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In 1984, Linda Septien was performing opera in Italy. Inspired, she flew to Nashville to do her own recordings.
"You suck," the producer told her. "You have no feeling at all."
She put the brakes on and decided to spend the next two years of her life learning about modern entertainment. Three hundred concerts and a ton of research later, she became quite the vocal coach.
Now CEO of the Septien Group, an Addison facility handling music instruction, a couple small labels and artist development, she's coached DFW natives like Ryan Cabrera, Chomsky, Forever the Sickest Kids and Jessica Simpson. Add to that list Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Destiny's Child, half a dozen American Idol finalists, three Broadway performers and a handful of child stars, and we're just scratching the surface.
So, you went from performing Italian opera to having a Nashville studio producer tell you that you suck? In opera we didn't really have to have "feeling," just a voice that was on point. So I didn't know what he meant. Took two years off from singing and decided to find out.
What are some of your earliest recollections of DFW music? When I moved here I was married to a Dallas Cowboy. We had lots of local bands play at our parties. Too Tall Jones was fun. Harvey Martin and I would sing with them.
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How about some more modern local talent that you may just be a fan of? Not necessarily just ones you have a professional association with. Wow. Long list. Sleeperstar, Jonathan Tyler, Fearless, my son's band Remington, Phoenix and many singer-songwriters whose sound I just dig. Ray Johnston is my favorite.
What does DFW's music community need to be even more bonded together? I think more presence in professional organizations. Austin seems to have gotten the bulk: ASCAP, BMI, Grammy, radio conferences. There's just a general lack of these in our great city. Also, there is no one place everyone goes for music. Fort Worth has a great downtown. Dallas does not.
Not crazy about the downtown Dallas scene? What about Deep Ellum? Deep Ellum goes in and out, so we need huge investors like Bass in Fort Worth has, to build a strip of great bars and restaurants and light this place on fire! But we've got to vote in a mayor that gets that we need a synergistic music community with grazing bars and great little places to hear everything from rock to pop to jazz and singer-songwriters.
Have you yourself retired from performing? Would you ever consider it again? You bet I would, if I could quit representing the ones that I need to get out there first. I perform every now and then for my ego, and when I am asked to go overseas. I just enjoy traveling, but I still love to entertain.