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The Singing and Speaking Voice of Odette
in Sony Animation’s “The Swan Princess” Series
Announces Her Debut EP
The Album’s Six Lush, Orchestral Pop Soundscapes
Were Crafted with Producer Phillip Peterson,
Known for His Work with Lorde, Ed Sheeran and Lana Del Rey
NINA HERZOG became a star for her work as the singing and speaking voice of Odette, The Swan Princess, in Sony Animation’s “The Swan Princess” series. The role was the culmination of a singing career that started in grammar school. “In first grade, I enrolled in our local talent show and sang ‘Blue Moon,’” Herzog recalled. “I was also singing on a cable TV show when I was 12-years-old. My dad was a doctor, so I was going to study medicine in college, but when I was 17, I got a chance to sing with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C. The thrill of performing in front of a packed house made me decide to pursue a musical career.”
While studying music and voice at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, she began a career as a session singer and voice actor, recording hundreds of demos and commercials for Universal, Sony and Broadway shows. She also added her presence to a series of Buzzfeed.com videos that have gotten millions of hits. Shortly after graduating at the top of the Dean’s List, she auditioned to become the speaking voice of Odette. She got the job. At one of her first voice over sessions, she was told the producers were looking for a woman to become Odette’s singing voice. She told them she was a singer, too. After another audition, HERZOG became the embodiment of The Swan Princess.
“Up until now, I had mostly used my voice to sing other people’s songs, playing characters other than myself, telling stories that were not my own, hidden behind a costume or an animated figure.” A few years ago, HERZOG began writing her own songs. She’s now ready to share them with the world.
TOGETHER AWAY is a six-song EP, full of touching melodies and honest emotions, a journey that explores the landscape of unconditional love and profound loss with an open heart. “I wanted to express the ways lovers and loved ones retain the sensation of being eternally present in each other's lives, the ways in which humans are able to feel deeply connected - despite death or great distances.”
The EP was recorded with producer and multi-instrumentalist Phillip Peterson at his Seattle studio, House of Breaking Glass. “We both shared an appreciation for cinematic storytelling,” HERZOG said. “I’d sent him a demo of ‘Lover’s Lullaby’ that I made in Los Angeles. When I heard his arrangement for it, we settled in and knocked out the EP in a week, working from sunrise to sunset every day.”
The songs on TOGETHER AWAY unfold like a romantic novel, moving through longing, infatuation, intimacy and on to separation.
“Changing Seasons” opens with warm acoustic guitar strums, a sprinkling of high piano notes and a mellow R&B backbeat. HERZOG’s soft vocal is full of yearning as she faces the coming of winter alone. “The desire to experience the changing seasons is a metaphor for experiencing love and life fully,” she said.
“Lean Into Me” is a dreamy ballad that offers a new lover the promise of comfort and solace. A string ensemble surrounds HERZOG’s openhearted vocal, while jazzy electric guitar fills add to the feeling of slowly simmering passion. “This one is about opening your arms wide; being there for someone who has held the same space open for you.”
Shimmering keyboards and soulful organ tones proved the backbone for the muted R&B of “A Lifetime.” The quiet backing tracks put the spotlight on HERZOG’s vocals, as they move from passionate whispers to lamentations of loss. “I wrote this song struggling to find the answers to questions I have about who to love, where to go, and what to do with my precious, limited time on this earth.”
“Journey Bound” is a pop ballad with piano, strings and HERZOG’s voice promising eternal love, despite the distances circumstance may place between lovers. While remaining quiet, her vocals slowly build to an anguished conclusion as she sings, “I’ve got the ‘night before I’m out the door’ blues.” HERZOG explains: “This song is for anyone who has had to be away from loved ones when duty calls, and the conflict that creates.”
Country piano and acoustic guitars intensify the longing on “Least Resistance,” another declaration of limitless love that builds to a powerful climax that lets HERZOG explore her high range and unique phrasing. “It’s easy to spend time dreaming about the things we want in life. Going after them every day is hard work. Waiting around while life passes by is not the way to achieve your dreams.”
“Lover’s Lullaby” closes the album on a wistful note, with grand piano and a cinematic wash of strings supporting HERZOG’s wordless vocal improvisations. “There are many ways to feel close to someone you love. Sometimes, just by singing a song, we can hold a lover close, even when they’re not literally in our arms.”
Before the pandemic hit, HERZOG maintained an ambitious schedule singing with symphony orchestras, teaching voice, doing voice over work, working as a session singer for jingles and film scores, recording demos for other songwriters, acting and singing in plays, and working with a small non-profit organization that helps families with essential needs, provides educational opportunities, and focuses on community building. Since the lockdown, she’s made a video for “Lean into Me” and has done virtual concerts for various charities. “I want to keep singing until I drop dead,” she says with a smile. “I love everything about performing, down to the smell of the velvet curtain on stage. I’ll never stop creating music. Even after I pass, I hope to somehow send musical vibrations through the universe.”
March 12, 2021
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