Kudisan Kai, the artist formerly known as Natalie Jackson, has made an incredible journey from opera to alternative rock. She started her professional singing career as a member of the Pastiche Opera company in Memphis, TN at the age of 12 years. A student of Metropolitan Opera star Mattiwilda Dobbs, she later graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C. with a B.A. degree in Applied Music (Voice). She received additional training from Phyllis Curtain at the Tanglewood Summer Music Festival in Lenox, MA, then entered a Masters in Music program at The Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York as a student of yet another Metropolitan Opera star, Seth McCoy. After finishing a semester of graduate study in Arts Administration at New York University, this classically trained singer went on tour as a backing vocalist for Tom Browne, Anita Baker, Natalie Cole, Chaka Khan, Elton John, and Jeffrey Osborne. Kudisan has also appeared with Beck at the Cochella Festival and on MTV’s Total Request Live. She’s appeared on numerous television shows as recently as The Voice and the 2020 Academy Awards, backing up Cynthia Errivo and Chrissy Metz. Other tv performances include singing with Sting, Foreigner, and others. The range of artists with whom Kudisan has recorded with reflects the depth of her experience, and includes Bette Midler, Fishbone, Roger Waters, Joe Cocker, Ofra Haza, Mary J. Blige, and Salif Keita. This versatile artist can be heard in a host of movies including Dreamwork’s El Dorado, for music producer Patrick Leonard, Disney’s Dinosaurs, for music composer James Newton Howard, and Just Visiting and Rio II for music composer John Powell.
Currently, Kudisan Kai has released her latest single entitled Step Into The Light for Swishcraft Music, along with a book entitled Memoirs Of A Back Up Diva. She also hosts her own podcast entitled Backstories on Kai-Fi where she interviews backing vocalists for recording icons whom have also achieved successful careers as solo recording artists, discussing their journeys and the challenges they face balancing both careers. In alignment with her teaching, she has an online vocal music forum entitled Vocal Music Evolution for singers who have completed their studies and wish to seriously pursue a career as a singer in the commercial music industry. This site offers a network and community of iconic industry professionals who have the information on where and how to get music-related work in the major hubs of the music business (Los Angeles, New York, soon Nashville), tips on vocal health from the best doctors in this field, vocal tips from top well-known icons in this industry, while creating a community of singers who have committed themselves to expanding their marketability and maximizing their creative potential.
My teaching philosophy is rooted in expressing the importance of an emotionally connective performance in all that you do. I teach vocal performance through self-empowerment principles that explore one’s truth, life lessons, and emotional connection, using one’s personal experiences as a vehicle of inspiration to tell their stories through singing.
My expertise also comes in how I apply my knowledge of classical technique to contemporary music of all genres. Therefore, my teaching philosophy also includes expressing the importance of finding one’s authentic voice in every style. By mastering vocal technique, knowing the history and sociology of multiple genres of music styles, and exploring and gathering as much information possible on these genres, helps you to find your own authentic voice. Through acknowledging your life journey, the pain and the joy, expressing these emotions organically and honestly through your instrument for the audience to connect to, is exciting, mesmerizing, healing, and supportive for both the singer and the listener. This is the recipe for having an audience in the palm of your hands. This is the job of an artist.