We had the good fortune of connecting with Celia Chavez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Celia, putting aside the decision to work for yourself, what other decisions were critical to your success?
For me, the decision to join forces with my partner, Felice Hernandez, and for us to launch Empowered Singer Workshops as a team, has made all the difference in how I coach. Her connection and desire to be of service has reinforced my commitment to design coursework with service in mind and empowerment as a focus.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Empowered Singer Workshops is my partnership with Felice Hernandez. We aim to serve our community of aspiring and professional vocalists in Los Angeles, and now beyond, as necessitated by this pandemic. I’m proud to be a part of a minority woman-owned business, and between us, Felice and I have many years of combined experience from all different kinds of work as singers, bandleaders and instrumentalists on international tours, in commercial and film music, and as recording artists. We are still in the early years of our business partnership, but from the outset we have understood that our success is based in the singer community’s success; our work is dependent upon our ability to empathize with our fellow singers and support their career growth. With the music industry shut down these past few months — and for the foreseeable future — singers were shocked into the need to make a nimble transition to work from home. Suddenly we all need to know how to build and run a home studio, how to prepare for virtual auditions, fine-tune audio for streaming performances, deal with various technology issues. Even theater singers need to learn these skills now. So we launched our six-week course “Vocal Production for Singers” and enlisted award-winning singer/songwriter/producer Carla Hassett to teach. We’re in our second round of that course now! We’re also currently updating our Vocal Harmony course for online sessions starting September 14, with Percussion for Singers soon to follow.
Equally important has been helping singers stay connected and feel supported while in isolation. Luckily for us, Felice has been a hub for connection in the singer community through her Singer Friends LA group on Facebook, and even before that, when she hosted in-person mixers. It felt natural us to start having free Zoom chats every Friday night since March to hold space for each other, catch up, have our own virtual happy hours. The chats sometimes turn into serious shop talk, which organically grow into courses or webinars on specific topics.
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?
You know, for the last several years I’ve been on tour a lot and so I feel a little like a tourist in LA. I need tips myself! I’m a Westsider, so — BEACH. I usually end up in Santa Monica, but for views, El Matador is strikingly beautiful and not that far of a drive up the PCH. Hiking trails! Again, Westside, so the ones with peeks at the ocean — Tuna Canyon, Mandeville, Los Leones, Westridge Canyonback. The desert — super cliché, but visitors love Joshua Tree, and if I could get my BFF to the Integratron I know she’d dig it. I also love the Huntington Gardens in Pasadena — you can spend a whole day there both outdoors in the different curated ecosystems, or indoors in their library or museum. Food: I’m lucky to live close to Sawtelle Japantown, which has numerous tasty Asian restaurants and cool shops. My favorite neighborhood family-owned noodle place is Ramenya on Gateway and Barrington.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My shoutout goes out to Jordan Marinov — dancer/choreographer, film producer and activist — who has guided me to not only step into my power as an artist, but also inspired me to become a more confident, responsible and socially conscious businesswoman.
Other: Eventbrite page: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/empowered-singer-workshops-20075648672