Long before Lucas Meachem was winning Grammy Awards and performing with opera companies around the world, he was an aspiring artist growing up in rural North Carolina.
That’s why the work he’s doing this week as an artist-in-residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is extra special.
“I can’t tell you how dear to my heart my state, North Carolina, is to me,” said Meachem, who now lives in Minneapolis. “What I know I’m going to take away from this experience is the thought that I’m really giving back to my state, to my people, to North Carolina.”
As part of his artist-in-residency with the College of Arts & Sciences’ music department, Meachem performed a concert at Memorial Hall, worked one-on-one with students in private sessions and taught three master classes.
He helped student artists with all facets of their vocal performance, from breath support to mouth positioning to vowel pronunciations.
“I’m very grateful to have this opportunity as a student,” said first-year student Paul Miller, who attended a master class. “Not many people can say they’ve had the opportunity to perform for people of this caliber.”
Meachem also talked to the students about succeeding as artists and staying true to their sound, rather than trying to mimic other performers.
“I’m really hoping the students take from this experience a new thought on the way to perform and a new way to feel on stage,” Meachem said. “To be confident in themselves, and then take that confidence out into the world and express themselves in that way.”
That’s one of key messages Carolina junior Elizabeth Thompson took away from the master class.
“I’m going to apply this knowledge that I can just rely on myself, I can rely on my foundation,” Thompson said. “Now I have a little bit more confidence that I just need to go and do what I know I need to do and just do it.”