For the past four and a half years, dozens of Northwest University (NU) students have benefited from receiving vocal training from Bernadette Bascom, an accomplished performer, recording artist, producer, director, Emmy® award winner, and longtime friend of and collaborator with Stevie Wonder.
In fact, she was the first artist signed to Wonder’s Black Bull record label. Bascom expressed her sincere gratitude for all that her close friend Stevie has done for her, including making it possible for her to train under the world-renowned American vocal coach Seth Riggs, instructor to Ray Charles, Josh Groban, Michael Jackson, Cher, Tina Turner, and many others.
Stevie Wonder and Bernadette [Photo courtesy of Bernadette Bascom]
During her journey through the music industry, Bernadette has shared the stage with the talents of Elton John and Tower of Power’s Lenny Williams. At an early age, Bernadette fell in love with Seattle and eventually settled there for 15 years. She became a rising star in the Emerald City through touring with the funk bands Epicentre and Acapulco Gold. Bascom also lived in Las Vegas for 17 years, which opened many doors for the singer. While in Vegas, she performed in a long-running show called “Divine Divas”; won a competitive casting call to play one of the Supremes at the Motown Café in the New York - New York Hotel & Casino; and opened concerts for Tony Orlando, Dawn, Kid Creole, and David Copperfield.
After moving back to the Seattle area, Bascom wanted to bring the Gospel message to the heart of the city through a musical production she created called "PRAISE!", which ran at the Triple Door in downtown Seattle. Apart from still performing in local venues today, Bernadette thrives on mentoring promising young musicians. When given the opportunity, she gladly took on the roles of performance/vocal coach and personal tour manager for American Idol season six finalist Sanjaya Malakar, a Federal Way, WA native.
Last year, Bascom received an Emmy® for her participation in Seattle’s KING 5 documentary entitled "Bernadette's Touch," produced by John Sharify and Douglas Burgess. The program highlights her love for teaching young people with speech impairments to develop self-confidence and find joy in singing. Bernadette shares that the experience of winning an Emmy® was “overwhelming, in the best way possible. To be acknowledged for loving and caring for others is the ultimate blessing.”
Bernadette says she loves living in the Pacific Northwest again and investing in the next generation. She shares her years of experience and knowledge by instructing students at Northwest University. After this semester, Bernadette will complete her fifth year of teaching performance and voice in the contemporary pop/rock, gospel, and R&B styles.
Current NU students, Crossing worship leaders, and Choralons choir members Kaitlyn McKinney and Christian Dawson have both trained with Bernadette for years. “Bernadette has completely inspired me and challenged me to dream and have confidence in my voice,” says McKinney. “I have enjoyed her classes and would recommend that any student take a class from her.”
“I couldn’t have asked for a better vocal coach. Having someone of her caliber at NU is unbelievable. Weekly lessons with her have not only been lessons in singing, but lessons in life. She is an open book about both her successes and struggles. She is sweet and thoughtful. Anytime that I may have been down or not feeling well, she took the time to encourage me. Not only is she an instructor, but she has also become a mentor and friend.” –Christian Dawson
Since her arrival at NU, Bernadette has donated at least $10,000 worth of music manuals and songbooks to the Hurst Library on campus in Kirkland. Students can now check out a variety of publications and materials from the newly created music section that was previously nonexistent. Northwest University is grateful to have passionate faculty members like Bascom who care so deeply about training up others in their field of expertise.
"Bernadette brings us much more than just world-class vocal talent and the star power, relationships, and experience of a top entertainer. She brings a powerful faith in God that spills over in love for every young singer she coaches! I may have invited her to Northwest when she first came, but really, God sent her to us. I've never doubted that for a minute." –Northwest University President Joseph Castleberry
Please share this blog by using the links at the top of this page.
Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014