CANVAS REBEL: Meet Mia Suzanne Walker


We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Mia Suzanne Walker a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.

Mia Suzanne, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today The more we talk about good leadership the more we think good leadership practices will spread and so we’d love for you to tell us a story about the best boss you’ve had and what they were like or what they did that was so great?

The best boss I ever had was a man named Joe Aldrich. I had just come out of a previous set of job environments that had left me rattled and susceptible to fear of constant failure and inability to perform well. Being hired by the new company and working under Joe was a mind opening experience. He was the wind in my sails. Every new thing I learned he encouraged me and raises were a regular occurrence as compared with a lot of companies today that just do a cost of living increase which barely covers the increase in healthcare coverage much less anything else. If I made a mistake, he showed me how easy it was to fix it and not to worry about it. The atmosphere at that company was so encouraging and easy going it was like working from home.

Mia Suzanne, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?

After raising four children and retiring from the corporate world, I knew I wanted to do something with music but wasn’t sure what it was going to be. A friend of mine suggested joining the adult band at School of Rock and learning to play guitar. That was quite a trick for an “old dog” to learn at 51 years old. Within a year, I was inspired to start writing songs and found myself going to the keyboard (only had lessons a few years as a child) to write there as well using the guitar chords to help. I also started the business Suzanne’s Band (also a Veteran-owned business) so I could begin to record these original songs. Within two years I had released an EP, a holiday song and an album. A year after that I was releasing another holiday song and another album along with being nominated into the Grammy organization. Suzanne’s Band is divided into two aspects. Live performances are solo, duo, trio or full band shows and can be anything from covers of the Beatles to Harry Styles and everything in between in genres of pop, country and rock. Because there is such a variety of decades and genre options, clients can “dial in” a more personalized show experience if needed especially in cases of funerals, weddings, birthday parties, etc. where a more specific decade or style of music is needed. Original songs fall in the Americana category of pop, blues, rock and country and are often included as well. The other aspect of Suzanne’s Band is the production of original material. A selection of studio musicians are used for recording sessions. Songs tend to be non-genre specific and focused more on the importance of self-worth and introspective ideals–songs with heart! I want my lyrics to be understandable and easily heard so that the listener takes them to heart and is encouraged. One of the comments I received from the latest Grammy considered release Ice and Fire, the album, was that the listener wanted to hear more. They wanted the story to continue!

Does your business have multiple or supplementary revenue streams (like a ATM machine at a barbershop, etc)?

I’m the type of person that definitely believes in the “having more than one egg in your basket” philosophy. As a musician and business owner, I knew that there would be down times and some ebb and flow with finances and I needed to look at multiple income streams. As a musician, gigs are the number one way you receive straight income. Unfortunately, there are some months where the weather is not conducive to outdoor gigs especially or venues are struggling like in January right after Christmas when there’s always a down time event. By creating and distributing original music, it creates a situation where regular royalties can be a great source of added income. Having a You Tube channel and getting revenue off ads which appear during music videos is another source. Having merchandise available to sell during shows or online through the website such as t-shirts, mugs, CD’s, etc. is also helpful. When original music is distributed through all the streaming platforms and sites, it provides an opportunity for income through downloads and streams.

Let’s talk about resilience next – do you have a story you can share with us?

Trying to book gigs has been the hardest thing about being a musician. Phone calls result in requests to just email someone. Emails turn into “no response”. Physically cold calling on venues seems to be the best way but can be draining on time, energy, gas budget, etc. More often than not, it is still difficult for women to get gigs over men. 90% of what is booked goes to male fronted bands or male solo acoustic artists. These incidences can be daunting. I keep chipping away at this iceberg though focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel of that one vendor that just might say yes.

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Original article: https://canvasrebel.com/meet-mia-suzanne-walker/

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