Deb Wattes is no stranger to finding an outlet to celebrate, with singing featuring heavily in her life. Having a performance artist streak since she was a toddler, Deb’s parents would place her on tables to perform at parties and her and her young friends would put on dance and singing performances. Having always had the urge to sing, it hasn’t been until the last few years that Deb has taken it up in a serious way. Adult responsibilities and a position as an Administration Manager put singing on the backburner, but now that she has the time, Deb is making it a priority and has never been happier.
Prior to committing to her art and making it into something more professional, Deb’s only previous experience with public performance was to pick up the karaoke microphone. After one such performance, she was told she shouldn’t be singing karaoke as it wasn’t for professional singers. This comment stuck with her and became a part of the fire that propelled her to enrol in the Bachelor of Contemporary Music. In her third year studying at Southern Institute of Technology (SIT), she maintains that without the opportunities the course has offered her, she couldn’t imagine where she would be.
Since beginning her study, Deb’s confidence has skyrocketed. She credits her tutors with imparting all their knowledge and being especially generous with their time, which has allowed her to come out of her shell and be able to enjoy the experiences the course offers. Some of her fondest memories of the past couple of years’ study include, singing in the choir, the mix up week and flash mobs.
“Bringing the entire music department together as a cohesive unit was so much fun and as a beginner, what you learn during this process is invaluable.”
Some of the bonuses she has experienced through studying at SIT include, using the SIT Sound Studio and networking with other departments. The SIT Sound Studio is accessible to students and allows them to create their own music at very low cost. Through the networking opportunities, students have the chance to create music for the film students’ assignments and do some acting. Deb has also been able to get a music video produced by the film students, which is an exciting prospect and something that would be hugely expensive without the assistance of the SIT students and equipment.
Deb is also the lead singer for the ‘Get Some Jazz in Ya’ jazz band which is performing at Jazz at Louie’s on Friday nights. Not content to stop there, she is also putting together another jazz band which is currently in its infancy, but hoping to be playing a couple of pieces at Louie’s by the end of April.
Deb’s enthusiasm for her future jazz career and her current enjoyment of her course at SIT are infectious and her musical plans are ambitious, hoping to tour New Zealand as a jazz singer and perhaps even the U.S.A.