Today’s host is Meaghan Sands, she is the perfect fusion of multiple talents that gave birth to an incredible artist.
When did you found out about you hidden talent? And how?
I have been singing since I could make sounds with my mouth. Not specifically opera, but everything. I would sit outside in the dirt, on a tree branch, literally anywhere, and just make up songs. People from around my block would tell my parents “I heard Meaghan singing again today!” When I go home, this still happens. In fact, it’s probably more dramatic now that I am practicing opera, because it is SO LOUD. There is really no quiet way to go about it.
How did you start your journey?
I started singing in church, as I think many young singers do. I loved singing in music class, and always tried out for choirs and solos in school, despite being extremely shy. As for dance, when I was in Kindergarten, my teacher asked “who would like to be a ballerina in this years production?” I am pretty sure I almost broke my arm from raising it so aggressively! Hah! I was so happy to put those little ballet shoes on and dance around the stage. After that, my parents allowed me to sign up for any and every dance class I could think of — and I did! I ended up studying gymnastics, ballet, tap, jazz, Hawaiian, Tahitian, modern, contemporary, acrobatics, and hip hop.
I believe that you have an idol who inspired you.
I find it difficult to pin point an exact idol that inspired me, but AS FOR SINGERS, when I was young, I certainly idolized singers like Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, and Whitney Houston. At the time, I believed that was the epitome of singing. I still have so much respect for what those women did for vocals in pop music, but I have since gone through different phases of love for singers in other genres, dancers, and historical figures. Barbara Streisand was sensational in the 60s. Ella Fitzgerald, Maria Callas, Ann Wilson – I could go on for days. I also have a love for the triple threats of what we now consider classic movies. Gene Kelly and Donald O’Conner are perfect examples of performers who could sing, dance, and act so well that it leaves your jaw open!
You are, what we call, a multi-talented person, great dancer, you have an amazing voice and you act like a super star. In which one of those you find yourself the most?
Wow, thank you! That is such a kind thing to say. These days, I mostly find myself doing opera and, surprisingly, film work! I did not go to school for film, but NYC is such a film oriented place, that you can be walking down the street and someone might approach you to be in their film if they feel so inclined. A couple times, people have come into my place of work and asked if I am an actor, to which I reply “yes”, and they simply say “Want to be in my film?” The answer is always yes – I just love making art. I still dance as well, but the older I get, the less my knees appreciate the wear and tear.
They say “we are our own worst critic”, how do you qualify your performances after reviewing it?
I am quite the perfectionist, and I have learned to NOT watch my performances for at least a month. After a couple months, I can listen to the piece with different ears, but before that point, I cannot appreciate anything.
Is there any difference between acting in movies and acting in theater ? and which one do you prefer?
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE? — YES!!! That is such a great question. My goodness, they are so different, and I don’t think that many people realize how difficult each is. With any live theater work, you must be aware of the audience, always. With opera specifically, you are always singing, without a microphone, and considering the size of the opera house/orchestra, this is usually never an easy feat. Time moves more slowly in opera, and you often repeat the same idea over and over again, so you have to find ways to make your acting authentic while, again, making sure the audience can hear you. Sometimes there are people in the 6th balcony, and you need to make sure that they get as much acting love as the first row. In musical theater, you are often dancing and singing at the same time. That is a difficult beast in its own regard. Just like opera, you have to give off incredible energy for every second that you are on stage, that is how the audience falls into the magic of the show. Film work is difficult for completely opposite reasons. Sometimes movements can be TOO big, and you walk right out of the cameras focus! Another aspect that I find exhausting is the “turning on, turning off” of energy for each shot. You often shoot the same scene many, many times in a row, and once that is done, you’ll shoot it from another angle! During this time, you must be completely in character, perhaps angry and shouting, and just start on a dime, out of thin air seemingly. Then you stop and everything is quiet, but as soon as the director says “and, action!” you are right back at it. There are no events to emotionally prepare you for the scenes, you have to find that yourself from scratch. However, the good part about film is that you get many chances to get it right. There are no second chances with live theater — the show must go on!
Which category of roles will be easier for you to perform, because it’s close to your real personality?
I love playing extreme roles – either funny or serious. I do not enjoy playing roles that are right in the middle though. I want the excitement!
Do you have other passion?
I love to paint, read, and travel. I found out last summer that I very much enjoy playing unprofessional, bloody games of beach volleyball. A couple weeks ago I discovered that I love skydiving as well! Really, if there is adventure to be had, I want to be a part of it.
Imagine in a few years you reread this article, and you’re already a star, what the advice that you would like to tell to your future self after reaching all your goals?
If I become a success, I would like to tell my future self to remember all of the people who helped me become who I am, and to try and make their lives better. I have so many goals to make positive change in the world that it is overwhelming, but if I am successful in five years, then I will have the power to start doing that on a grand scale.
What should readers know about the performance lifestyle?
Readers should know that this is not an easy life to choose. Many mentors will tell you “if you can do anything else in the world, do it” because constantly traveling alone, auditioning, and performing can wear on your soul. It can be lonely and depressing, and you will receive a great deal of rejection before anyone gives you a chance. Performers work a lot of random jobs – I myself have worked as a roofer (construction worker), bartender, music teacher, office temp, dance teacher, house cleaner, etc. Many of us either choose to not have families, or simply cannot because of the constant traveling, which usually means long distance relationships. Those are difficult as well. There is really no getting around the fact that much sacrifice goes into being a performer, but if it is your passion, then creating magic for others will still be worth the loss.