Janice Pendarvis

Associate Professor
Affiliated Departments
Faculty Bio E-Mail

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Career Highlights
  • Featured in Sting’s film Bring on the Night, video "Set Them Free," and DVD All This Time; and in Laurie Anderson’s film Home of the Brave
  • Appeared in the 2014 Academy Award winning documentary, Twenty Feet From Stardom
  • Television appearances on Saturday Night LiveLate Night with David LettermanThe Today ShowThe Tonight ShowTop of the Pops, and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony with Brandy, Ray Charles,  Fat Boy Slim, the Four Tops, Philip Glass, Al Green, Buddy Guy, Debby Harry, Darlene Love, Barry Manilow, Tim Meadows, Eddie Murphy, the O’Jays, Maxi Priest, Lou Reed, the Righteous Brothers, David Lee Roth, Martin Short, Sting, Barry White, Vanessa Williams, and more
  • Featured soloist on "Lightning" by Philip Glass from the album Songs from Liquid Days
  • Recorded with Laurie Anderson, Harry Belafonte, Luiz Bonfa, Michael Brecker, Jimmy Cliff, Roberta Flack, Terumasa Hino, Jewel, Ben E. King, John Mayall, Najee, Polyrock, the Rolling Stones, Carly Simon, Ronnie Spector, Steps Ahead, Sting, Taj Mahal, the Naked Brothers Band, and more
  • Live performance and/or touring experience with Laurie Anderson, Richard Barone, Solomon Burke, Donovan, the Fab Faux, Philip Glass, Letta Mbulu, Jessye Norman, Max Romeo, Carly Simon, Nancy Sinatra, Steely Dan, Sting, Peter Tosh, Bebe Winans, and more
  • Extensive studio experience singing commercials, industrials, and records, and doing voiceovers
  • Featured in Secrets of Voiceover Success, a book profiling top voiceover performers in the country
  • Served on the National Boards of SAG and AFTRA, the Recording Academy’s New York Chapter Board of Governors, and the Society of Singers New York Chapter Board
  • Private lessons with Joan Lader, Inez Matthews, and Frederick Wilkerson (voice); Helen Hobbs Jordan (musicianship); and Larry Moss (acting)
  • B.A., Queens College
In Their Own Words

"In the classes and labs that I teach, I'm trying to give the students what I know that they will need when they enter the professional work world. I'm not dealing with the theoretical, I'm dealing with real-life applications. I'm trying to give them real-life performance skills that I know work because these are the skills that I've learned over decades of doing this. So I'm very direct—with love! I expect it to be fun, but I also expect students to put a lot in, and I expect everybody in my class to move from point A to point B, to the next level. It really appeals to me to give them something that they can use and have them get it."

"My professional experience has been very eclectic. I've worked as a soloist, a background vocalist, and a voice announcer. When it comes to genre, I've done everything from the avant garde classical with Philip Glass to rock with Sting to singing duets with the reggae great Peter Tosh. I've sung in different languages, from the South African click language Xhosa to Japanese. And I think having an eclectic background allows me to easily relate to a range of students who have different interests. There really isn't any type of music I don't like; I find something to like in just about every genre. So I'm interested in seeing where everybody's at and where we can go within the confines of the subject I have to teach."

"I appear in the 2014 Academy Award–winning documentary Twenty Feet from Stardom, which explores the profound role background singers have played in popular music. As the first background singer to speak in the film, I had the honor of setting the tone. Since doing the interview for the film was a 'teachable moment' for me, I approached the process with the same honesty, warmth, energy, knowledge, and insight that I strive to bring to my classroom teaching."

"I'm having so much fun teaching at Berklee. I look forward to seeing my students, and I know that I'm really doing my job when they're excited to come to class and to prepare for it, and I see them progress. In my style labs, I say, 'Be prepared to exist in this class outside of your comfort zone. If you're within your comfort zone for the entire class, I'm not doing my job. My job is to take you out of your comfort zone so you can find a new comfort zone.' And the students are willing to go on that journey with me, so I'm honored, and enjoying every second of it."

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