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.


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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Last week on the podcast I spoke with an acting teacher (Terry Knickerbocker) about techniques and the creative process for us actors. Well, this week a publicist will guide us through the business side of our profession, and how best to promote and grow our careers, not letting others and especially ourselves stand in our way. 

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Back in March 2021 I appeared on a podcast called sing dance act thrive hosted by PR and marketing coach Diane Foy. Other guests of that podcast have included Akon, Bif Naked, Timbaland, and Broadway life coach and former WINMI guest Bret Shuford. And I enjoyed being on her podcast so much, I invited her to join me here and share her vast knowledge and experience in the entertainment industry.

The 6 C’s Roadmap to Book Gigs & Make Money

  1. Clarity - laying your personal vision and professional goals
  2. Confidence - finding motivation and acknowledging your skill, strengths, and weaknesses
  3. Captivate - evaluating your personally, exploring your story, and embracing your image (Big Five Personality Test,
  4. Competitive Advantage - researching those who have the career you want as well as what sets you apart, figuring out your business and artistic audiences, and what other sources of income can come your way
  5. Content Creation - sharing your personal and professional stories systematically yet authentically, making sure your brand is consistent across all platforms
  6. Communication - finding your target audience and how to engage with them, interpersonal and business/media skills

Are You A Multipotentialite? A TED Talk On Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling

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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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Carrie Bernans is the perfect person to kick off Women's History Month. She is a strong individual who knows who she is, what she wants, and usually how to get there. That’s not to say it’s been all smooth sailing for her, either personally or professionally, but she never lost her faith or belief in what’s possible.

She isn’t just an actress, she’s also trained in martial arts, stunt work, and body movement in addition to theater. Growing up she not only performed in plays and dance recitals but also competed in track and field. She’s been a world traveler and now speaks six different languages. There is simply no way to pigeonhole Carrie into this box or that genre. And it is this variety in her life and her work that has created so much opportunity for her, particularly landing roles in Black Panther and Avengers: Endgame.

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

Why I’ll Never Make It is a Top 25 Theater Podcast on Feedspot 

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


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In part two of my conversation with Brie Eley, she talked about her latest project that has been such a mountaintop experience for her and we get into her organization that promotes and supports black actresses, providing them with opportunity and community but also showcasing the vast diversity among these black actresses.

Topics discussed:

Any actresses interested in learning more about Here and Ready and how to build a profile, head to the Actor Portal: Here and Ready Talent Database for Black Actresses 

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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 

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


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This interview was conducted back in August 2020, hence the reference to my air conditioner. Tony also mentions his episode with Lea Salonga, which has since been released.

He goes on to rant a bit about podcasting and getting interviews, and we discuss online classes from Domestika and General Assembly. And once again, the title of this podcast comes under the microscope.

Take Tony's Digital Wellness Survey, a quick self-assessment of your online presence and learn more about his classes and seminars at


As always, thank you for supporting and donating to WINMI. I couldn't do this without you! Sign up for the monthly newsletter or reach out to me, I'd love to hear from you!

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When it comes to our lives and our careers, perhaps no shift has been more dramatic or significant as our increase in time online and on our phones. The biggest driver of this is social media. Digital strategist Tony Howell pays another visit to the podcast as we talk about branding, online presence, and our use of social apps.

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Tony first appeared on the podcast back in season two. Since performing together on a national tour, he has left the physical stage behind and now helps us artists on the virtual stage, which in this pandemic has grown to be even more important. What I love about Tony’s approach is that it isn’t about tricks and filters and quick fixes for our social media lives. He takes a very personal path to growing and connecting with followers, helping us become a unique presence both online and offline.

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This is the first episode in a new series on the podcast: Bettering Ourselves, Bettering Our Careers. And today’s guest provides a great example of both - Lisa Goldberg, Owner of LSG Public Relations.
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Lisa represents actors, writers, directors, and choreographers both nationally and internationally, who have won Emmys, Golden Globes, Grammys, and Tony awards. She’s also represented companies and charities as well. But she hasn't always been talking about other performers. When she first came to New York, she was a dancer herself. Pounding the pavement and putting herself out there.
In this episode, she gives some good tips you can use even in a pandemic, ways that you can put yourself out there, network with others, and find projects to stay busy.

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Season 4 Survey:

I first got to know Roberto when putting together the Season Three opener with Caroline Bowman. He had taken beautiful photos of her as she was preparing for the National Tour of Disney's FROZEN. I wanted him to come on the show to share his experiences and insights on making the best headshots possible. So get ready to take some notes. 

Little did I know, though, the backstory and struggles he's been through. From a family unwilling to accept his sexuality and being homeless in NYC to the "casual racism" he has encountered in the industry. Roberto really opens up and shares an enlightening story that can both inspire our craft and push us to change the underlying biases still present in theater. 

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When it comes to the performing arts and certainly to dance, there are few people more worthy of admiration, of inspiration and imitation than Alvin Ailey. He was both uniquely gifted and qualified to tell the African-American experience which he lived and saw and reacted to through the art of dance. 

If you follow me or the podcast on social media, you know that I’m a white man who also grew up in the South. I was certainly witness to and heard tinges of racism growing up, but was fortunately sheltered for the most part from those who held such a deep-seeded hatred. A bigotry that Ailey knew first-hand. Growing up in the South, he had his own struggles with self-esteem due to the acts of racial violence so prevalent in those formative years.
Within the theater, we have playwrights and lyricists who can put difficult feelings and hard lessons into words. They show us parts of humanity that can be both glorious and despicable. But theater is not with us right now, the stage is silent. And so in the last few days, in light of the events that led to George Floyd‘s death and its aftermath, I have looked for and listened to past voices for both understanding and action, comfort and courage. 
One of my most treasured experiences and memories of being here in New York City is getting to watch the Alvin Ailey American dance concerts each winter and summer. They consist of powerful and moving performances by amazingly talented dancers. And so it was only natural that my thoughts would go to the stories and emotions told through the pieces that Alvin Ailey choreographed himself, namely his iconic Revelations, which was inspired by his involvement within the Southern Black church. In fact, all of his work came forth from the people and places and experiences of his life. 
People and choreography discussed: 

Videos and interviews used in the making of this episode:


The time and expense needed to compile and edit this epiosde was at times challenging but ultimately rewarding. Please consider buying me a coffee to support this work that goes into each episode. 

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Music used in this episode:

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