Ree Boado is a Vocal Coach and Singer Songwriter from Phoenix, AZ, currently living in Nashville, TN, after spending sixteen months as an expat in Shunde, China. Ree enjoys adventuring through life with her husband David and two little doggies.
Inspiring and empowering others to fight fear, take risks, and live out their dreams is Ree’s true passion and calling in life, whether that be through her music, vocal coaching, blogging, or mentoring.
"There is something mystical about Ree Boado - whether it is her angelic physical presence walking through life or commanding an audience's attention on stage, the open and honest way she talks about how she wrestles with her life's demons each day, or the way the sky splits as rays of heaven pour through her music..." - Java Magazine
With a versatile sound that has been described as emotive, theatrical, surprising, forceful with ease, comforting, and genre bending, Ree Boado’s sophomore solo release, Out of the Mouth of Caves, highlights a softer, more melancholy side, with acoustic instruments and haunting, layered vocals as the musical base. Produced by Grammy Award winner Brian Whitman and already receiving great reviews from local and national industry leaders, Out of the Mouth of Caves is proving to be a strong step in the right direction for Ree.
Once named by Phoenix New Times music editor as "the most radio ready, local act going right now", the Phoenix native, who has been known to fearlessly dive into topics such as spiritual abuse, the sex trade industry, or schizophrenic delusions, is now taking a turn to more personal matters such as love and the conflict it can bring. This album is a collection of songs in search of the wisdom that can only come from our darkest moments of distress.
Over several years of performing, writing, recording, and touring locally and nationally with three different rock bands, Ree has had the opportunity to share the stage with a wide range of musicians including Billboard Artists Taking Back Sunday, JJ Heller, and Audrey Assad, Dove Award winner Chris August, Grammy nominees Katie Herzig and Sophie B. Hawkins, American Idol's Brooke White, Stephen Egerton of the punk band Descendents, and speaker Ravi Zacharias. The pursuit of a solo project began when she released the well received LP, Pretty Little Flies. In 2011, Ree donated several songs from this album towards a compilation album designed to help survivors of sex trafficking recover. In 2012, this album was featured in a documentary called Volviendo that won the MTV Exit and UNICEF International award for best documentary on human sex trafficking. More recently, Ree Boado was chosen to travel to Mexico City and be the featured artist on camera for a documentary, Invisible, that tells the tale of many street kids living in desperate environments and how the rest of us can care for them. Ree also wrote and contributed songs for the 2017 film, which has already been nominated at several film festivals.
No stranger to adventure and risk, Ree recently returned to the U.S. after living, teaching, and performing in Shunde, China with her husband, for 16 months. China welcomed her with open arms, inviting her to perform in many larger venues and festivals in southern China. While living overseas, Ree won 3rd Place in The Voice of Shunde singing competition, as the only foreigner, and got to travel to the beautiful island of Sanya, often referred to as "China's Hawaii". The slow pace of life and low cost of living in Shunde provided incredible opportunities for travel escapades around SE Asia as well as giving Ree more time for writing songs, and pursuing a career in music.
Ree currently spends most of her time now in Nashville, TN, where she resides with her husband and 2 fur babies. Music City is the next great adventure for Ree, as she works to live life to the fullest in pursuit of her dreams and callings in life.
Counting My Blessings for a minute / 5.11.17
Some days I can be a bit of a whiney baby in my mind. Stuck in my own head, my insecurities, and my fears. But NOT today!
I am so grateful for a job I love that helps others find their voice and expression, a loyal loving and fun husband, the gift of singing and songwriting, being surrounded by phenomenal creative people, developing friendships, an amazing Bible study that's been inspiring me, the love of Jesus that is better than I ever knew, some cool recordings in the works, a vocal coach community of talented intelligent peeps, and overall... a life that is full of more joy and being known than that of my childhood.
Getting older should never be thought of as a negative. It's full of growth, learning, self acceptance and more love, if you open yourself up to it!!
#gratitudemoment #lookaroundandcountyourblessings #GO
VOCAL STUDENT SPOTLIGHT / 3.26.17
Rachel is an awesome gal I've been working with online for the last couple months. She loves singing Jenny Lewis songs and already has her own style and swagger. Working on getting more out of her low end and blending her transition area, and this girl is doing so well! A regular rockstar!
#singinglessons #onlinelessons #VocalCoachRee #studentspotlight
2017: Listen & Take Action / 2.6.17
So I realized I’ve been a bit silent on this blog for a while, and figured it was time to write. I just returned to Nashville after spending almost a month in Phoenix, my hometown. I was there for work reasons, as a landlord of 2 properties, having to renovate one of them, and also continuing my normal schedule of teaching voice, online and in person. It was a ridiculously busy time, but I did manage to get in a bit of hanging out with family and friends, to keep my sanity. And I learned some things about myself on this trip. I am much more capable, smart and independent than I sometimes feel I am.While my husband stayed behind in Nashville, busy with his job, I wore the hat of a general contractor and landlord all on my own, a new experience, and did an amazing job at it! It was a month with no real time or energy for my own music, which was hard, but I was still connected to music via my students and their unique passions to sing.
And something else dawned on me while I was galavanting around Arizona. At the beginning of every new year, I like to think of a word to focus on for the year. For 2017, the word that came to mind was ACTION. A reminder to take action in big and small ways, whenever I have a good idea that propels me forward. I can be a procrastinator, so I figured this was a good word for me. But while I was in Phoenix, another word for the year came to mind. LISTEN. I am a praying person, but I don’t listen in the silence for guidance as much as I would like to say that I do. I just don’t. I tend to take most things into my own hands, as if I’m so much wiser…. I’m not. And when this word first came to mind, I initially thought it was kind of an opposite of ACTION, until a friend pointed out that listening is not passive, it’s active. In our culture of busyness and everyone trying to prove themselves (especially in Nashville), how often do we truly listen, without feeling the need to speak? From my observations and my own introspection, I’d say not often enough.
So here’s what I’ve decided. LISTEN and ACTION are both important focus words for me this year. And the more I think of it, it’s completely appropriate, since I’ve been learning more about calming your mind, meditation, centering and mindfulness over the last several months. I have already seen a huge affect that this has had on my anxiety and stress, as well as performing my music. I recently had one of the best performances I’ve had maybe in years! I wasn’t nervous, I was fully in control, fully in the song, and fully captivating the audience. It made me remember why I used to love performing so much! I haven’t had that strong of a feeling of crowd connection in a while, and now I’m excited to be back in Music City and keep pushing forward with music opportunities. Sometimes I feel that doubtful feeling that I don’t belong here, but I also absolutely know that I do and that I was guided here for a reason. And the time is now, to Listen for more guidance and be brave to take the Action needed. Keep following your dreams friends!
#ReeBoado #Listen #Action #2017 #followyourdreams
It's Always Time For Gratitude / 11.21.16
As Thanksgiving approaches, I'm reminded of the importance of gratitude and how it can drastically shift your focus and therefore your feelings. The holidays are a time where people have positive and negative memories, but feel like they're supposed to only have positive ones. It's a lonely time for some people and the best time for others. I usually have to work to fight off holiday blues myself, since my family either wasn't celebrating anything, or arguing about whether or not we should bother. Either way, it was a tumultuous and mostly unpleasant time in my childhood. And now that I'm an adult, grown and married, I have still often felt those old familiar feelings that are lodged in my subconscious, trying to come back around. The struggle is real. But I continue to press on, creating my own new traditions and positive memories, even though I don't have any children yet. I came across this quote by Tony Robbins the other day:
So true. Therefore, as I get ready to drive out to North Carolina tomorrow to spend the holidays with my sister and her family this year, I will choose to hold gratitude in my mind every day to chase those holiday blues away! We all have so much to be thankful for, so let's focus on every little gift in our lives. Look around, there are so many. Happy Thanksgiving you guys!
#gratitude #thanksgivingblog #begratefulforallthings #wegrowthroughthegoodandthebad #tonyrobbins
The Underdog? / 10.31.16
Happy Halloweeen! This has nothing to do with today's events, but just some thoughts I've been thinking about lately. :)
I've always thought of myself as an underdog until recently. Growing up with a socio economic status that was on the lower side, in a family with parents who weren't in a mindset to be able to give their kids support towards their dreams or an advantage in life, my early years weren’t filled with encouraging, “you can do it” moments. The vibe in my house was built more on fear than it was on love. So I guess I've always felt I was trying to get over hurdles in life, to get back on track to where I "should've" been if life had gone smoothly for me. But I wasn't dealt that hand and it's taken me years to accept that and believe that I had within me all along the ability to change my cards. I am not just the kid from that messed up family in west Phoenix, with dreams too big for reality. I am not my past. I am not powerless over my circumstances. And I am free to choose my future. All free people have the power of choice, but we don’t always recognize what we have. We can never change the past, but we absolutely can change our present and our future. It starts with a decision. A choice to believe we are not powerless in our lives. We are not victims. We are people with the power to make a new decision at any moment.
So when you hear “who do you think you are?” playing like a broken record in your mind, like it sometimes does in mine, what will you choose to believe? What can you do differently in your life that will put you on the road to making your heart’s desires come true? No one can make these decisions for you. You are the only one with that kind of power… if you take it back.
#takeyourpowerback #youareinthedriversseat #createyourpath
Shine Bright Like a Diamond / 9.15.16
I'm feeling less and less afraid these days to let my light shine brightly in the world. Fear is something we all have to overcome if we really want to be of use while we're here on this earth. We each have gifts that are unique and beautiful to offer others. And once we find these gifts, we cannot be afraid of embracing our shine. Those who don't love us for it might fall away, and maybe that's exactly what needs to happen to keep progressing and growing in life.
Let your light and love shine brightly without fear. Start today, in even the smallest way.
#shareyourselfwiththeworld #betruetoyou #letyourlightshine #loveonothers #careforothers #hopeforothers #beahealingvoiceforothers #dontfearsuccess #dontfearoutshiningothers #justbeyou
NEW SINGLE COMING -- AUGUST 30TH / 8.23.16
So I've had a couple singles recorded for a while now, that will be used in a documentary that I traveled to Mexico City to be a part of. I think it's time to release them... one by one... to kill you with suspense.
First New Single: "Higher Than The City" - Available August 30th, as a FREE Download, IF you are signed up for my newsletter. Go to "CONTACT" now!
The song is about my experience of hearing and processing some stories of people I met that live on the streets of Mexico City. I left there about 2 years ago, feeling inspired by their hope and so much more grateful to God for everything in my life.
#MexicoCitystreetkids #documentarymusic #filmmusic #ReeBoado #HigherThanTheCity #NewSinglecomingsoon #August30th #signuptogetitfree
LIFE IN NASHVILLE & PUBLISHER PITCHING / 7.28.16
So we're finally here in Nashville after talking about it since last September! Me, my husband David, and our 2 little dogs - Chinese Gus and American Mimzy. The entire month of July, we've all been in transition. First it was staying with my brother-in-law in Phoenix while on a week and a half whirlwind of visits with loved ones, big tasks, and the culture shock of life back in the U.S. Then it was a 5 day roadtrip cross country, stopping in Oklahoma City for 2 days to visit a friend, with a moving truck of all our stuff, including our newly bought Scion XB being towed on the back. And now I'm writing you from the beautiful room we are renting weekly from my vocal teacher/mentor in the West Meade area of Nashville. Homes are beautiful and enormous in this area.
We've been here a week and a half and have been on the look out for an affordable home to rent in a decent area. Well the first home we physically looked at, an adorable 2 bedroom cottage house, actually ended up working out perfectly for us and we're really grateful we got approved. Having our own space will be great for our little dogs that are adjusting to each other. We move in on August 1st, yay!
So is Nashville everything we hoped it would be? It's hard to say and I'm trying not to get ahead of myself, but so far it's been pretty great. Everywhere you look it's green and lovely, so this desert girl cannot complain about that. Our housemates are extremely kind and generous, not to mention my voice teacher is connecting me with a whole network of teachers, training and opportunities. And I have encountered the southern hospitality that I've always heard about. People have been quite helpful so far, so much so that it's hard for me to take in all the kindness. About 3 people have mentioned having us over for dinner already, which is really different for me.
Last Thursday I was invited over for dinner from Sheree, the CEO of a songwriter's organization here that I'm a member of (Global Songwriters Connection), after I mentioned via email that I was finally here. Sheree was having a publisher over for dinner as well that night, followed by an online publisher pitch event that I had also signed up for. She thought it would be great for me to meet her publisher friend. So I got to meet Nancy, this sweet publisher and I I finally got to meet Sheree, who was so encouraging and helpful to me back in November when I joined GSC and did a mentor Skype session that rocked my world. AND I got to sit in live on the publisher pitch event. What a cool thing for me, being that I just arrived in town that week. And then to top off the night, my song "You Got Something" was chosen for consideration for TV/film placement! Who knows what will come of it, but I am definitely feeling encouraged. I was just so happy to be invited to someone's home for dinner, and then having my song chosen from a legit publisher was the icing on the cake!
It feels like things are happening kind of easily so far, and it's been overwhelming to take it all in. I found myself feeling guilty about the lack of struggle today. I guess I'm used to things being more difficult in my life. But then my husband reminded me of how I've worked hard and struggled for years, and perhaps this time is the product of years of hard work. So no need to feel guilty. I guess it's just amazing to feel supported as a songwriter, artist, and vocal coach. Like people are on my team, rooting for me. I know friends have done this for me, but it's a whole other thing when people in the industry who can really help you progress are rooting for you. It's a humbling feeling and I'm looking forward to seeing what else unfolds in this crazy music city. I will keep you all posted on any new developments. Feeling like Nashville was definitely the right next move for us!
#nashvillewearehere #pursueyourpassions #songwriterlife #globalsongwritersconnection #reeboado
TRYING TO LEAVE CHINA & NEW TIMES WRITE-UP! / 7.1.16
I'm writing this in bed at 10:37am, in a hotel room in Guangzhou, China. We got bumped from our L.A. flight last night and China Southern put us up in a hotel for the night with some extra cash and a promise to fly out the next evening. The cash was nice, the long day at the airport with a dog was not. And now my China friends swear that it's a sign I'm not supposed to leave China (cute). I'm just taking it as an opportunity to do some extra reflecting back on this crazy 16 month experience in a foreign land.
We did so much here and I learned so many things, especially about myself. I learned that I am stronger than I think I am, even in my fear. I won't let trepidation or lies stop me from trying new things and having bold adventures that require risk. I've learned that no matter where I go, I am still under God's great big sky and I can feel his love and guidance even more deeply now. And a huge thing I've learned is that I really am a real, bonafide, grown-up adult! I know this in theory, but I sure don't always feel it.
And then the other night, as I left my final dinner and night out with 2 great friends (1 Chinese, 1 Brazilian), I had this distinct feeling come over me as I approached the stairs of my building. I am here, living in China. An independent woman. A traveling woman. A daring woman. A woman who is attempting to live whole-heartedly (like Brene Brown would say). This is so far from what I used to feel, even just 2-3 years ago! A lot can change from one decision to leave your comfort zone and believe me, I feel the change. I’m sure as I return to visit my hometown of Phoenix, I will find that many others have changed as well. Life is a constant cycle of change and we can choose to grow with the changes or refuse them out of fear. I want to live with an open heart to all things new. Taking new adventures, experiences and opportunities in with child-like eyes, to learn and grow.
I will always appreciate my time in China and the people I met and shared one-of-a-kind experiences with. I am forever transformed for the better!
So as I sit here reflecting on life (past, present, future), still in the hotel bed trying not to get bed butt, I happened upon a pleasant surprise on my Facebook page. A lovely Phoenix New Times write-up by the one and only Mitchell Hillman, long time supporter of my many musical projects over the last 8 years. He reviewed my new single I recently co-wrote with Desert Eyes (4 guys from AZ + me), while I was living across the ocean. After reading this review (and all of his reviews), I always feel newly inspired to keep writing and sharing my music. It’s amazing when someone really gets the essence of what I’m about musically and decides to shout it from the rooftops. Thank you so much Mitchell! Next time I feel that critic voice telling me to quit and I need to get talked off the ledge, I’m pretty sure I just need to pull up your reviews and get specifically reminded again of the value I bring to the music world.
And this is a timely reminder to me, as my next adventure quickly approaches. End of July I’ll be moving with my husband to a music city for the first time. Nashville, TN. Filled with many other creative people, many who are looking for their place in the world of music. I want to see what it’s like to be surrounded by more creatives. Will I be more inspired? More intimidated? More excited and motivated? More aware of what talents I lack? More encouraged? Have more opportunities for adventures? Who can truly say. I do know this. I’m living my life and trying everything like in the cute little movie Zootopia. And if I could paraphrase one of my own song lyrics for a moment, I’ve got something that no one can take away, cause I’m different from anyone ever made.
Nashville, here I come! But first stop is Phoenix, AZ.
You can read the article in the Phoenix New Times and hear the new Desert Eyes song at the link below!
NEW SINGLE FROM SIDE PROJECT, DESERT EYES / 6.29.16
Here it is friends. The NEW SINGLE from my collaboration with AZ friends, while I was across the world in China.
Presenting // "Closer to a Fall" by Desert Eyes, my side project with Richard Lam (guitar, production, engineering), JoJo Nieves (bass guitar), Justan Jesse (from Dearspeak, on drums), Michael Obar (keys) and Ree Boado (vocals, lyrics, melody). Available now to BUY ON BANDCAMP FOR $1 OR MORE and of course Free Streaming.
We're proud to share this with you as we all worked quite hard on this track. Tell me what ya think!!!
#newsingle #deserteyes #closertoafall #songsacrossthesea #chinalife #collaboration #reeboado #apogeemic96K #bandcamprelease
HONOR: THE GLUE OF RELATIONSHIP / 6.15.16
Earlier today, I was reminded of how affirmation and giving genuine praise is just not natural for some people. It wasn't always for me. Throughout childhood, I longed to be seen and known so much, but I grew up in a family that did not know how to affirm or encourage me. To see my strengths and call them out, or even help me pursue them. But somewhere along the road I still figured out how to do this for myself and others (much thanks to God and the people who have loved me well). And now I try to do this all the time... for my students or anyone who I come around. It makes people feel appreciated and noticed, and that makes me feel good to help them feel that. Honor. I think this is how we honor people. We see the good in them and we put words to those thoughts, instead of allowing them to pass by. Taking time to notice and truly see into another person's life for a minute, and to tell them the good that you see. I know some people don't have a gift with words, but everyone can try to say something once in a while.
And while some may never truly learn how to honor others, I'll keep throwing out encouragement and praise when I can, and keep letting go of any expectations of receiving that from the ones who don't know how to give it. But truth be told, I don't think I will be spending much time with those who typically seem to withhold it. Let's be honest here...who likes to be around people that don't seem to genuinely see you for who you really are and say something? Nobody does.
Honor is the glue of deep relationships.
The world needs more honoring and valuing of each other. Let's try and give it freely, shall we?
#affirmationgoesalongway #wordshavepower #givelovefreelywithoutfear
LIVE YOUR LIFE / 6.6.16
I'm about to enter another huge season of change as we move from China in 24 days and go to live in a brand new city in July - Nashville. To be honest, it feels exciting but also a bit intimidating to live in a music city, surrounded by so many other artists. I don't think I'm the most talented person, but I do think I have something unique and valuable to offer the world in a few different areas. And I have to go and see what that could mean for me there. Reminding myself of the benefits of taking risks -- the big one is that I'M LIVING MY LIFE. I'm making choices that I feel are right for my growth as a person, not based on fear of change or losing comfort. I spent so many years in fear of various things and I'm frankly sick and tired of fear making choices for me.
What are you afraid of that you know would be good for you or would challenge you to be your best?
Why are you waiting for something to change before you change?
This video really inspired me, check it out!
"Part of finding your path is making the decision not to judge what you do know about yourself with what you don't know about others"... SO GOOD! Comparison stops you in your tracks, so catch yourself and make a decision to love and accept yourself for the value you bring to the world. There is only one you!!!
#takerisks #fightfearuntilyouwin #robbell #inspiringvideos #reeboado #nashvillebound
DARE TO MOVE OUTSIDE THE LINES / 5.30.16
Recently I filmed a music video for my upcoming song "Outside the Lines". The song is all about finding the freedom to live outside of the perfect lines we sometimes feel imposed upon us by society or even by ourselves. I don't think we can truly thrive if we don't challenge ourselves to try new things. This whole video and song style feel kind of new for me, and that is vulnerable. I can tend to write mainly chill, introspective songs, but out pops this upbeat, empowering, even danceable pop song. What?! The video cast and crew had the best time with all the fun and interesting scenes in the storyline (I want to tell you about it, but my lips are sealed!). AND there's this totally free for all dancing scene, where I actually danced by butt off! Me dancing in a music video? Now we're making history! And then a few days later came the ever present doubt that follows when you take a risk and dare to try something new, in front of people. Your mind tries to say "What are you doing? This isn't you. You're a fraud!" Those lies actually got me down a bit for a few days, trying to sift through those stupid old negative thoughts, but I'm a fighter, so I don't stay down. I'm back up and fighting off old lies and telling myself the truth. You are brave. You are full of life. You are trying new things, and that is vulnerable. But you are unique and making your small mark of spreading love, joy and freedom in this big world. You are enough. And sometimes you just gotta be free and let the sillies out!
#musicvideo #outsidethelines #reeboado #dancingisgoodforthesoul
LIVING HONESTLY / 4.27.16
I took a character strengths test and my #1 Strength is: HONESTY/ AUTHENTICITY. Man, I sure do value getting to the truth and sharing my true self with people. If I was in the Divergent books/movies, I'd definitely be in with Candor. And I can usually spot inauthenticity, dishonesty and denial a mile away. Pretty sure my past life experiences have shaped this trait. I grew up surrounded by so much denial and misinformation, manipulation, control and abuse. People spinning conversations to meet their needs instead of genuinely searching for truth. So much confusion, but I always fought to know the truth. Truth is of utmost importance to me. Not my version of the truth, but finding the actual truths in life and situations. Pushing myself outside of myself, in efforts to see my own blind spots and see the truth about myself... A.K.A. Self awareness.
Being a lover of words, a songwriter, and a person with my past experiences, I've also learned to listen intently to words that people choose to communicate in conversations. I definitely don't think I'm always right in life, but when it comes to first impressions, my instincts have proven to be pretty accurate. If I pick up on something, there is probably something there, even if I don't necessarily understand what it is. I try to overlook my gut, but I'm learning more and more to really trust it. Be open to people proving me wrong, but trust my instincts, set healthy boundaries in relationships, don't trust people who haven't earned it, and try my best to be authentic with people.
But sometimes along the way, you find there are relationships that cannot be reconciled, no matter how hard you try. And this is difficult for me to accept, being a fighter and believer in all people, but I'm learning. Talking through some of these things with my best friend of 23 years yesterday and she tells me "if anyone is an ambassador of reconciliation, it's gotta be you. I've seen you fight for it with countless difficult relationships in your life, and with me." Well that was encouraging. In recent times, I've had to let go of some people and it's not been easy. But I know I tried, and I'm a human in progress, like we all are. All I can do is try my best to live honestly and share whatever light and truth I have to offer the world. Some will receive it and others won't.
Time to let go and move forward for now. Life, friendships and adventures await. Here's to the future!
#chinalife #boadosinchina #reconciliationishard #relationshipsarehard #lessonlearned #nashvillebound
BIG NEWS / 4.20.16
We're moving back to the U.S. in July, but NOT to Phoenix.. WE'RE MOVING TO NASHVILLE. Yep. Been planning this for a while. Gotta follow the music/ songwriting/ vocal coaching opportunities that are there for me! Things are already lining up. So excited. China living has been an amazing experience. One that I will never forget and will always be in my heart. But Music City has been calling my name and I gotta take that call!
#usacountdown #movingtonashville #songwriterlife #vocalcoachRee #takerisks #yolo
BE RESPONSIBLE FOLKS / 3.2.16
Responsibility seems to be a dirty word these days. I notice more and more that so many people cannot seem to utter the words “I’m truly sorry” (without a justification) or simply “I was wrong”. Why have we become so hard in our hearts as to think our actions never affect others around us and that we are not responsible for those actions, or our words and attitudes? How can anyone have loving relationships with this mindset?
I am saddened. And reminded of a time where I also refused to fully own up to my actions and attitudes that were hurtful and how it really tarnished a close relationship. It was pride. And where there is pride you are always one step closer to a fall.
Been writing a song about this subject over the last couple weeks... it's an awesome collaboration with my AZ friends Richard Lam and Justan Jesse. Can't wait to share it soon.
#CloserToAFall #musiccollaboration #newsinglecoming #indierock #pridedestroysrelationships
FIGHT BACK / 2.17.16
I was so afraid of everything when I was growing up. I put on a good front and tried to act tough, and I even used to get in fights every couple years at school if someone pushed my buttons enough. But inside I was just a scared kid and didn’t know what I should I be fighting. That fear I had held me back from multiple things... going to track meets in elementary school (I'd make it almost every year), singing in plays or trying out for choir solos, trying out for volleyball in high school (even though I was on the junior high team and probably would’ve made it). Fear even kept me from getting a vocal scholarship for college (I choked at the audition.. and again at the 2nd audition that they asked me back for!) I had such limiting beliefs about myself for so long. And like many people, I didn't have the most encouraging family who understood my sensitive, artsy, big-dreaming self. I’m sure my parents honestly didn’t know how to parent me.
So I figured out a lot on my own, with the encouraging voice of God being the one to keep me pushing on, with the big dreams in my heart, that I was too afraid to tell anyone about, other than my best friend.
Fast forward to the present. What part does fear play in my life now? Well it still tries to pay me a visit now and then in the form of the “critic voice", which all of us deal with from time to time. But instead of him dominating me, while I cower in the corner on the verge of tears over my lowly self, I now fight back. And I fight back harder than ever before. In fact, I pre-empt his verbal attacks by saying a list of specific truths every night that I need to hear to fight those specific lies. Some people call these affirmations or goals. Whatever you wanna call them, I just need to tell you that they ACTUALLY DO WORK. If you say them every single night before bed (so they really sink into your subconscious), you will begin to reprogram your brain from repeating it’s daily, subconscious negative chatter, to actual positive belief that you matter and can make a huge contribution to the world in some way.
I hope you will try this affirmation challenge and start to fight those fears in your own heart. We all have them. But we don’t have to have them forever. I am proof of that.
All you artists out there, working hard & sharing your gifts: You are strong & unique & I have much respect for your fight. It's easy to see the exterior & say "wow, what a creative & exciting life they have!" But what most will never really know is all the internal battles with self doubt that you have fought & won to even be where you are at all. The rejections you've learned not to take personally. The strength you've gained by continuously having the courage to put your creation out in the public to be loved, hated or ignored. You are a warrior in many ways.
Being a performing singer songwriter has been one of the hardest & most beautiful aspects of my life. Singing called out to me from a young age & songs poured out later when my heart was ready to feel. It has toughened me up to being critiqued, yet softened me to my own feelings & those around me. It's taught me perseverance, self-expression, and the power of connection. And though I have wanted to quit on myself many times out of self doubt, it is not something I could truly ever quit. And neither can any of us artists. You were made to create music/ art and that part of your DNA will never change. Don't give up on yourself. Somebody out there just may need to hear that song or see that masterpiece today. And it could just be for you, and YOU ARE ENOUGH of a reason to keep going.
HAPPY 2016!! 1.2.15
Hope you all had a fun Christmas and New Years with family and friends. Thinking back, 2015 was a CRAZY year of change, risk, and adventure for me. In January I auditioned for America’s Got Talent in L.A., in March I moved to China with my husband, leaving my dog, loved ones and my vocal coaching business behind. I started a new chapter of my life in a foreign country where many don’t speak English, I played some big and awesome concerts, experienced some minor celebrity moments, traveled around SE Asia, made it into a BIG singing competition, went on a cool trip to "China's Hawaii" and finally won 3rd place. I’d say it was a life changing and productive year of conquering fears and having adventures! And I feel proud of that. I really do.
Lately, however, I've noticed some dormant fears trying to resurface. Seems once I tackle some, there are always others lurking in the shadows. I suppose this is just life and it's a good thing they are surfacing so I can deal with them and grow. But somedays you just say "come on! really?! still?!" Dangit, one more affirmation I need to create and add to my daily mental battle, to fight these lies that swim in my head. And then you finally accept it, that you're still more broken than you hoped you were and you figure out how to move forward, encourage yourself, and get over that perceived hill in your life. After you scarf down some chocolate, numb out to a movie, or whatever it is you do to temporarily avoid internal, never-ending, junk that comes up inside you. Ok, well that's what I do anyways. Maybe your life is smooth sailing. Maybe you're one of those crazy superhuman robots... that don't really exist. :)
So in light of my lengthy internal battle I just shared, I should probably come up with some inspiring New Year's Resolutions or something. Can't say that I have a new one this year. I'm still working on the ones from last year: Take Risks, Fight Fear, Believe in Myself, Pray More, Trust God, and Go For My Dreams. Looking forward to pursuing more music opportunities and growth in 2016. I also plan on being more consistent in staying in touch with you all. I'll be posting blogs here every week or two, and some video clips. Also, make sure you're on my email list (go to contact). Let's do this 2016!
CHRISTMAS IN CHINA! 12.23.15
The lack of Christmas commercialism in China is soooo refreshing! I can't lie. For a person who often gets holiday blues since I didn't celebrate Christmas as a kid, this is so perfect. There have been just enough big Christmas trees at malls and shopping centers, and Christmas music in stores, to remind me that it's Christmas time. But there are NO people bustling around everywhere, buying things! The Chinese people who do celebrate it, don't do the gift exchange part. I gotta be honest, I kinda think this is great. We even have a local Christian friend here who just goes to church and has a dinner with her family, but they don't exchange gifts. How on earth did we turn Jesus's birthday into us giving butt loads of gifts anyways??
My friend told me about a family she knows who has a 3 gifts per person rule. She said "If it was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for us!" Ha, I love it. We’re doing funny 2 Yuan store (dollar store) gifts this year with our friend who is visiting from the U.S. We're also eating Christmas Quesadillas with red and green peppers and gracamole and salsa while watching Christmas movies. Can’t wait to see the stupid gifts I get, haha!!
But seriously, Jesus came to this earth in extreme humble circumstances... as a baby, needing help from others. In a poor environment, surrounded by staanky animals. In a family where he would grow up with the stigma of being thought to be an illegitimate child. I gotta say, as I think over this, I am always amazed at the ways of God and how much they are not like ours. If people had come up with a story of God saving the world, I'm pretty sure the bad ass savior of the story would have arrived in a little more elegance or at least decency. But no. God chose to bring us his son in a way we could relate with. Many people in the world grew up with humble beginnings or in poverty and perhaps some of us weren’t a part of an ideal family in society. You may feel like an outsider around the holidays, with everyone having a good ol’ time with their families. I know I did for a LOT of years. But I’m glad that Jesus has always related to the outsiders. He could immediately relate, ever since his birth. Not to mention all the further suffering he would go on to endure throughout his life and especially around his torturous, humiliating, and drawn out death.
I pray we can remember that this is the true origin of Christmas. God sent to Earth to be WITH us and restore all the broken things of our lives. Now that’s a real gift and we don’t have to buy anything in return to accept it.
Merry Christmas friends! I hope this season will bring you joy.
3RD PLACE WINNER, VOICE OF SHUNDE! 12.10.15
I am pretty proud to be the 3rd place winner for the entire Voice of Shunde competition! Wow, this was a long and crazy journey and I am partially glad it is over. Many of you know, I got sick for several weeks and lost my voice. It was not coming back properly until right before the show. The day of the show, I had a cough attack that brought tears out of me. I was nervous my voice would not work for me. Over the years, I've really gotten better at surrenduring things that I cannot control. So I said to myself, if I am not meant to sing at this thing, than that's ok. I will accept that. Well I decided to take Ibuprofen to reduce my vocal cord swelling the day of, with the ok from my vocal coach, and it helped! Well that and the prayers/ thoughts of so many friends, and apparently I was meant to finish this thing strong. Take that Fear!
3rd Place is actually quite good, since 1st place needed to be a Chinese speaking person, so they could be an MC for city events. And the 2nd place winner was a phenomenal opera singer who gave a stunning performance with ballerinas. Wow. I was completely satisfied coming in 3rd. I was the only non-Chinese person in the entire competition and I felt very loved by the audience and all involved. I was treated very kindly throughout this whole insane experience.
Add that one to the books of conquering fears, taking risks, and having adventures!
Till the next adventure....
FIGHT FEAR AND WIN!! 12.2.15
December 9th will be the final performance for The Voice of Shunde competition. I've put together a band of talented Chinese musicians, who speak just enough English for us to halfway communicate, but it's still funny, a lot of the time!
The song I chose is a song I wrote with my band Dearspeak but have never recorded on an album. It's called "Vulture By Nature" and I chose it for a reason. The truth is, I actually kinda hate being in competitions. I have avoided them for most of my life. Could it be memories of choking at the audition for a vocal scholarship in college.. not once, but twice? Probably related somewhere in the recesses of my complicated brain. And that is exactly why I'm in this competition. Because I'm not a person that settles with running away from things. At least I can't do it forever. I want to be a person who fights through my challenges, instead of expecting an easy and comfortable life, free from fear or pain. I want to find out why things scare me and I want to fight that fear and win!! So this song is very appropriate, since it's a bold statement about fighting fear until you beat it!
*"I won't let you win, you sly little vulture. Hiding in the wind, waiting to torture me. But I won't go silently, nobody's gonna silence me, no no no!" *
Feels like I've been fighting fear my whole life, but lately I am definitely winning and I don't wanna stop. Never stop fighting your fears my friends! The world is waiting on you to show up and use your gifts to better this world around us! #FightFearUntilYouWin
Voice of Shunde Finals & FAN ART! 11.25.15
Thank you Michel for the kind words and photo montage! (See the Media Gallery)
"Couldn't be more proud of this beautiful lady right here! @reespeak Ree Boado, my friend & at one time my vocal coach made it to the Top 12 for the Voice of Shunde. 🎤 She is in China making her mark! So happy to see you shining Ree...the world is getting to see the star we know you are! 🌟 Love you! 💜
The Sanya trip with the Top 12 was UH-mazing! I've got tons of pics all over Instagram, so you can see them there. And The Voice of Shunde final performance is at the Shunde Performing Arts Center on December 9th and I'll be playing with a band. Yes! Wish me luck/ say a prayer! :) Thanks for following me on this amazing journey in China!
Does Art Really Matter? / 11.10.15
As artists, we sometimes wrestle with this question. Does what I'm doing matter? Can my art/music really do something beautiful in the world?
When I first arrived in China, I was an English teacher M-F at a prestigious Chinese private school, with 50 kids in a classroom. I really didn't take to that environment and actually traded jobs with my husband after 2 weeks. It was either leave China, or get out of that job. That's how strongly I felt about it being the wrong fit. My husband David was teaching very small classes (5-10 kids) a few hours a week at a tutoring center. This decision to leave that school is one of the best things I've done here in China!
I share this because during my time there, I met a sweet fellow teacher, who upon hearing my latest album said to me "you should be singing on a stage, not teaching here at our school". Little did she know, that comment was the final straw in getting me to take action to change my situation and open up my time to once again pursue my music dreams.
I've had many moments as artist where I've wanted to quit. Quit playing shows, quit pursuing music, quit telling people about my music. Why? Because it can be exhausting, disheartening, and eventually lead you to wonder if it even matters at all. So why do artists keep moving forward with all this frustration? Well for me, I can't seem to escape it or run from it, even when I try. I can't stop writing songs, or dreaming about songs, and that has got to mean I'm supposed to keep doing it! And I have a hard time believing that I'm just writing them only for myself. Music has always been meant to be shared with others.
So the answer is yes. YOUR ART MATTERS. YOUR MUSIC MATTERS. Maybe it won't connect with millions of people, but it will matter for someone out there. And therefore, you must press on and keep sharing it if it is flowing out of you like a river. Like the Chinese people say... "KEEP FIGHTING!!!"
Round 3 - The Voice of Shunde competition / 11.1.15
This coming Saturday will be the 3rd round of The Voice of Shunde competition that I'm a part of here in Shunde, China. They will cut the Top 24 contestants down to the Top 12. I've decided I'm going to bring my guitar and sing an original song because that's who I am. A singer songwriter. I am not just a voice, so I gotta be true to who I am. And that's that, win or lose. Hope you all had a great Halloween! Check out my pumpkin painting party pics.. that was a tongue twister.
// ONLINE SKYPE VOICE LESSONS //
I'm teaching Skype Voice Lessons to some U.S. students while I'm here in China, so if you're interested you can click on the "Vocal Coach" tab to find out more. It's been great to work with some of my old students!
To Dream or Not to Dream? / 10.20.15
Allowing yourself to keep pursuing your dreams can be so empowering but also terrifying. Especially as the years roll by and you have more societal pressures saying you shouldn't be doing this or that... you should settle down and just get a stable job. But watch some TED Talks and you will see the plethora of people who made major life changes at later times in life, in search of living out their life purpose and passion, and then you will feel inspired to go with your gut, get out of that dead end job you hate, learn as much as you can, and get out there in pursuit of the thing that makes you come alive!
This past round of The Voice of Shunde was a debate in which we were asked various questions. One question was "Do you think that people over 30 should still be pursuing their dreams, or should they settle down with a stable job?" I, of course, said they should most definitely pursue their dreams! If I had thought that, I would still be in America, living a good life, but wondering what could've happened if I would've challenged myself more, and regretting not taking more risks with my musical passions and desires. I told the panel that of course if a person has a family, they need to do what they have to do as far as feeding them and providing, but they should still try to find a way to do something in a field that brings them energy and life. Kids need to see parents who are happy and fulfilled in life, setting goals and achieving them, so they know that their dreams can become a reality too!
#boadosinchina #TheVoiceofShunde #GoForYourDreams #itsnevertoolatetochangeyourlife #youareincontrol #reespeak
Alive in China / 10.02.15
Hello friends, I'm still alive and kicking here in Shunde, China. Sorry I haven't written in quite some time. I've definitely been keeping busy teaching English and Voice, writing TONS of new songs, and playing some fun shows. I even sang a song in Chinese, along with some of my originals, at a really legit concert that my Chinese singer-songwriter friend Anki hosted. This was a huge event with over 20 performers, video crew, and it even got news coverage in town. I WAS ON THE NEWS IN CHINA.... whaaat?! So strange... I have now made the news twice, the radio once, and I'm currently waiting to find out if I made it to the next round in The Voice of Shunde competition that I tried out for recently. I guess you could say I'm a minor celebrity in some circles. Hilarious!
(Click on the "PICS" tab to see some great photos from the concert)
Got some new pics up, thanks to the talented Alex Ventrone. I think it's about time I match my new red-headed self with my website! I'm actually trying hard to grow out my roots and it appears that my natural color is now some sort of dishwater blonde.. we'll see how long I can tolerate it. You know I love color!
In the last few months, I've made a decision to buckle down and work harder on honing my songwriting skills and increase my pursuit of becoming a songwriter for a living. This scares me to death in some ways, and a lot of self doubt creeps in. But I have to say I have been quite proud of myself at sticking to my daily schedule I created, including all tasks along with disciplined space for songwriting. I've always leaned more to the side of inspiration over discipline, but I am learning that you absolutely have to schedule disciplined time to make room for inspiration or you will never become a more prolific writer. It is truly working and I've been cranking out more songs than ever before. And they're better and better I think! Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I work harder than ever to make connections and pursue songwriting as a career. My heart is more alive now than ever before!
Adios for now!