This episode was originally published on the Profitable Musician Show.
Whitney Nichole from Songbird Studios and the Creator of The Singing / Straw is a powerhouse. She has done so much as a musician and entrepreneur. She has always been a singer. Her parents were very supportive for her music but also grounded in reality enough to advise her to have a real job. She thought to become a lawyer, while always singing on the side, but when she started working at a law firm as a paralegal, she was feeling a little unfulfilled. She took a pause and ended up doing a lot of gigging and started a band in New York. She released an album, then moved to California, and started teaching voice and also worked on her first debut album. She toured, grew her teaching business which eventually led to Songbird Studios.
Growing up, she was singing all the time but didn’t really study voice in a traditional sense. She felt that lessons aren’t for her.
When she started teaching and working with students, she immediately realized that it was something she was meant to do and she was passionate about. It all happened while she was also doing her first full-length album. She remembers feeling like, “This is even more powerful that being onstage and sharing my music.”
When Whitney first moved to the Bay area from New York, she had a handful of students she loved working with. She would teach during the day and perform during evenings. She taught about bringing in the professional musicians she went on tour with and set up a whole rock show where all her singers perform 1 or 2 songs for each other.
Immediately, she saw the magic of the students connecting with one another and meeeting one another. That is also when she saw the limit of being only one teacher. After some time, she started bringing on teachers and rebranded to Songbird Studios from her own pesonal teaching. She learned a lot about the type of teachers she wanted to bring on. Through the years, she feels appreciative and grateful for the incredible team that Songbird Studios has become. They have several managers and teachers who have stayed with them for several years. They have a strong core group of people who care about what they do.
Whitney herself has done every job at her studio — from administrator to front desk work. She has learned to delegate, expand and create new ways, while still very involved in a way that she can trust her team.
Their studio has three physical locations in San Francisco. They have a hybrid model of in-studio and online lessons. She never would have gone online until she had to do it. Whitney used to teach five days a week, but now, as they produced the Singing / Straw, she maintained a day and a half a week of teaching.
She also took a hiatus when she did a course launch for Love Your Voice Course to give it 100% of her attention. Her course was born because she thought, “I want to work with these singers more and how can I help them? I don’t have time to do one-on-ones with all of them. The Songbird only has so much capacity so what can I do?” Moving to a course format was what I thought, “This is the answer. This is how I can reach more people and help more singers. Teach them how to use The Singing / Straw and then teach them how to love their voice.”
With regard to her social media presence, Whitney advises to focus on one thing at a time and then try to perfect a process that could be replicated and is sustainable. There is always room to grow and improve. There’s always going to be somebody else who’s doing it better. Look at it from a perspective of “What is most beneficial to my business or my artistry now? Which medium do I want to spend time on? Maybe it’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat,” whatever it is. Start there, be yourself then you can branch out. Once you then get a format, you can get comfortable. You got to start from what’s natural and authentic because no matter which medium or social media channel you’re on, people respond to you being you. If you’re trying to be someone else who’s successful on Instagram, it’s not going to resonate with anybody because you’re trying to be someone else. Find a way to show up that is authentic to you and then the natural magnetism will draw in your fans, supporters or your audience. It’s a combo. You want to get in the flow, learn what works, find your small audience to start with and then it’s like, “How do I standardize this?” It then does become about consistency and that’s where the batch work, team and all of that can be helpful.
You can find out about The Singing / Straw at SingingStraw.com, it’s super simple. Our YouTube channel is YouTube.com/singingstraw. You can find information about Songbird Studios at SongbirdSF.com. Follow them on TikTok @NotYourBasicVocalCoach and @WhitneySings on Instagram.