it be someone who is already a touring and recording artist or someone who recently underwent surgery and needs to regain the ability to speak, helping people find, improve and heal their voice, is something I take quite seriously. The voice is something that many of us take for granted until we can’t and beyond that, I firmly believe the voice is a human instrument that aligns with the soul.
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?
I’d take them to eat at a taco stand in East LA, swing by The Last Bookstore, then stop in and visit The Way We Wore for some vintage shopping. Then I’d take them to a show at Largo at the Coronet. I performed there for many years and it’s still one of my favorite venues in the world. Lastly, I’d stop by any bar on York Street, to visit my old hood.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Shout Out to my husband Michael Perfitt and my son Vincent Perfitt who always love and support me!
Carol Sheridan, Mark Verlander,