From sweet high harmony vocals to a mean Texas-Style breakdown, here’s a quick interview with none other than Hulda Quebe, the youngest of The Quebe Sisters.
Who are some vocalists that you model your singing after and why?
Like most musicians my taste in music has evolved over the years. Which makes my list of favorites super long haha. I’ll try to name a few that have been in my “musical diet” for a long time.
Merle Haggard just might be my favorite male country singer. He’s been my yardstick for quality singing since I was 14 and that’s yet to change. Ray Price takes the cake in country music for me too. Connie Smith has always been my favorite female country singer. Ella Fitzgerald blows me away. The Beatles were and still are a huge influence on us three.
One of my favorite things to do when I find an artist I like is to go back and find who influenced them, then look up who they have influenced, and so on. It’s a great exercise to find incredible music.
What are some tips you would give someone wanting to sing harmony vocals?
Listen to good music. I know that sounds obvious but I’m amazed that many times people aren’t steeping their ears in good quality music. Being a vocal harmony singer is a different animal from lead singing. Besides the obvious decisions you have to make about what notes and chordal choices you want, I think the most important thing is to think of the notes together as a ball of sound. Make sure you breathe in the same place, sing at the same volume, are pronouncing words the same… basically if your part pops out of the “ball of sound” you are doing something wrong haha. Lately I’ve been into watching acapella groups to see how they blend and meld.
How do you come up with vocal and fiddle harmonies with your sisters?
We try to pick a key that fits all our ranges so nothing is too low or high. Then we get some basic parts lined out for the skeleton of the song and then start brainstorming on variations and messing with different chord choices.
We sang a lot of “sandwich” harmony growing up (lead in middle, second part on top, third on bottom), so now it’s fun to play around with different stacking.
Side note: Go get the Twenty Feet from Stardom documentary. You’ll love it!
Of all the places you’ve played over the years, do you have a favorite?
I’ve been asked this question a lot and I’ve yet to come up with a good answer haha! I truly don’t have a favorite place that I’ve played. I have favorite moments, like playing the Grand Ole Opry at 13 yrs old and Vince Gill meeting me and then spending the rest of the night introducing me to people as “Nellie Wilson” because I had long braids like Willie Nelson lol.
Traveling is such a rewarding part of what we do and I love seeing the diversity of each place we go. I’m so glad people, cultures and landscapes aren’t the same. That would be boring!
How do you like to spend your time off the road?
I love being home as much as I love touring. Seeing friends, spending time with my husband, resting and catching up on day to day life is wonderful. Eating good Mexican food is always a priority haha. I’m a planner, organizer, and a cleaner at heart so I always have to do those things. I’m also really involved with the business side of that we do… and music. Rehearsals, studying, brain storming, and band practices really take up free time : ).
What music are you listening to these days?
I just scrolled through my recent music on my phone. My recent plays are Radiohead, Patti LaBelle, Whitney Houston, Lisa Fischer (vocalist with the Rolling Stones), Stevie Wonder, John Lennon, Scott Walker, Queen (I’m obsessed with Freddie Mercury), Stevie Ray Vaughan.
My Uncle introduced me to SRV. When we were little we’d go visit and he would stay up with us and watch funny movies and play old SNL skits on VHS tapes and one time he played us Stevie Ray Vaughan’s performance on Austin City Limits. I become a die hard SRV fan after that. I’m currently reading a great book of interviews of SRV and studying his music catalog.