Meredith “Babe” Borden has distinguished herself as a remarkably versatile vocal artist, performing and recording in the genres of musical theater, progressive rock, and opera. Borden uses her three-octave range to explore "notes between the notes” and specializes in the microtonal repertoire of composers including Harry Partch, Julian Carillo, and just-intonation guitarist/composer Jon Catler ’79.
Borden's performing and recording credits include projects produced by Jim Rado, including the European tour of Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical; Meredith Monk (American Archeology No. 1: Roosevelt Island); the Queen’s Chamber Band (J.S. Bach's Cantata No. 51); and Elodie Lauten's albums OrfReo and Waking in New York at Merkin Concert Hall and St. Mark’s Church. As a veteran singer/dancer at the off-Broadway company New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, Borden has appeared in hundreds of performances, on national tours and on stages ranging from New York City Center to Buxton Opera House in England.
Borden is currently the lead singer (known as “Babe”) of the progressive psychedelic blues-rock group 13 O'Clock Blues Band. In a four-star review of Devil's Dance, the band's 2018 album, DownBeat said, "Vocalist Babe Borden deploys her keen talent for creating edgy suspense, staying rooted in bluesy earthiness, even as her voice travels the galaxies.” Borden is also launching a multifaceted microtonal rock opera with Catler called Runaway World.
In addition to Berklee, Borden teaches at UMass Lowell (senior adjunct voice faculty), South Shore Conservatory, Microtonal University (MU), and at WildHouse Studio, an event space in an historic barn in Randolph, Massachusetts.
- Five album releases on FreeNote Records with Willie McBlind, Birdhouse, and 13 O'Clock Blues Band, including Find My Way Back Home, Bad Thing, Live Long Day, and Devil's Dance
- Two four-star reviews from DownBeat magazine
- European tour of Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical
- Appearance as lead singer at King Biscuit Blues Festival (Arkansas Heritage and Blues Festival) in Helena, Arkansas, with progressive electric delta band Willie McBlind
- Performed in The Gondoliers (as Fiametta) and The Pirates of Penzance (as Isabel) with New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players at the Wolf Trap performing arts center in Vienna, Virginia
- Performed 10 New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players operettas, including The Pirates of Penzance, H.M.S. Pinafore, The Mikado, The Gondoliers, Trial by Jury, Princess Ida, Yeoman of the Guard, Rose of Persia, Ruddigore, and Iolanthe
- Lead role of Compassion in Elodie Lauten's opera Waking in New York at St. Mark's Church in Greenwich Village, New York
- Role of Mama Bird in the world premiere of Philip Glass’s opera The Juniper Tree at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Role of Christine in Phantom (Yeston/Kopit) at Seaside Music Theater in Daytona Beach, Florida
- Several Meet the Composer awards for collaborations with Jon Catler in performances with Evolution Ensemble and World Out of Tune (W.O.O.T.) Festival at New York City venues
- M.M., New England Conservatory of Music, vocal performance (opera training program), 1989
- B.M., New England Conservatory of Music, vocal performance, 1985
My dream is for my students to find their true voices and stoke the fires of inner passion that brought them to singing in the first place, and to guide each student to a high level of vocal proficiency and musical artistry. I want my students to feel empowered to discover the technical tools they need in a variety of vocal styles, whether it's opera, rock, blues, jazz, musical theater, or R&B; to understand their vocal instruments and what it is they have to express through song that is unique to them. I want students to have a deep understanding of the overtone content of their individual voices through study of vowel sounds and the unique interior filters that form their resonance and tone. I feel it is important for every singer to learn how to sustain and craft beautiful tone that emanates and speaks from the heart chakra as the physical “launch pad” into vibrational energy.
My guiding star is based on energetic principles fueled by many of my past teachers/mentors, including John Moriarty (New England Conservatory/Boston Conservatory), H. Wesley Balk (Minneapolis Opera), Neil Semer (New York City voice teacher), Meredith Monk (composer and performer), Marie Traficante (former Metropolitan Opera artist and voice teacher), Elodie Lauten (New York City composer), and Joe Maneri (charismatic microtonal music professor at New England Conservatory). H. Wesley Balk was a fifth-degree reiki master who taught the principle of "priming the pump," tapping into the innate energy systems of the body to free physical and vocal energy. Our body is our instrument, and I find that singers who are able to tap into the energy of their bodies—dancing through the voice, and singing through the body—are the most expressive artists. My expertise in the art of diction is also at an advanced level due to vigorous training with John Moriarty in his opera program and in practical application via hundreds of performances of the operetta repertoire of Gilbert and Sullivan, perfecting the craft of English diction. In addition to vocal accomplishments, I have an extensive background in dance (ballet, Duncan-style modern, tap) and feel that my passion for the art of dance informs my style of singing in all genres, whether it be a classic waltz or Texas blues boogie. I pride myself on my experience and mastery of a myriad of vocal styles and making those styles my own, rather than a carbon copy of other artists. I have a deep love of birds and have studied birdsong extensively, and feel very connected to the sounds of nature as channeled through the human voice.