Debbie Blank The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune
---- — Tori Roper is in a hurry.
The Chinese language major with a Spanish minor is in her third year at Indiana University, “but I am graduating at the end of this year, so I suppose that makes me a senior.”
Google the 21-year-old’s name and at least eight entries show up, not for academics, but for her original music.
The Batesville resident helped form Quote Unquote, a pop/rock band, exactly a year ago. After a self-titled debut with five tunes was released in March, the group’s latest EP, with six songs, became available a week ago.
She reports, “If I had to give this record a theme, I would probably choose uncertainty about the future. We chose the title ‘Clouded Crystal Ball’ because it illustrates the mystery we feel in regards to our future as a band. We all have a mutual dream worth chasing and, despite the unknown, we are excited to see where the future takes us.” According to Roper, “The highlight of the record for me personally is the intro track ... a simple piano ballad. Despite my appreciation for all of the other full band songs, I believe there is something special about the simple combination of voice and piano.”
In addition to Roper, bandmates include Vincennes University students Zach Chaney, Bedford, and Kaleb Wood, Vincennes; and Cameron Gregory, Evansville. She recalls, “For this particular record, the writing process usually began with me writing the song on my own with simple chords to support my vocal part. From there, I removed all of the instrumentals from my recording and then sent my idea to the guitarist. This allowed for me to write a vocal part without any restrictions and then also gave Zach more creative wiggle room for his part.”
The daughter of Dr. Jerry and Terri Roper observes, “At any point in time we can be working on over 10 songs – or more!” So choosing the songs on which to focus became the challenge.
Last summer the musicians recorded videos of three of the tunes, one in Greenwood, the others closer to Batesville, including the Hillindale Commons woods. The videos will be released one at a time on the band’s YouTube channel.
Roper recounts, “The guitarist and I met and wrote music together for the first time in mid-October of last year.” In that session, they completed writing a whole song. “It was so bizarre how quickly it came together. It was obvious we had great writing chemistry and we both knew we wanted to continue working together immediately. From there, we started to recruit a drummer, keyboard player and bassist.” She explains, “Our band does not necessarily like to choose one overall leader; we work as a team. Everyone has different responsibilities that are all separate, but equal.”
Vocally, the ambitious young woman came late to the party. “I have always enjoyed singing. Throughout grade school, I participated in the various choirs offered in the Batesville school system, and I always loved it. However, my voice did not truly start to blossom and show promise until I was in college. I started to take vocal lessons with various coaches at the IU Jacobs School of Music, and my singing ability took off almost faster than I could keep up with. It was so exciting and unbelievable ...”
The 2011 Batesville High School graduate says, “If I had to guess, I should probably thank my dad for the hereditary aspect of my music abilities .... However, I have found that work ethic is truly just as valuable as natural music capability in the industry and I inherited my determination and perseverance from both of my parents.”
Can Roper make music a career? She vows to keep pushing forward and see. “Music is my dream and I channel all of my energy into making it a reality.” Personally, “my goal is to release a solo project record around wintertime.” In addition to vocals, her primary instrument is piano. She can also play the ukulele and a little bit of guitar. The entertainer confesses, “I want to learn to play the harp more than anything.”
Another goal is for Quote Unquote to participate in a large-scale tour this summer.
Even with all of these musical aspirations and her university studies, she still has me time. “I really love to cook.I love cats so much that they are basically a pastime of mine and I recently started up a new hobby – perfume making.”
Ten years from now, when Roper thinks about her band experience, she predicts, “I will remember each day being a thrilling learning experience spent with best friends by my side. A band is like a family; we all bonded through the music.”
When asked if Quote Unquote would consider performing a show near Batesville, she answers, “Absolutely .... I would definitely enjoy a hometown show. I would love to give everyone in our town the chance to witness in person what we all work so hard on.”
“I just really want to let everyone know in Batesville that we appreciate the support more than I can explain. I have no idea where I will go, but I know where I came from, and it is very comforting to feel encouraging vibes from our small town. So thank you.”
Debbie Blank can be contacted at email@example.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.
More about the band • Quote Unquote's Facebook page can be found at www.facebook.com/quoteunquotemusic. Its music is on iTunes and Spotify, search for Quote Unquote.