We had the good fortune of connecting with Amy Biondo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amy, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
In the fall of 2018, I separated from my husband of 9 years. I had been performing as a vocalist in several bands in the area, but it was very part time and I had primarily been a stay-at-home mom for the last 8 years. Faced with the question of how I would support myself and my children, I began reflecting on my own journey with my voice.
My relationship with my voice had never been easy, and while I lived for my moments on stage in front of an audience, it was also fraught with stage fright, doubt, and lots of self-judgments around not being good enough, not knowing enough, and not having enough to offer. I would get so paralyzed by fear before a performance, and often even became physically ill, that at times it wasn’t even fun anymore. Yet I knew deep down I had a voice that I still wasn’t fully sharing, a voice full of power and emotional expression. In a quest to discover this hidden voice and experience more ease and joy in my singing, I embarked on a 20+ year journey of making friends with my voice and working with all the ways I had been sabotaging myself. Through meditation, therapy, journaling, vocal training, somatic practices, and the practice of improvisation, I learned to identify and overcome the things I was doing that were holding me back and was finally able to arrive at a place of radiant confidence and joy in my singing, and the knowledge that I was finally offering my full authentic voice to the world without holding anything back. This work absolutely changed my life and gave me back my joy of music and singing, the greatest gift of all.
I knew there must be other people out there struggling with the same thing. I had taken voice lessons with teachers who only focused on the technique of singing (which is of course super important), but never addressed the deeper emotional issues that had been standing in my way of really sharing my voice fully. So I set out to be the voice teacher I wish I had had. I made it my mission to work with the WHOLE person, in all their complexity and beauty, to unleash the powerful, gorgeous voice that has always been inside of them. Using everything I learned along my journey, I created a business, The World Needs Your Voice, to help students work with fear and self-doubt, giving them highly effective tools to help them to arrive at a place of peace, confidence, and joy in their singing. I offer intensive courses, workshops, and one on one voice training. As someone with a master’s in counseling psychology, decades of meditation and other mindfulness practices, and a lifetime of performance experience, it has been incredible to combine all the things I am most passionate and knowledgable about, all of who I am, and to offer this to others in the work I do.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
The World Needs Your Voice helps singers of any level move from fear and self-doubt to radiant confidence and joy in their singing. The voice training that I offer is different in that it addresses the WHOLE person. By training students how to sing with the whole body, how to fully invite their emotions into the song, and giving them approachable and easy-to-practice skills for dealing with fear, self-doubt, and other emotional obstacles to singing, my students connect with a power and authenticity in their voices that is difficult to achieve with most vocal training programs.
The thing I am most proud of to date is creating an online course, The World Needs Your Voice, that is an affordable and highly effective way for students to develop these skills and take this journey in their own time, from the comfort of their own homes. It means the world to me to take everything that I have learned on my own voice journey, through mindfulness practices, improvisation, good solid vocal training, and psychoeducation, and offer this to others who are desperately searching for how to stop getting in their own way in their singing!
My business journey has been a joy and a struggle for sure! I really knew nothing about running a business when I first started out. I did a business training with Women in Community, which helped me not only learn about how to structure my business in a sustainable way that would meet my financial goals, but also helped me develop the courage to share my gifts with the world. The practice of running my own business has absolutely been part of my spiritual path, as I come up against my own fears again and again and learn to push through them and do things I’ve never done before!
At first glance, you might think the Coronavirus pandemic was a huge setback for my business, and in a way it was. I had to immediately transition to teaching 100% online, something I had never done before, and I lost about 75% of my students in the first few weeks. It was a dark time for me, but after about two months I started to see it as an opportunity to develop other programs that I probably never would have otherwise! I launched a custom love song business, writing original songs for weddings and other special occasions (www.amybiondo.com/custom-songs). I also developed my online course during this time (www.amybiondo.com/courses), I went from knowing nearly nothing about recording and editing video to developing the skills I needed to do almost the entire project myself. It wasn’t easy, but for better or for worse I am quite a stubborn person, and I don’t give up easily!
Now, a year into the pandemic, I teach students all over the United States and a few from other countries, because of my ability to teach online! It has been a huge gift in broadening my reach and not being limited to one location. The same is true for the online course and the custom songwriting offering; I can now work with people anywhere in the world!
One lesson I have learned is the value of being flexible. Through the practice of voice and movement improvisation, I have trained in the ability to move through my life with openness to what comes my way, and the willingness to be surprised and pivot in the moment in unexpected but often very beautiful ways. The pandemic really took this flexibility to a whole new level! It’s always essential to have a plan, but I find that if my ideas become too fixed, then I miss all sorts of opportunities that are arising in the moment, that may be juicier and more fulfilling than any plan I could have concocted!
I’ve also learned that entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey, and it’s essential for me to reach out for community along the path. I have several business owners that I meet with on a regular basis to talk about how things are going, brainstorm ideas, and offer support. I also understand that I’m not good at everything! For example, while I love color and design, I just don’t have the graphic design skills to create branding that feels aligned and meets my high standards! When I found a wonderful logo designer who could take my loose ideas of a logo and bring them to life, and a brilliant graphic designer who overhauled my website, designed the beautiful workbook for my course, and created other materials for me, I was overjoyed to see my brand coming to life and reflecting the core of who I am, as a teacher, a business-owner, and a human.
A final word about the voice journey. Many of us walk around with a set of negative stories about our voices. We may have had someone tell us we shouldn’t sing or that we are tone deaf, or we may have received messages in more subtle ways that our voices didn’t matter and shouldn’t be heard. I believe that everyone is born with a voice that is perfect and beautiful. It’s only our habitual patterns of holding onto tension and negative emotion that get in the way of this voice shining through. Whatever your voice journey holds for you, please know that it is possible to let go of the ways you have been holding yourself back to reveal this beautiful, perfect voice that has always been inside of you, just waiting to be discovered.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Great question! We’d definitely hike Mount Sanitas and have breakfast at Tangerine. High tea at the Huckleberry! A trip to Estes Park with lots of hiking. We’d hear some great jazz at the Muse and catch a nightcap at Bramble and Hare. And dinner at Acreage with some fine cider for sure!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to especially thank Scott Martin, who took a chance on me at Vic’s coffee shop and helped me launch my music career. Also my dear friend and mentor, Art Lande, who taught me so much about trusting myself and allowing the music to move through me. Finally, Barbara Dilley’s practice of Contemplative Dance Practice at Naropa University helped me understand how to work with impulse and open my heart to others in the open space of improvisation. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the three of you.
Special thanks also to Kim Hawley, my graphic designer and accountability buddy, Carol Banks Bane for my beautiful logo, and Elizabeth, Myka, and the whole WINC community!
Todd Thiele Carol Banks Bane