Senior Feature: Diana Barlaam, Vocal Point

UR Stuck On Campus | | April 19, 2016

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When I started interviewing various seniors on campus to highlight their accomplishments, I immediately thought of local star Diana Barlaam. In her time at Rochester, Diana has taken on two majors in Biology and Psych as well as a minor in Spanish. Most importantly, however, she has rocked the stage as a member (and former President) of Vocal Point. For those of you who live under a rock, Vocal Point is the only all-female a capella group on campus, demonstrating aca-excellence in their performances and presence at the U of R. I mean, check out this video promoting their Fall 2015 show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3h4KhvKnaYU

As exemplified by the above clip, Diana exudes pop star. For this reason (and because she is the bomb dot com) I sat down with her to gain some insight as to how she has achieved such greatness.

Here’s our convo.

Matt Lerner (ML): “When did you know you were destined for vocal greatness? (AKA when did you start singing?)”

Diana Barlaam (DB): “The first song I ever sang was at my 4th grade talent show. It was a shaky version of ‘Ordinary Day’ by Vanessa Carlton—I was wearing both a black sequined top AND pants and felt super chic. I’ll never forget the feeling I had when I got my first round of applause (corny, I know) after singing, and still haven’t gotten tired of that feeling to this day.”

ML: Have you always been involved in a cappella or did you get your start in college?

DB: “I honestly never considered a cappella before college, but first saw Vocal Point when they came and harassed me at my car on move-in day. It’s funny that the girls I so wished would get away from my car (sorry old VP) would soon become my best friends and role models.”

ML: “What is your favorite Vocal Point memory?”

DB: “On our most recent Spring Break tour, we were told that we’d be staying at an “all girls camp” for one night in Connecticut. We had been driving all day from a long day of gigs in Albany, and pulled into this camp around 11:30pm. It was pitch black, with one rickety sign that said “Welcome to Camp.” We started immediately shrieking out of pure fear that we were going to be killed in our cabin. When we opened the door, we entered this decked out cabin that had new wood floors, a kitchen, bathrooms that were nicer than those you would find in hotels, a security system and a bedroom with 13 bunk beds (there were 13 of us). We spent 30 minutes running around screaming about how this cabin could be on MTV Cribs before having rehearsal from our bunk beds. Best night ever.”

ML: “What is your favorite song at the moment?”

DB: “I love Sia’s entire new album, more specifically ‘One Million Bullets’ and ‘House on Fire.’ I can listen to her music in absolutely any setting.”

ML: “What is your all-time favorite song to sing?”

DB: “’Elastic Heart’ is my favorite VP song to sing. To be honest, I have stage fright at even the smallest of performances. This is the first solo I feel completely comfortable singing. I connect with it on a personal level, and singing it has taught me a lot about my voice/helped me overcome stage fright.”

ML: “What are you most looking forward to about your show this weekend? Any surprises?”

DB: “This is the first Vocal Point show that my siblings (shout out to Drew and Rachel) are coming to, and I’m really excited to introduce them to a group that has been such an integral part of my college experience. I’m also really pumped to show off some new choreography moves we’ve been working on since I got pretty involved in the choreo process this year!”

ML: “Any plans to continue singing in a group post-graduation?”

DB: “I will be forcing my Boston a cappella partner in crime, Scott Lamm, to audition for a co-ed professional a cappella group with me next year. However, if things don’t work out, once in VP always in VP—so I will live vicariously through them.”

ML: “Which pop diva are you most similar to and why?”

DB: “I am most similar to Poot Lovato, Demi Lovato’s recently freed twin sister. My sister Rachel is high key extremely talented, and while she has been in the lime light I’ve spent 75% of my singing career trolling members of the a cappella community and a mere 25% actually singing.”

Vocal Point will be hosting their Senior Show this Friday, April 22nd at 8pm in the May Room. Tickets cost $8 for students and $10 for the general public.

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Vocal Point ft. the wind.