Tell us about your childhood and the impact your family had on the Woman you are today?
I had a really great upbringing filled with a ton of love and adventure.
My Mom was in the Navy and my Dad worked for the Department of Defense so we were always on the move. New schools, new friends, new experiences, I even got to live in Egypt for a few years! While living in Egypt the junkyard was my favorite playground and I would make swings out of old hoses with the neighborhood kids who didn’t speak a lick of English. Somehow we were all great friends though. When you grow up in that kind of environment, it tends to make you pretty well rounded and open minded.
How did your military background influence your decision to pursue another path?
When you grow up in something, you tend to be influenced by it so the military was my chosen career path from early on.
“Get a degree, gain rank in the military and set yourself up for retirement.” – said common sense.
The closer I got closer to being shipped off to bootcamp though, the more I realized that it wasn’t what I really wanted. It was a great path for many, but deep down I knew it wasn’t for me.
So here I was in college, on my way to “degreed and stable happiness” and much to the surprise of my entire family……I dropped out.
I joined a band and dove head first into experiencing life fully. I explored many creative avenues and got to really know myself for the first time ever. I let my creative inclinations flourish and lead me wherever they may.
If I wasn’t singing, I was having fun in Photoshop making show flyers for myself and for my various bands. This was also the MySpace era and I began to fall in love with code.
The fact that I could bring my creative ideas to life online was so exciting to me. I would be up until the wee hours of the morning pimping out my profile page using HTML and CSS thanks to “Google schooling”.
Fast forward to today and I still don’t have a college degree, but my “hobbies” that I just did for the love of it now fully fund my life.
- I started a successful web design business with my hubby that hit 6 figures in year two
- We had 8 beautiful years with the business before selling it in 2018
- We sold it because the work I had been putting in after hours on my music career was finally paying off and able to sustain me financially
- My music reached heights I never could have imagined with fans from all over the world covering my original songs and telling me how my message and brand has touched them deeply
- I started an “inspired living” clothing line to help spread the message and importance of personal development as that’s what got me here (The Spirit Warrior Shop).
- And I also started a live performance workshop for aspiring singers in San Diego (The Ultimate Entertainer Workshop).
I don’t say all this to brag, because I’m certainly not financially rich (yet!) from all my endeavors, but I am fully supported financially in my music career and want anyone else out there reading this to know that it is totally possible for you too.
How has being an entrepreneur shaped your life?
I have learned so many valuable skills working for myself that help me immensely with not only my music career, but bringing my other ideas to life.
Working for myself has helped me to become a more confident woman, to dream big, to expect miracles. There were so many days in the early years of working for myself that were truly scary. A lot of top ramen noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner days if you know what I mean. When you’re just starting out you never know where that next dollar is going to come from or even how many dollars it will be. You have to be a strong minded and strong willed individual to go it on your own. I wasn’t that. Not even close. But I am now. Being an entrepreneur has helped me to navigate many intimidating situations in music and in life with more grace and tact. And luckily I’ve had my husband to share the journey with.
How did you overcome your own personal insecurities?
That’s still a work in progress for me. I’d say putting my focus on my WHY helped to alleviate a lot of the pressure.
I may not be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s ok. I’m here to inspire, to help, to be of service, to connect, to just be me in the only way that I know how. We all bring something unique to the table so comparison is just silly. Of course I’m not like “that one person”, because I’m me. The moment I stopped COMPARING so much and started REMEMBERING my purpose and my WHY, is when I became much more at peace with myself. After all, comparison is the thief of joy they say ;)
What advice do you have for people who want to become entrepreneurs?
I’d say a huge part of entrepreneurship is mindset.
Get that right and so much will fall into place. Read as many books in that area as you can because you’re going to need it. I cannot recommend “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz enough. It is truly a life changer. Especially if you’re not quite sure what route you want to take yet or are having doubts about your life path.
What advice do you have for other people who have a similar story and really want to strike out on their own and march to the beat of their own drum?
You just need to do it. Stop thinking about it, stop talking about it, stop mentally planning, just TAKE-THE-FIRST-STEP and DO IT. There will never be a perfect time. It will always seem scary. There is only now.
What is the hardest thing you ever had to do?
The hardest thing I ever had to do was to quit my job and pursue my first business full time.
My husband and I had just gotten laid off from our jobs and we were losing our first home as a result. It was the middle of the recession and being in the service industry, it hit us hard. It hit everyone hard. I had never seen so many empty houses on our block. As a last ditch effort we paid a law firm the last of our reserves (2k) to refinance our home so we could save it. That law firm went out of business and took all of our money.
It was truly scary times.
My husband wasn’t able to find new work right away and I had gotten another job as a server to keep us afloat, but I was completely miserable at it. I had finals coming up (I went back to school for web and graphic design), and in the middle of cramming for those I had to now learn which of the 500 Tequila’s went with which of the 500 tacos the restaurant served. It sounds harsh, because I always try to do my best, but I could really care less at that point. I had been a server for 5 years and it was eating away at my soul. My husband saw how busy, stressed and unhappy I was in this new position trying to hold our lives together and he told me to quit. He said he’d rather live in a box under a bridge then live another day of our existence at that point. So with no money to our names, a house in foreclosure and no idea of where we’d live next…….I quit.
1 month later my husband landed us our first website deal for 3k and our business grew every year since.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far on your path?
To always speak your truth.
Being in the business and music world, there are a lot of tough conversations that come up and a lot of tough decisions that need to be made. As long as you are authentic and true to yourself, no matter what the outcome, at least you can sleep at night knowing you didn’t hold anything back and stayed true to yourself.
What legacy do you want to leave behind?
This reminds me of this practice that I learned in the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Steven Covey. It challenges you to write your own eulogy for your own funeral. What would you want the speaker to say about you? I realize this is kind of morbid, but it is totally eye opening because it brings to light the things that you need to change in order for that eulogy to be true.
I’d like to be remembered for creating meaningful content; for being a catalyst for others to achieve their own level of personal greatness; for loving life with all the ups and downs that it brings and for loving people at their best and worst.
What final advice do you have for the audience?
Don’t be so serious. Have fun. Laugh. Travel. Love fully and unconditionally. Happiness is a choice, choose it daily.
Why don't you audition for one of those singing shows?!
3 times for Idol and once for The Voice.
At this point in my career, I’m having a blast carving my own path and doing things on my terms.
Those reality shows aren’t so much about finding a great singer as they are about ratings. My experience with idol was pretty disheartening and turned me off of the whole thing.
When you audition, you do so in front of the producers, not the famous judges. You have to go through several rounds of this in fact.
You audition in groups and they tell you on the spot if they’d like to keep you or not. In my group were some PHENOMENAL singers. I mean, “had me second guessing myself” type of talent.
There was one girl in our group however, who (bless her heart) didn’t know how to sing. After we all had our turn, to our surprise, she was the ONLY one who made it on to the next rounds.
Low and behold I saw her on episode 1 of American Idol getting laughed off the stage by Simon and the judges. It was SO SAD.
That’s just not something I want to be a part of.
In this digital age, we have so much more power over our careers than ever before. I’m confident that with some hard work and consistency, I can create a music career that I love.
Have you had voice lessons?
I’ve had about 5 lessons total between several teachers. It’s something I’d love to do, but being self funded, I can never really spring for it.
I did have a vocal teacher make me some custom warm-ups once and I love them!
I’ve used them for years. The warm-ups span 4.5 octaves so that I can really get a work out and make sure my range stays healthy, strong and agile.
I don’t do these NEARLY as much as I should, but when I do I can really tell the difference. I HIGHLY recommend doing warm ups at the very least if you can’t spring for lessons.
How long have you been singing?
And my first ever SOLO live performance wasn’t until I was a Freshman in High School. I sang Amor Prohibido by Selena at the school’s multi-cultural festival :p
I’ll never forget that day. After the festival people would stop me in the halls asking if that was really me. They often wouldn’t believe me and would ask me to sing on the spot!
How did you break into session singing?
It all started with how most cool things that happen to me start, with a Google search! :p
I was Googling around trying to find ways to make money singing and I stumbled across a site called AirGigs. It’s a site where you can put up a profile as a singer and people can order your services.
I discovered them in 2014 when they were just a tiny little startup. It was a bit slow going at first, but fast forward to today (2019) and I’ve done over 100 singing orders through that site. Pretty nutty!
Nowadays through networking and personal outreach I’ve landed some pretty sweet deals on my own, but that site is still a staple for my income streams.
If you too are interested in becoming a session singer, I created a couple of videos on the topic here.
How can I expand my range or learn to belt?
Well, I’m no vocal coach, but your voice is just like any other muscle. It grows stronger with use. For that reason, singing daily and doing scales are the top ways to strengthen and increase your range.
And when I say sing daily, you have to go into that belt range daily. Even if it’s not a very high belt. Just practice using the fuller aspects of your voice as much as possible.
After a while you’ll be able to reach higher and higher notes with more confidence.
Now some singers and voices are just simply not made for that range. Some singers have a naturally lower voice and shine in those deeper areas.
It’s important to find YOUR voice and play to its strengths.
I recommend getting a few professional lessons at first just so that you have a professional assessment and idea of where you’re at.
I don't have a lot of money, how can I find a producer to work with?
Social Media is your friend.
I’m a member of several groups on Facebook where producers hang out and I can’t tell you the amount of times I see opportunities pop up for producers looking to work with singers to create music.
You as a singer can also post a sample of your singing in these groups and let anyone know that you’d love to collab.
There is no shortage of music makers, producers, writers and the like wanting to work with singers. You just have to look a little.
Here are a few music groups you can join to find free collab opportunites:
- Vocalists Wanted
- World Wide Upcoming Artist & Music Producers
- MAKE POP MUSIC: Pop Producers and Songwriters
- Singers & Vocalists
- Singers, Vocalists & Musicians
- Vocalists & Singers
- Female Indie Musician Community
Now if you’re looking to hire someone, and need an affordable option, AirGigs is great for that.
Although a ton can be done digitally, there’s nothing quite like sitting in a room with a talented individual and making magic. So as soon as you can, I highly recommend saving up and paying to work with someone locally at least a few times so that you can have the experience and can feel the difference.
Can I hire you to help me?
I plan to do membership style coaching eventually through my Entertainment Company, but as far as one on one coaching, I don’t have anything like that set up.
I do have a Patreon page setup though and I spend a lot of time talking with my Patron’s about their goals. It’s something I just love to do any way. If you’ve “slid into my DM’s” asking music related questions then you’ll know this.
I’ll even end up in people’s websites helping them! I just can’t help it. Music and business is one of my favorite things to talk about.
I really need to set something up soon, and I will. For now though, feel free to become a Patron and email me any time!
Do you do live gigs?
These days it’s pretty rare.
I used to be a nearly full-time gigging musician, but I grew very tired of the routine. It was very long hours, lots of driving and a lot of singing the same songs over and over again.
For me, I get my kicks on the creation side of music more so than the showman side.
I do love me a really great gig or festival as there is nothing quite like leaving your heart and soul out on a stage for a live audience, but these days I make my money elsewhere in the music industry so that I can pick and choose which events I’d love to do.
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