Today we’d like to introduce you to Charissa Whillock.
Hi Charissa, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
My name is Charissa, and today, I am a full-time freelance singing actor & voiceover artist. I suppose my story begins with a meticulous mentor, my first private vocal instructor. At the age of 12 my mother signed me up for vocal lessons, at the suggestion of my choir teacher, and I underwent several years of classical training. This kind of instruction took my mere interest in music to a place of scholarly importance. As a result of this training, I thrived in an audition-based choir, Austin Girl’s Choir, and blossomed into Westwood High School’s choral program and immersed myself in several theatre classes after fully committing to crafting my skills in performance.
When my college education began, I knew I would be a performer of some kind. But, I didn’t want the schools to define my performance. I just wanted more of everything I was exposed to; Musical Theatre, Opera, Jazz, Choral Music, etc. So I began my college degree in Wichita, Kansas as a Musical Theatre & Vocal Performance double major. During my time at Wichita State, I performed in fully staged operas, built up my experience in dance, and unraveled some of the mysteries of a performance career.
Once I finished my Bachelor’s Degree from Wichita State University, I searched to solidify my career. I was hungry for the information that voice teachers seem to conjure up and give to their students.
My curiosity led me to Texas State University in San Marcos, TX, where I obtained a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance & Pedagogy. I kept performing classically based works during my graduate studies, and during this time I was asked to play the most difficult role in my operatic career, The Governess in Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw.
After my two degrees, I moved back to my hometown of Austin, Texas. The town I grew up in had changed quite a bit. I auditioned for anything performance-based I could get my hands on. I ended up starring in a Mozart Opera set in the Star Wars Universe, leaning into the night scene with a series called Cabernet Cabaret, brought multiple musical theatre roles to life in the Texas Hill Country, sang in a holiday trio called the Vintage Dreams, performed with some classical cats who reimagine classical music through series called Beerthoven, voiced several characters for a VR video game titled, Vacation Simulator by Owlchemy Studios, vocal coached high schoolers at several fine arts programs, and so much more.
My current focus is expanding my company Crossover Charissa LLC, where my goal is to story tell through complex performative narratives and inspire creativity through my musical creation. Currently, I teach industry professionals at my studio, voice the English version of MeowMeowKitty on Koté TV, and host a free live show where I sing anything from Mozart to Mazzy Star. I’ll always remain committed to a diverse musical experience and thrive on opportunities that lie in performance, composition, and the celebration of many musical genres.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Struggles are what make an artistic life dynamic. My biggest struggle has always come with understanding my role in the larger picture of the performance industry. I am a chameleon in my social and musical life and enjoy adapting to help the creatives around me build their own artistic vision. Once I’m in the room, I know how to contribute. Getting a team of creatives introduced to me always comes through performance. It has never been easy for me to step into new career spheres without proving myself first. Proving yourself can be a taxing process for an artist and I’ve done this many times over in academic, creative, social, theatrical, and audition settings. It never gets easier, just more nuanced.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
My range and sensibility make me uniquely good at singing an operatic aria, then immediately switching to a gospel-styled ballad. I show off these capabilities on my Twitch Channel through live weekly performances. The list of tunes my viewers can choose from is over 500+ songs long and features musical theatre, jazz, opera, pop, rock, blues, and alternative musical stylings. I also have a feature on my channel that encapsulates my experience with voiceover work. Viewers of my channel can redeem a list of character voices in which I will sing a song. This added feature on my channel stretches my abilities and uniquely builds upon my expertise. Oh yeah—and I taught myself how to play piano well enough to accompany my singing in most of these songs. Something that took me years to build the skillset for. I am truly proud of the environment I have found performing on Twitch and hope to continue live-streaming for the rest of my career.
Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
My ability to creatively problem solve is the most important totem to my success. I am a silver-lining kind of person. I find the circumstance I am in as an evolving entity that always allows for manipulation. I am ready to get my hands dirty and finish a project or find an alternative, rather than give up and admit the situation wasn’t meant to be.
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/crossovercrrissa
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/@crossovercrrissa
- Other: www.twitch.tv/crossovercrrissa
An Elf Named Ghost Photography for one of the photos