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Okinawa Has a New Vision

By: Jena Maddalino

Date Posted: 2000-03-17

A new trio of talented vocalists have made an impressive entree onto the local musical scene. Three strong women with powerful voices have teamed up to offer island music lovers a taste of something different. The ladies sing a variety of tunes with styles ranging from R&B to Country. Vision - that is the name of their group - has already captured the attention of those looking for something unique.

Elena, Natasha and Bridget have all experienced the ups and downs of the music world. All three members of Vision are US military spouses who have had both good and bad experiences in their young careers. However, as talented vocalists they decided to create a vision for all spouses in Okinawa. “We decided on Vision as the name for our group because we want this experience to be positive,” Elena told Japan Update. “We are doing what we want to do, and using our talent to empower and, hopefully, inspire other women to have the courage do the same."

Elena comes from a family of musicians. As a young girl, she performed in Church choirs. In high school, she performed in musicals and was involved in the drama club which she says gave her the ability to be serious whenever the necessity arises. “When I arrived in Okinawa, I saw an ad for a Latin Singer. 4 bands later, I am exactly where I want to be - with Vision,” Elena says. “The Japanese have a great appreciation for music even if they don’t know the lyrics,” she adds, noting that most of their audience for now is predominantly Japanese.

Natasha also started performing at a young age in school plays and church. “I enjoy being a part of a trio because it is unique to Okinawa,” she told Japan Update. “We don’t just play R&B or Pop, we also play Latin and Country music. Our variety is what makes us popular because we can reach a wide range of people.”

Offering something for everybody is the trio’s philosophy, which gives them a great advantage over other local musicians. The group also focuses on picking music that is appropriate for each individual voice. “We have three individual and distinct voices that blend very well together,” says Bridget.

Bridget, who is also a nurse, was more of an athlete than musician as a child. “I started doing musicals in high school and college and I have also had a lot of experience singing in weddings.” When she decided to take a break from nursing, Bridget chose to do something creative again. She then started performing locally in the community theatre before joining the trio.

All three agree that Okinawa is the perfect place to showcase their talent. Covering songs from talents such as Whitney Houston, The Carpenters, Aretha Franklin, Christina Aguilerra, Sara Mclaughlin, Shania Twain, Jennifer Lopez, and so on; and playing a diversity of famous songs from the 60s to the early 21st Century, has had an impact on their success with the local population. Okinawa is also a unique opportunity for the trio, as most Japanese love American entertainment, particularly when it is brought to them by a quintessential American group featuring a Caucasian, an African American and a Hispanic female.

“Doors are starting to open for us and we have had invitations to perform in mainland Japan as well,” says Elena.

Currently, the ladies with a Vision sing at the Pescaderia in Chatan every Thursday night at 7:30 p.m., and at Sauce Live, Near Hamby Town every other Saturday from 10:00 p.m. The group’s management is currently negotiating with some major hotels for medium or long term entertainment contracts. Their future plans include performing at more locations on island, but for now, they say they are still striving for more experience and learning new music to improve their repertoire.

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