Performing Arts

Weekly conversations and insights on the fine line between setback and success in the performing arts. Fellow creatives share their own journey as artists and the lessons learned along the way with host Patrick Oliver Jones, an actor who knows first-hand the ups and downs we all face.

Episodes

As the Olympics head into their second week, it’s been a great reminder of the lessons we as artists can learn from these Olympians.

Remember the episode with Sally Wilfert? She reminded us singers how we are small muscle athletes. And anyone who’s been through a tech rehearsal process knows what a marathon can feel like and striving to reach the finish line.

Mindset and mental health are also so important. Athletes like Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka are recent examples of how competition and especially expectation can wear down even the best performers.

In November 2020, WINMI did a five-part series called "Bettering Ourselves, Bettering Our Careers" and in the last episode of that series I spoke with Kristen Hetzel. She is a Team USA silver and bronze medalist in the duathlon (which is running and cycling) and she's also an actress, model, personal trainer, motivational speaker, and holds a doctorate in physical therapy.

Today’s episode is a rewind back to my conversation with Kristen. She shares her secret to getting it on the field and how she overcomes what stands in her way. Most importantly, Kristen gives a lot of insight into how the two worlds of sports and acting are similar and why the discipline and lessons of one can help the other.

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Why I’ll Never Make It is a Top 25 Theater Podcast on Feedspot, and is also a part of Helium Radio Network and a member of the Broadway Makers Alliance

 

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When it comes to theater we all know Broadway and the big lights of New York City. There’s also organizations like the public or playwrights horizons that present notable off Broadway productions as well. But for the most part stage work is done by small to midsize theaters across the country some bring in equity Actors but a lot of them don’t. They are simply gathering together actors, directors, and designers to put on a show to entertain and engage local audiences. 

Well, the music industry is much the same way. There are the A-list stars that go on the Tonight Show and sign record deals with Sony or Motown records. But most of the music being produced in America is done by smaller independent artists who simply love the joy of performing and songwriting. Sydney Irving is someone who was born to sing and perform, you can hear it from the moment you press play on any one of her five albums. As a native of Syracuse New York, Sydney’s first album was released when she was only 14 and her latest is an EP that just came out in May. And last year she was twice named artist of the year by two different organizations.

Being a teenage female singer songwriter, it’s probably no surprise that she looks up to Taylor Swift and was inspired by her to pick up the guitar and start writing music. But Sydney‘s influences don’t stop there. She’s into Barnes Courtney, post Malone, and Ryan Adams. But also surprisingly she pulls a lot of influence from older artists Like AC/DC, the doors, and her current favorite Tom Petty. 

We will certainly be talking about those influences and how they’ve impacted her own singing and songwriting. And you’ll even get to hear a song off of her latest EP all I need is you at the end of this episode. But first we talk about the early success that she’s had in her career and the hard work it took to get her there as well as her disregard for social media and why she prefers other ways to connect with friends, family, and her fans. 

After getting a chance to meet and talk with her I certainly count myself among one of her fans, and I’m sure by the end of this conversation you’ll be one too.

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Why I’ll Never Make It is a Top 25 Theater Podcast on Feedspot, and is also a part of Helium Radio Network and a member of the Broadway Makers Alliance

Music in this episode by Blue Dot Sessions is used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

"All I Need Is You" by Sydney Irving is also used with permission.

 

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During this past year as Covid wrecked the theater scene, ending so many shows and seasons, Andrew Lloyd Webber was doing his best to bring musicals back to the West End. And in much the same way, although for very different reasons, it was Lloyd Webber in the 1980s who was bringing the modern musical theater to Germany and the rest of Europe with grand spectacles like Cats.

At that time Sabine Kvenberg was a stage actress at the very start of her performing career. So of course when Cats came along, she jumped at the chance to audition for it. And for most of her career, music and musical theater has been at the forefront. She's recorded original music, performed in various touring productions in Europe, and also found plenty of work on screen as well.

Since moving to America, though, she has taken an active role in coaching and mentoring current performers as they navigate their careers, both on stage and on screen. She’s also a public speaker, an author, and even has her own YouTube channel and future podcast. Which is actually how we met, through a podcasters forum led by another former WINMI guest, Dave Jackson

Secrets on How to Succeed in Showbiz - A Practical Workbook for the Future Star (by Sabine Kvenberg)
 

In our conversation today, Sabine recounts the lessons she has learned in front of audiences as well as in the audition room. She gives us a deeper understanding of the importance of mindset and preparation when it comes to our professional and personal lives. It is this wealth of creative wisdom that she imparts to her students, and thankfully will be sharing it with us as well. 

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Why I’ll Never Make It is a Top 25 Theater Podcast on Feedspot, and is also a part of Helium Radio Network and a member of the Broadway Makers Alliance

Music in the episode by Borrtex is used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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Communication and interacting with each other through words is really at the heart of what it means to connect and relate to other people. This is even more clear as actors and writers in the way that we tell stories and share experiences. Clear and understandable communication is a vital part of the performing arts. We do this through dance, visual media, physical gestures, and other ways, but most importantly though language. 

For Damian Thompson, this of course has been an essential part of his career, from Shakespeare productions like MacBeth and King Lear, to contemporary plays like Angels in America and Little Rock. He even wrote and starred in his own short film called Black?

But it hasn’t always been easy for him to communicate verbally , especially in auditions and cold readings. As a young child he suffered from a speech disorder that affects approximately 3 million Americans speakers, and that is stuttering. 

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And so in today’s conversation we talk about things that Damian has had to overcome. We even get into the importance of not only diverse but accurate representation within the arts. But we start of with Damian sharing how his stuttering and Martin Luther King‘s “I Have a Dream" speech eventually led him into theater…with a little help for Dawson’s Creek. 

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Why I’ll Never Make It is a Top 15 Theater Podcast on Feedspot, and is also a part of Helium Radio Network and a member of the Broadway Makers Alliance

Music in the episode by Hyson is used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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in many ways today’s episode is almost a masterclass from beginning to end in how to bridge the gap between being artist and an entrepreneur. Ashley Danyew is a musician and educator who shares how she has had to branch out in many different directions to build both an enjoyable and sustainable career. 

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Even before the pandemic, the life of any artist was one of constant change. Times when you have more work than you know what to do with and other long stretches of time where you have to take other side jobs just to keep going. For centuries the term "jack of all trades" has been used to describe an individual who knows a variety of skills and is able to bring these disciplines together in a practical and ideally profitable manner. In more recent years, though, “jack of all trades” has become synonymous with another term: multi-hyphenate, especially when it comes to actors and other artists who branch out beyond their main creative focus. But in my conversation today with Ashley Danyew, we will be talking about yet another term: the portfolio artist

A few years ago The Guardian wrote about the need for more portfolio musicians. The article says, “As 21st-century professional practitioners, a musician must not only excel as a performer, but also as a teacher, leader, and creative collaborator across a range of styles and genres.” It goes on to say that artists and musicians are increasingly engaging with people, places and digital technology, producing all sorts of environments for creation and performance, with an ever-greater blurring of boundaries between artforms.

Now, in addition to all this artistic creativity, we must also be entrepreneurs who thrive as much on the business side as we do the performance. That of course can be much easier said than done. Especially during times like this past year with the pandemic. Ashley even had her own devastating setback when she lost her voice and had to learn how to just speak and sing again. Through that experience and others, Ashley learned how important it is to pivot throughout our careers and find work in a variety of way. And so in today’s episode she shows through her own experiences as a teacher, musician and performer how each of us can blend the creative and corporate halves of our career together, in a more seamless and sustainable way.

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Why I’ll Never Make It is a Top 25 Theater Podcast on Feedspot, and is also a part of Helium Radio Network and a member of the Broadway Makers Alliance

Music in the episode by Borrtex and Podington Bear is used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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Well, here we are at the third and final installment of my young artist series. And it could be argued that I’ve saved the most prolific artist for last. As both a performer and writer, Joshua Turchin has crammed a lot of experience into his very young career. Whether it’s on stage at the Hollywood bowl or a national tour OR composing his own award-winning musical OR Music directing his weekly cabaret series, Joshua certainly stays busy. Oh yeah, he also has school and homework to deal with as well.

And so in the conversation you’re about to hear we’ll talk about the many facets of his creativity, and how he learned to play 11 instruments and compose his first musical at the age of 11 called The Perfect Fit. The New York Times reviewed his musical, saying "Joshua Turchin proves his worth as a composer, actor and a book writer, delivering a richly layered show about the lives and loves of showbiz preadolescents."

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I have to admit it’s artists like Joshua that make me realize I haven’t done as much with my own career as I could’ve or should’ve. That being said, we can all learn a thing or two from this teenage musical tour de force. Joshua is a beautiful light with a never-ending positive attitude, whose smile and spirit are definitely contagious. 

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Why I’ll Never Make It is a Top 25 Theater Podcast on Feedspot, and is also a part of Helium Radio Network and a member of the Broadway Makers Alliance

Incidental music in the episode by Chad Crouch is used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

 

 

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When it comes to actors, we really are part of a family and community with one another, and no matter how long or how short a time we’ve been in this business, there’s always something we can learn from each other. I mean that's really the basis of this podcast, and today’s guest is a perfect example of this.

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For the most part Chloe Noelle is just your average teenager, who loves games, movies, and time with her friends. But Chloe‘s first big acting job came on the huge hit show TRUE BLOOD. And while it was certainly a big juggernaut for her career, in today’s episode she shares how it came with expectations of what kind of actress she should be.

In this episode, we discuss the ups and downs of her young career and how she continues to grow with each new role and performance. In addition to TV, she’s done classic musicals, had her own segment on the morning news show, and has even performed stand-up comedy for Comedy Central. Chloe has certainly done a lot in the last 10 years and shares with us what she’s learned during that time as well as the sometimes difficult journey it’s been. 

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Why I’ll Never Make It is a Top 25 Theater Podcast on Feedspot, and is also a part of Helium Radio Network and a member of the Broadway Makers Alliance

Music in the episode by Kai Engel and Blue Dot Sessions is used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

 

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Being a coach and leading master classes has been something I truly enjoyed doing. Imparting my experience and insights to students and watching them have those a-ha moments and discovering something new about themselves or their own skills and talents. But sometimes it’s good to flip that around and ask those just starting out their career what THEY have learned so far and where THEY see not only themselves going in this career but where the industry is going as a whole. So for the next three episodes I’m going to be talking to young artists about what they’ve discovered along their own journeys.

And I begin today with actor, writer, director, and producer Alex J Dean, who is actually graduating from film school this month. What a time to be starting an arts career, huh? But as you listen to our conversation I think you’ll recognize that he has a pretty good head on his shoulders that will enable him to navigate these very strange and tumultuous times.

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Alex started out as an actor on stage and on screen, and was co-host of the award-winning Nerdtabulous series. Even in real life he has embraced the nerd moniker, as a fan of Star Wars, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Japanese anime. So it should come as no surprise that Alex has found a real home behind the camera as a director and writer, creating worlds and stories from his own imagination. His final thesis project for college was a horror anthology film, with plans to release it later this summer or early in the fall under his own production company Penny Arcade Pictures.

So suffice it to say, Alex loves to stay busy and immerse himself and creativity and production. But as you and I know this is certainly a tough time to get started in the arts field, and that is where we begin our conversation today.

Follow Alex - IMDB / Instagram 

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Why I’ll Never Make It is a Top 25 Theater Podcast on Feedspot, and is also a part of Helium Radio Network and a member of the Broadway Makers AllianceMusic in the episode by Borrtex is used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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In this past year, as most actors and artists were forced to stay at home, we found new ways to keep creating. The most obvious is the explosion of zoom readings and productions of both new and existing works. Others discovered this medium of podcasting, and in just one year the number of podcasts doubled.

But in today’s episode, in honor of Pride Month, I’m talking with two women who set out to explore a relatively new art form, the podcast musical. Ellie Brigida and Leigh Holmes Foster are the creative force behind The Flame musical. It's the story of two women -- Jamie, a queer bar owner, and Sam, the woman selling the building that the bar inhabits -- and the inevitable sparks that end up flying between them

Follow Ellie | Leigh | The Flame

And at the end of this episode I play one of the songs from the first episode of The Flame: "Keep It Lit"

Lead vocals: Jenn Colella as Jo, Ellie Brigida as Jamie, and Leigh Holmes Foster as Heather

Ensemble vocals: Dayna Arnett, Briana Bonilla, Leesa Charlotte, Benjamin Doncom, Ashton Grooms, E. Maloney, Quince Mobley, Liz Mongrello, Sydney Nicholson, Vico Ortiz, Dana Piccoli, Saria Schuyler, Mickie Rose Wadsworth

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Just some of the ways to connect with WINMI as well as opportunities to grow as an artist:

Why I’ll Never Make It is a Top 25 Theater Podcast on Feedspot, and is also a part of Helium Radio Network and a member of the Broadway Makers Alliance

Music in the episode by Borrtex is used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

 

 

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This week I'm sharing a conversation I had on another podcast called Blatantly Honest. At the end of this episode I also talk about the recent survey and the need for a reassessment of WINMI Podcast.

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Makaila Nichols is the founder of the Blatantly Honest Foundation. She is also a national speaker, podcaster, and best-selling author of Blatantly Honest: Normal Teen, Abnormal Life. In her book, she shares her personal struggles with issues teens may encounter such as: bullying, body image, sexual assault, peer pressure, and more. 

To reach an even larger audience, Makaila has a podcast series that focuses on changing the stigmas behind teen social issues. She is able to accomplish this by chatting with celebrities, influencers and experts about their own struggles and triumphs.

Follow Makaila - Website / Instagram / Twitter 

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Just some of the ways to connect with WINMI as well as opportunities to grow as an artist:

Why I’ll Never Make It is a Top 25 Theater Podcast on Feedspot, and is also a part of Helium Radio Network and a member of the Broadway Makers Alliance

Music in the episode by Borrtex is used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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