I have always been a singer. My parents say that I sang words before I spoke them. Funny enough, I was also an introvert who rarely spoke up in class. Something happened when I stepped onstage, though – the “real” me emerged. I knew it the first time I sang with a live microphone in the school talent show. Onstage, I was effortlessly outgoing with the energy of the audience propelling me onward. I felt like my best self. I felt powerful. Singing was my calling.
For me, making a living has never had to follow a cut and dried path. I knew becoming a starving artist didn’t appeal to me, but I wanted to stay open to what I thought a career in singing could look like.
For the majority of my twenties, I actively waited to be “discovered.” I took assistant-level day jobs in high places (The GRAMMYs, a celebrity vocal coach’s studio and so on) and waited for my moment. I was afraid to take the corporate career track, fearing it would pull me away from my vision of becoming a financially stable singer, songwriter and performer. I was part of a band and had a collection of original songs (a couple of them had even been licensed for placement in film and television). Still, it was not enough income to quit my day job. Futile meetings with independent labels and industry people left me feeling disempowered.
Then one day, I realized that the person I had been waiting for to pull me out of my perpetual girl friday gig and put me into a money-making music career was me.
I decided to branch out to see if vocal coaching was something that might resonate. The physical act of singing had always given me a high, but I realized that feeling could be separated from writing and performing. I apprenticed with my vocal teacher and began a rigorous instructor certification program. I taught my clients after work and on my days off. My studio management experience set me up with the know-how to begin running a a small side business of my own.
I’d been moonlighting as a vocal coach for a couple years when my lean in moment arrived. One of my colleagues decided to leave her private vocal studio to teach abroad. She had one person in mind to take over her full client roster: me. I’d have to leave my reliable day job, take on a three-hour commute, and hope that her clients would choose to stay on with me. If they didn’t, it would be challenging to even pay my rent.
I knew that this was it – my time to stake my claim and begin my life as a totally self-employed woman in music. So I went for it.
The old clients stayed and new clients filtered in. I was able to move my entire practice to the city of San Francisco, where I opened my dream studio. I’ve continued writing, recording and performing, and I spend my days getting paid to sing. What could be better than that?