Just like keys and padlocks which are manufactured with precise duplicates, some singers, no matter how distinct their voices are, could limitlessly have exacting vocal replicas…even with almost similar physical features.
Take Karen Carpenter (as an example) of The Carpenters tandem. Karen’s vocal resonance was divergently rich and full bodied innately equipped with such distinct silkiness and smooth glottal transition…and that her unique tonal quality easily detached her from the rest of her contemporaries. After the duo’s short-lived 14-year career (1969 – 1983) and to this date nobody ever thought that someday, somebody could stand in equivalence with her exceptional soft rock, easy listening, and adult contemporary genres idiosyncratically associated to her.
Suddenly several vocal dead-ringers emerged aptly armed with their unprecedented assertion to take the enviable spot vacated by the American singer-drummer. Initially, we thought Filipino singing sensation of the 70s Claire Dela Fuente, who rose to fame via her signature song, “Sayang,” was the closest to Karen’s voice but sounded dissimilarly when rendering a variety of ditties.
Then came a completely unknown Japanese Karen Carpenter avid fan, Keiko, who could effortlessly deliver and uncomplicatedly perform any recorded song of the deceased anorexic singer…and one would easily grow goose bumps upon hearing her closest-to-the-original rendition. Keiko, in a fair assessment, has achieved her goal to be noticed…thanks to the internet prop up.
Until one Shane Ericks instantaneously became a YouTube sensation after her initial postings accumulated immeasurable volume of followers and notably growing integers of fans… indubitably, Karen Carpenter fanatics.
When vocal coach authorities declared that the greatest voices are not just heard but deeply felt while reaching into one’s soul with soothing effect, they must be directly referring to Karen Carpenter voice-alike-sound-alike… fast-rising astounding discovery Shane Ericks.
The hasty ascent and awareness of the moniker Shane Ericks among music enthusiasts could have been understandably due to her very close vocal association with the original soulful icon.
Shane first saw the light of day on April 9 in Malolos, Bulacan (Philippines) and the sole child of Chinese-American Chi Li and Filipino Sonia Galang. Innately endowed with adequate audacity and indisputable self-reliance, Shane’s ultimate dream to conquer the world in the palms of her hands via her vocal prowess isn’t far from being realized. She was destined to sing and capture the hearts of whoever perceives the sound of her potent vocal capability.
The Aries-influenced chanteuse innately possesses that distinct clarity of tone in a wide range of almost perfected control and effortless ability to generate such exquisitely comforting sound so flawlessly… so very Karen Carpenter!
Daintily petite at 5’2” (but not really diminutive) and tips the scale at 124 lbs., the dark brown haired fast-rising singer-songwriter still attends school at Greenville Technical School (South Carolina) taking up Commercial Music (Music Therapy) but currently on a break from her classes due to the heavy turn-out of singing engagements and recording offers.
“I want to grab these rare opportunities that piled up my door for if I bid them waiting they might not be available anymore when I need them. School will always be there and I can go back to where I left anytime,” the Wade Hampton High School alumna justifiably explained her point. “With the advent of the growing number of talents and aspiring singers, my probability to be on top might be jeopardized if I’ll take everything easy. I might as well snatch and get hold of any available prospect.”
After having recorded, performed, and uploaded quite a number of songs and having attracted a huge following, the potentially loaded Karen Carpenter’s spitting doppelganger has nowhere to go but up and above.
Through her ever indefatigable business-road manager, Scott Tressler, a series of electronic communication questionnaires were sent to Shane Ericks which were accordingly dealt with and effectually given due reciprocation.
The following interacted correspondence eventually transpired between this writer and Shane.
Asian Journal (AJ): Who influenced you into singing? Or was this a personal choice?
Shane Ericks (SE): Yes, ultimately, it was a personal choice but definitely there were some people in my life growing up that helped me motivate my passion for it. My singing has been a humbling God-given ability…and I’m sure my family acknowledged that I had an inclination for singing even before I was aware of it. I was heavily influenced by some great singers that I grew up listening to: Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Karen Carpenter, Sarah Geronimo, and Shania Twain. Also I was asked by the musical director of a huge church choir (who happened to be my Ninang) to be a part of it when I was barely 6…and that influenced me developed my singing even more.
AJ: Did you undergo formal vocal training? If self-taught, how were you able to manage to be a pro?
SE: Not really, although when I won the South Carolina’s “Best Singer in the District and State” competitions in 2014-2015, a vocal coach worked with me only for a few sessions but I would say that I’ve been self-taught pretty much! I had constantly been involved in singing from my childhood to my senior year in high school. I also did solo gigs here and there so that helped me a lot in perfecting my public performances. I rehearse untiringly during my personal time…in the car or even under the shower. An hour won’t pass without me singing.
AJ: Who initially noticed that you sounded like Karen Carpenter?
SE: It started with the people that saw the very first video of my Carpenters’ cover…and I wasn’t aware of it at all. Even famous celebrities who had personally worked with Karen Carpenter like Liberty De Vitto (Billy Joel’s drummer) straightforwardly attested to it. I’ve done many other covers by other artists and I’ve always just sung them the way I would personally sing them in my own style.
Just last year in August when I found the hit song “You” by the Carpenters on YouTube I decide to make a cover of it purposely dedicated it to my lovely mom who already passed away. It was a song I was very much familiar with the melody but not the lyrics. I covered it like how I would with other songs…without the intention of imitating Karen. But I got startling comments after I uploaded it. Since then, I started to listen more and grew my love and appreciation to the Carpenters’ music. Then I started to realize what people have been talking about regarding our similarities with regard to intonation, vibrato, rendition of the lower range and delivery of phrases. I know that no one could ever fill her shoes but if I can just somewhat bring a part of Karen’s sound back, that would be awesome. I feel honored!
AJ: Could you recall your first ever mastered song?
SE: I was 18. I wrote a Christian contemporary song and recorded it in a studio here in South Carolina. Though determined I didn’t think that would be the first single I’d release on iTunes and Amazon. The song meant a lot to me having been inspired by overcoming the struggles and trials in life and greatly stimulated by being heartbroken from a previous relationship…aside from losing some of the closest people in my life. My intention to write a breakup song was inescapably guided by God to be “Your Love Is Enough.”
AJ: When and where was your maiden performance as a professional singer?
SE: Well, I had sung in weddings in the Philippines when I was 7 and got paid so I would consider that as gigs…but as a professional artist I would say probably back in 2014 when I performed in big shows all over South Carolina with a band.
AJ: Who among the popular singers do you admire most? Do you attempt to sing and sound like them?
SE: I’m a huge fan of Adele. I try to sound like her just for fun but can’t do it…ha ha ha ha! I also dig Michael Jackson. I impersonated him including his peculiar moves and hiccup sound…again just for fun. And of course, The Carpenters! Karen is probably my favorite singer of all time now. It’s a challenge to be sounding like her but still I want to establish my own identity. I subscribe to the saying: “I was born original…I won’t die a copy!”
AJ: What do you consider your most successful and gratifying performance?
SE: In 2014 when I performed with my band in a state convention before a huge crowd of 800 people. Watching people enjoyed the music was already a success but as a Christian musician and singer-songwriter, the greatest thing to consider was when people seem healed and uplifted through music. Another event was when I opened for the compilation bands of Eagles, Billy Joel, Peter Frampton and the likes.
AJ: How do you categorize / classify your vocal style? Are you open to adapting other singing style?
ES: I’d say, easy listening, soul / ballad, and R & B. Yes, I used to do a lot of Pop / Rock and belt-out songs. But my voice fits well with mellow jazzy soulful style…nothing forceful and uproar-sounding!
Another Philippine pride in the person of Shane Ericks is on the forefront of music. Watch out for her as she captures every heart with her unparalleled vocal supremacy via an international label.
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