Who: Nora York, New York vocalist and composer.
System: Before a show I try and do some yoga, I do my digital pranayama and I take a bath, if I can. I like a bath. And then I usually try and do some kind of meditation. I like to apply my makeup while listening to (the late) Irish tenor John McCormack. I listen to the stuff he recorded with just piano, not with orchestra.
Why John McCormack? He has the most clear emotional delivery of singing and I find him incredibly inspiring. Songs like, “Off to Philadelphia in the morning…”
And then sometimes I’ll listen to Jimi Hendrix.
That’s quite different. And now that I’m blind, well, older, I have to wear glasses. But I don’t like to wear them for the stage. So I apply my contact lenses, I have special ones for the stage which are bifocal. And it takes me a really long time to put them in.
How long have you been wearing them? I convinced the Chinese optometrist to give them to me about three years ago.
Three years is kind of a while? I don’t perform all that often! So every time I do I have to go through this intense process. I have to lay out the paper, then I have to wash the little contacts and make them like a rice bowl. They explained to me in Chinatown, “Not like a plate, like a rice bowl!”
Do you do anything the night before? Before I go to bed, I always put cream on my hands, my elbows and my neck. I have to oil it up.
What kind of cream do you use? Well lately I’ve been using a tiny bit of calendula oil with a little rose water. I put that on my face, my neck, then I put thick stuff on my hands and elbows. I met the Mayflower Madam once, Sydney Biddle Barrows, and she told me a woman has to take care of her hands because it’s the most telling part of her age. I met her at a party, she was slathering sunscreen on her hands. And I wear this very peculiar Nepalese scarf around my neck. Every night. I call it my neck rag. And if I can’t find it my husband will get out of bed and help me find my neck rag, because I can’t sleep without it. Even in the summer. It’s a diva thing.