We had the good fortune of connecting with Kari Clifton and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kari, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
My thought process behind starting my own business was simple: I wanted to have more control over where I spent my time and I wanted that time to be spent doing the things I was passionate about. I went at it without much training, but followed my gut in pursuing my passion of music and creativity. 

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a creative cellist and music maker. I’ve always held a love for quite a variety of music which has led me to pursue different genres and styles. Contrary to what most assume when they see me with my cello, I actually don’t perform in an orchestra or perform a lot of classical music. What makes me a little different is that I play music that isn’t widely performed on a cello. I’ve played in rock bands, indie folk bands, pop/rock quartets, and jazz ensembles all the while learning to mimic the sounds of lead guitars, voices, and even trombones on the cello. My current projects are focused more on solo works with layers of cello and even some vocals as well as a duo project with my husband who is primarily a guitar player. We’re at the beginning stages of the journey playing with musical ideas and soaking in all of the works of our favorite bands and artists. I’m also working on my second commissioned work, an original composition for a quartet of students at Boulder Suzuki Strings. The road to where I am now has been full of surprises and continuous learning. I’ve been told in the past that my one hope of a successful life/career was to marry someone who was a doctor or an engineer. This was only fire to my passion and pushed me to prove the stereotype of the starving musician wrong. One thing they don’t teach you in music school is how to survive in the real world. It’s a blessing in disguise as real world experience is best learned just as that, in the real world with real consequences. You learn big lessons very quickly and are forced to come to terms with the choices you made. Over the past eight years since I began performing and teaching one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned has been to value yourself and respectfully decline anything that doesn’t line up with your heart or further your personal growth to your end goal. Set your standards and stick to them – it doesn’t have to be about money, but rather about your values and how you want to represent yourself. If there is something keeping you from your true dream, let it go! It can be very difficult to close one door, particularly if it has been a big part of your life, but what they say is true: another door truly does open, even if it’s not exactly the way you had imagined. I am a creative who happens to be a cellist, song writer, and a closeted singer. I’m not one to seek the center stage, but rather to be a part of something bigger than myself. What I love about music is that it is an amazing connector. We all relate to music in one way or another, how cool is it that we can be moved by music and be connected without words or perhaps even without knowing the artist who made the work?

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If I had a friend visiting me in the Denver area, I would absolutely take them to both Tokio and Uncle to experience my favorite ramen, Corvus and Sweet Bloom for my favorite coffee, and D Bar for amazing dessert. We’d also have to go to Red Rocks, Roxborough Park, and probably to the hot springs in either Steamboat Springs or just outside of Aspen. Colorado doesn’t lack in outdoor activities, lots of hiking and easy access things like tubing down Clear Creek in Golden. I’m truly a homebody and I find a lot of my joy in the little every day things, so we’d also likely be slowing down and enjoying each other’s company over a h0me cooked meal and a game or movie night.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are many many people who have helped me out in my journey, really it’s difficult to say just one. Long story short: every person that I’ve worked with has urged something in me to pursue what I love. Sometimes it was by way of inspiration and encouragement. Sometimes it was by showing me exactly what I wasn’t interested in. Particular to this moment in my life, a book that has been life-altering is “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. Anyone looking to fall back in love with their creativity and to learn how to be more honest and loving to themselves will find barriers broken down through this book!

Website: https://www.kariclifton.com/
Instagram: hello.cello

Image Credits
From family and friends

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