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

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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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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In the last episode we learned the importance of producing our own work as actors. Well today's guest, Joel B. New, will show us that just because you build it doesn't mean people will come. After the hard work of creating, then comes the daunting task of producing and promoting it, getting others to take notice and support that work. Learn how Joel found unique ways to get the word out on one of his own musicals.

"Strong Hands" - performed by Ernie Pruneda
"The Fort" - performed by Marita Stryker

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Follow Joel - Website / Instagram / YouTube 

Joel's Birthday Concert - https://joelbnew.com/birthday

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Season 5 offers ways to connect with me and the guests as well as other 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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Sally Wilfert is a Broadway actress and an amazing vocalist who understands the rigors and demands of performing at the top of her game. In part one of my conversation with Sally, she and I discuss the difficulties, injuries, and self-doubts she’s endured. 

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Unlike other jobs like accounting, engineering, or even medicine, singing is uniquely personal, expressing parts of ourselves that may go unspoken or unknown at any other time except through the music and lyrics that we bring to the stage. But for Sally singing was something that she did in private, a secret enjoyment just for herself. As she slowly began to let others hear it, though, it changed not only that enjoyment but gave her added purpose as well.

Follow Sally - Website / Instagram / Twitter 

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Season 5 offers new ways to connect with me and the guests as well as new opportunities to learn and grow as an artist:

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

 

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

Other music from YouTube: "Unworthy of Your Love" from Assassins https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRD1OJDxC1k, "Anytime" by William Finn https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVLV654tUD4  

 

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Happy New Year to you! And welcome to the premiere episode of Season Five.

Today’s guest is Justin Guarini, who you probably know from American Idol but has done so much more and has a lot to teach us about becoming an artist, finding our own path, and realizing that fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Get Justin's book Audition Secrets or possibly win a signed copy of this book by becoming a member of WINMI as a Maker, Producer, or Artist. Sign up for one of these memberships by January 31, 2021, and one lucky winner will get Justin’s tips and secrets to auditioning. 

 

Follow Justin: Website / Instagram / Twitter

Join WINMI: Website / Supercast / Instagram / Twitter 

Why I’ll Never Make It is a Top 20 Theater Podcast on Feedspot 

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Season 5 brings with it a new ways connect with me and the guests and new opportunities to learn and grow as an artist:

All this and more can be found at the newly updated website: whyillnevermakeit.com 

Thank you for joining me for part one of my conversation with Justin Guarini. Come back for part two in just a couple of days.

All music used in the episode by Blue Dot Sessions and Borrtex is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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It's been one heck of a year, yet one arts group wanted to come together and make something to celebrate this season. They asked me to be a part of the event by hosting their Virtual Red Carpet. These interviews with the actors and creative team behind BroadwayMania's Holiday Special were first shown Thanksgiving weekend and led up to the hour-long Christmas program.

  • Amanda Varelakis, singer/director (1:51)
  • Sean Milas, singer (5:15)
  • Amber Dickson, singer (9:38)
  • Toby Blackwell, singer/writer (12:43)
  • Sadie McCurry, singer (17:46)
  • Scott Polovitch Davis, singer (22:04)
  • Gray Norton, singer/technician (26:59)
  • Cecy Treviño, singer/producer (32:45)

To watch these Red Carpet interviews on YouTube as well as the Holiday Special, go to: https://youtu.be/OyK_xT3tY98 

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The instrumental music in this episode: "Christmas" by AShamaluevMusic 

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After our conversation on the previous episode, Jaime talks about the process of voting on songs and albums for the Grammys, and then he answers the Final Five. He shares his love of Law & Order and his dream to work with Lin-Manuel Miranda as well as what he learns from those who are humble.

The time and expense needed to bring these guests and conversations to you each week is sometimes challenging but always rewarding. Please consider buying me a coffee to support this work that goes into each episode.

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For the next few weeks WINMI is going to be highlighting some amazing Hispanic artists, ranging from composers and dancers to actors and singers. And it's all in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month. 

In addition to these interviews I’ll be showcasing important creatives in Hispanic history. It’ll be a chance for us to learn about the wonderful artists who have made such an impact not only in Hispanic communities but to our nation as a whole. 

And so we begin Hispanic Heritage Month with Jaime Lozano, a native of Monterey, Mexico. As a composer his works have been produced Off-Broadway, regionally here in the US, and internationally in France, Germany, England, and of course his home country of Mexico. Jaime has also taken on the roles of arranger, music director, and orchestrator, in addition to adapting, producing, and directing the Spanish world premiere of Jason Robert Brown’s THE LAST FIVE YEARS in 2006 and SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD in 2005.

And it was around that time that Jaime came to New York to study at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. He's been on quite the journey and it's a fascinating story of an immigrant artist here in America.

Follow Jaime: Website / Instagram / Twitter 

Follow WINMI: Instagram / Twitter / Website 

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Music in this episode:

"Yellow Light District" by Lobo Loco.
"Kitty in the Window" by Podington Bear.
"Basketliner" by Blue Dot Sessions.
Savage, a musical by Tommy Newman and Jaime Lozano, performed and recorded at University of Alabama in Birmingham.
"Una Historia sin Final Concierto" by Jaime Lozano.
"Smooth Actor" by Podington Bear.
"Night Emotions" by Lobo Loco.
"Ayer" by Gloria and Emilio Estefan (Karaoke Track).

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