One of the most beautiful things in my life is my private studio. I struggle to express the extent of the joy I find in nurturing voices literal and figurative, and in building the confidence of the artists I serve. While this blog is new, the studio is not! So, I’d love to catch you up on some of the highlights from the past few years, and share my hopes for the near future.
Let’s work backward!
2017: Things soon to come!
As some of you may know, EM Vocal Studio recently moved from Murray, UT to Traverse Mountain, UT and we are LOVING the new location. The studio is full of natural light and beautiful colors and textures. Bonus: It is the best kind of reverb-y in here. We all sound amazing!
One of the challenges of this year has been finding new venues for all of our concerts (I spent two years slowly finding venues in our former location), but so far I’m really pleased with how things are going. I even have a surprise or two up my sleeve for some of the Fall Semester concerts. 🙂 🙂 🙂
But for now, Andrew and I are working on finishing our basement. I can’t wait to use this space for group lessons, concerts, and recording! We’re also excited to slowly start chipping away at our landscaping projects. I’m excited for our first outdoor Party Band Showcase on Friday, May 19th. Grilling, s’mores-making, music, and hanging out! It’s going to be so much fun.
2016: The Highlights
A lot of sad and difficult things happened in the world and in my family in 2016, but for EM Vocal Studio, it was such a completely amazing year.
We had six incredible concerts, and I am SO PROUD of all of the great risks that everyone took with their song choices, songwriting, recording . . . so many things. As always, we start the year off with our Jazz Dinner Concert – full meal and live professional jazz trio. In May, we have our Party Band Showcase in which students perform lead vocals, as well as background vocals, with keyboard, electric guitar, electric bass, and drumset. In the summer we have our Broadway Review, followed by our Singer-Songwriter concert in September. And we round the year out with our Acoustic Lounge Night (accompanied by keys, acoustic guitar, and percussion), and our Holiday Concert & Party!
I put together this short highlight reel of our 2016 concert, but it doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface! I had such a hard time deciding which clips to include in the reel. There were SO MANY great performances.
I am also simply thrilled by the wonderful group lesson guests we had in 2016. In August, we were privileged to hear from Dr. Jon Skidmore, professor of music psychology at BYU. He took us through some very helpful exercises for managing performance anxiety, and creating a healthy performer’s mindset. For this video, I grabbed a section of his class that I especially loved. Check it out to get some great tips from Dr. Skidmore!
You guys. I know you probably already feel overwhelmed by all of the cool things we did in 2016, but I have to tell you, there’s more. In December, Jenessa Smith (aka Goldmyth) joined us for a lecture concert in which she gave us a preview of her debut album, and talked us through her songwriting process, as well as some of her marketing and advertising strategies. Check out this video to hear some of Jenessa’s songwriting advice and to watch her perform two of her songs using her voice, her harp, and her loop pedal. So cool.
Featured Student Recordings:
Ok. So, now you know that we have a lovely new studio space, great concerts, and fabulous group lessons, but one thing I’ve kind of done a terrible job of sharing is that we also do studio recording! Here are just a few of my favorites from the past few years.
1. Other Side – Sammy M.
Everything about this track is 100% original! Sammy, age 10, took the lead in co-writing this song with me, then our friend Chris B. wrote and recorded all of the instrumental parts, and Sammy recorded the vocals. I am so proud of this little gal.
2. Piece by Piece – Lizzy K. (Kelly Clarkson cover)
For this one, we just used a commercially available karaoke track, then Lizzy recorded lead vocals on top. It’s simple, and so beautiful. Great job, Lizzy!
3. Heart’s Content – Charity B. (Brandi Carlile cover)
Charity actually recorded a 6-song EP as a surprise for her mom, and I love ALL of the tracks she recorded, but I am choosing this one to share with you. Charity recorded her gorgeous voice on top of another track made by Chris. This acoustic track is just so clean. I gotta be honest, I think I like it better than the original (don’t tell Brandi). 🙂
4. Almost is Never Enough – Amy M. (Ariana Grande cover)
This is another karaoke track recording, but Amy worked extra hard to layer a ton of background vocals both above and below her lead vocal line. Can I just say . . . background vocals are THE BEST! There is no such thing as excessive bgvs. I want all the bgvs. All the time.
Vocal Studio TV Appearances:
In the past few years, EM Vocal Studio has had a couple of fun little TV Appearances on KSL and Good4Utah. Two of the three are thanks to Thumbtack . . . and while I’m saying thanks to Thumbtack, let me also say that without this site/service, my studio might never have gotten off the ground after I moved to Utah from Texas. In the first two years I was here, over 90% of my business came via Thumbtack. So, if I haven’t said it enough times already, THANKS, THUMBTACK!
Here’s a video in which EM Vocal Studio is featured in a story about the new(ish) Thumbtack Customer Service Center in Sandy, UT. At the time of this story, I was one of Thumbtack’s most successful professionals in the state!
And this one is news coverage of an event in which Governor Gary Herbert is accepts a “Champion of Small Business” award from Thumbtack. I was included in a small group of successful small business owners who were invited to attend the ceremony . . . and you can see the back of my blonde head exactly three times in this video. #famous
This last video is my favorite of the three. Each Wednesday, KSL presents a little feature about a child in Utah’s foster care system. I think the hope is that these features will help the children get adopted into permanent, loving homes. Each child will be filmed doing something he/she loves, and Danielle loves singing! The producer for this segment had heard great things about EM Vocal Studio (thank you to whomever is responsible for that referral!), and asked if I would donate a lesson to Miss Dani. Of course I said yes! She was absolutely delightful, and I was thrilled to be able to work with her for that hour.
Sophia Amoruso refers to herself as a business artist – a title and a concept that I can’t get enough of. I feel so much the same way about the work I do. Of course, my medium is art, but I get so much of my creative fulfillment out of how I run my business. I love the idea of creating exactly the kind of work I want to be doing, and constantly reshaping that work to support the ways I’m changing as a person. I want my work to always challenge me, and I want it to always feel fresh and exciting. When I start feeling stale, I know I need to make some changes.
As I think about the ways this blog may be helpful to other creatives (business or otherwise), I keep coming back to this idea of filling up with beauty. If you don’t find beauty in your work, it’s time to get creative! I will continue to share examples of the things I find beautifully creative about my business, and I hope that it can help others to think outside the box and make your business beautiful in your own way.
Happy Beauty Building!