It takes passion, discipline and respect to make it as a performer. Part-time North Fork resident Tricia Scotti has learned this in her nearly three-decade career as a vocalist and guitarist. Now, she wants to share her professional knowledge with her latest undertaking: the vocal lesson service Sing Sessions, which will begin operating from a Mattituck storefront later this month.
Ms. Scotti, who performs in singer Ronnie Spector’s band, said she will teach developing vocalists notes and theory, along with real-world application of harmony, instinct, connection to lyrics and audiences, microphone technique and rehearsal etiquette.
“A kid could walk into this room and have a safe space to just do whatever they want vocally,” she said. “They can check stuff out, they could listen to music, try to sing a song.”
Ms. Scotti, who grew up on the North Fork from ages 6 to 16, said she began to explore music as a 10-year-old. She sang at local fairs, listened to soul music with her family and eventually became interested in bands like Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones.
“I actually remember sitting on the lawn of that church,” she said during a recent interview, pointing to Main Road near Mattituck Presbyterian Church, “writing postcards to go to the Stones’ concerts — you had to do like a lottery — and I was in the high school band in Mattituck.”
From that point on, Ms. Scotti took advantage of every chance she had to experience music.
“I think that when you can find something that you connect with and it makes people happy, there’s something about that. You can sit here and play the guitar and it’s entertainment,” she said.
After high school, Ms. Scotti performed in wedding and club date bands, learning to memorize songs and be on stage with others. She also signed up for open mic nights and made musical connections in New York City.
Her efforts didn’t go unnoticed, as she began to receive requests to sing backup for different artists. She has since recorded and performed with a number of familiar names, including Patti Smith, Joey Ramone, Keith Richards and Bruce Springsteen, and has coached performers in harmony singing. Since 1998, she has also been a vocalist, guitarist and percussionist for Ms. Spector, who belonged to the early 1960s girl group The Ronettes.
“I’ve been so lucky with the shows I’ve been able to do and sing with some of the people that I loved growing up with, songs that I knew when I was a little kid,” she said. “Suddenly I’m singing with that person and it’s just like, ‘How did this happen?’ ”
While Ms. Scotti isn’t sure whether “lucky” is the right word to describe her experiences, the joy of singing and performing led her to want to found Sing Sessions. While the service is open to everyone, she plans to focus specifically on tween and teenage girls, helping them develop their styles at a point in their lives when their self-esteem can be greatly influenced by outside factors. Her hope is to help these students develop inner strength.
“There’s something about the self-esteem thing for girls that I think when you can do something really well and you don’t need an external source to give it to you, it’s important for me to see,” she said. “I love seeing that, ‘Yeah, I can ride my bike. Hey, I can do this thing that I couldn’t do before!’ And I relate to them, this part of me that still feels like I’m 15 years old, because I still feel excited about that feeling of playing music.”
In addition to her new venture, Ms. Scotti will perform songs like “Be My Baby” with Ms. Spector at the Suffolk Theater in Riverhead on Feb. 18. Sing Sessions will host an open house Saturday, Jan. 14, from noon to 4 p.m. at 12700 Main Road in Mattituck.
Photo: Tricia Scotti will share her musical knowledge at her Sing Sessions space in Mattituck. (Credit: Kelly Zegers)