I don’t tell this story nearly enough. I was reminded of it the other day when my colleague, Jamie Young Swag Strategy was interviewing me for her show, “Luminous Entrepreneurs” and she asked me how I got into being a voice and performance coach. It’s a pretty kickass story, so I’m going to share it.
First of all, I owe a shout out to my mom, Jenny Sanchez, because she called it when I was a kid. She told me frequently as a teenager that I’d be an excellent teacher. I remember being so upset with her and saying that wasn’t being supportive of my dreams! Ha!!! Little did I know I would end up with a career teaching people how to sing. You see…
I BECAME A VOCAL COACH BY ACCIDENT.
For real. Ever since I was 5 years old and I saw Aileen Quinn on the big screen playing “Annie”, I knew I wanted to perform, just like she was doing. And I spent all my time and energy pursuing it.
I knew as a sophomore in high school what college I wanted to attend for musical theatre and designed my class schedule around meeting the bare minimum requirements to both graduate from high school and get into the college so that I could fill all the rest of my schedule with singing and acting classes. And then, midway through college, I discovered I was more serious than college allowed me to be, so I ended up at a conservatory in New York City where I happily flourished.
I worked professionally through college and my conservatory years and for many years after, and was loving every second of it.
BUT SOMETHING HAPPENED TO ME 20 YEARS AGO THAT COMPLETELY CHANGED MY LIFE.
I sang in a worship band back then and this teenager – an incoming freshman at the time – approached me to see if I would teach her to sing like me. Obviously, I was flattered, but I explained to Brittani Willey that teaching singing just isn’t something I do.
Every week. Until she wore me down. I finally agreed to do it.
- I decided I was doing this and made a game plan.
- I went into my room and took out a notebook, writing down everything I could possibly think of that I knew about how to sing.
- I pulled out the 1980s Casio keyboard I got as a kid to see if I could think of any exercises that would be useful.
- I pulled out my songbooks to see if there was ANYTHING in there that I could even play well enough to accompany her (I chose “Mr. Wonderful” which was one of the first songs I learned AND it’s in the key of C)
- I made up a cheesy brochure so she’d have something to give her parents so they’d know I wasn’t some crazy person.
- I called Brittani to schedule a time for our first lesson.
The day for the lesson came and I was so nervous. What if she didn’t learn ANYTHING? What if she laughed at how terrible I am at playing the piano? What if she already knew everything I had to teach her? What had I gotten myself into???
I decided I had to at least do this lesson because I said I would, and then it could be done.
I think you all know that’s not what happened. But the next three things that happened I could NEVER have predicted.
First, I had an absolute BLAST teaching this lesson. I couldn’t believe how receptive she was to what I was teaching her, how quickly she seemed to catch on to the technique I was asking her to try, and how proud she was of herself for being able to do it. I found myself after her lesson sitting in my car SOBBING tears of joy and regret. I felt intense JOY at what I had just achieved and how incredible it felt to help someone else do something I love to do so much. And I felt enormous REGRET for not knowing sooner that this was what I was meant to do with my life.
BUT THAT’S NOT ALL.
Brittani also had a pretty incredible experience and – without telling me ANYTHING – she marched her precocious little incoming freshman self into the Fine Arts Director’s office at her high school, handed him that cheesy brochure I made for her parents, and told him, “you need to hire her.”
I can’t make this up.
I got a call a day or two later from John Furrow, the Fine Arts Director of her school and proud recipient of one cheesy brochure created by yours truly. He told me Brittani had amazing things to say about me and that he should hire me. I was flabbergasted but agreed to come in for an interview.
A week later, I was the official voice teacher of the school with 40+ new students and the choir director of the select women’s ensemble, “Joyful Sound”.
And I never looked back. My business has changed SOOOOOOO much since then, and it’s not done yet, but because of the bold determination of a high school teen and my willingness to give it a shot, I’ve found my calling. Since then, I’ve helped hundreds of singers go on to achieve unbelievable success.
I can’t fully express how rewarding it is to help a performer do something they never knew they could do, and then see them go on to do something even bigger as a result.
This is a CRAZY time we’re all living in right now. I know some of you are trying to figure out what you’re going to do for a living now that the performance world has shut down. I didn’t become a coach because life circumstances forced me into it; I fell into it by accident, but I can tell you that I’ve NEVER regretted my decision to be a coach. I know how incredible it is to perform and I’m really sorry you don’t have those options available to you right now. But if you’re trying to figure out what’s next for you…
LET ME BE YOUR BRITTANI.
I could tell you all the millions of reasons you’ll be amazing at it and that you’ll feel better than you thought you ever could doing it, and I probably will at some point, but for now, just be curious about it and know that it’s possible. And that I’d love to help you figure it out.
Something else you’ll hear me say about it is that you’ll make more money doing it than you realize is possible. And right now, I know you need a solution like that. Even in the middle of this crazy pandemic, I managed to have a 5-figure month, not once but TWICE. It’s POSSIBLE.
Wanna learn how?
I made a cool blueprint of my entire strategy and I’d love to give you a copy of it.