We had the good fortune of connecting with Deborah Hurwitz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Deborah, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
After 25 years of freelancing, punctuated by longer-term gigs like hit Broadway shows and concert tours, I knew I needed a better way to create stability for myself. I was tired of the hustle, and especially tired of working for other people’s visions and brands. Ownership became a non-negotiable for me, along with creative control and a healthy dose of pleasure and self-care. Starting a new business at 50 has its perks, including leaving behind what you’re “supposed” to do and what others might think! My building blocks became what is now COBALT Coaching: Creativity, Ownership, Balance, Action and Leadership Training.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My first love was the piano, and my classical training served me well through many iterations of commercial music production, from jingle writer/producer to Broadway music director to touring performer to film composer. I was a chameleon, learning every chance I got, creating music in multiple genres and wearing many hats to keep opening doors and cobble together a living. That said, what I was most proud of were my two solo artist albums, where it was just me, my story, my voice and my sounds. Those songs were, and are, a deep expression of my artistic voice, and even though it took me almost 14 years to make just two records, they are a big part of my legacy. Lessons I’ve learned? MEET EVERYONE. Say yes. Cultivate self-discipline and be willing to take risks, even and especially when you feel shaky or insecure. Be open and curious (without being a doormat). Stay grounded and protect your artistic integrity, if you care about cultivating a body of work that reflects your authentic voice. These are lessons that I’ve brought to bear on my coaching business as well as my artistic career. They work no matter what you are creating in the world!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
One of the best features of LA is the topography: You’ve got beaches, mountains, cityscapes and suburbs, all in the same area. If someone was visiting who’d never been here before, I’d probably curate a “movie highlights” itinerary that covers all the famous spots you see in the movies: Venice Beach, Rodeo Drive, Hollywood hot spots, etc., with some time in nature, like a walk on the beach and a hike in the Santa Monica mountains. But the “best time ever” places for me are right in my back yard in Playa del Rey. I adore Playa Provisions and Bacari PDR, in the middle of our tiny Mom-and-Pop town, and the more upscale but still-chill hubs over at Playa Vista (aka Silicon Beach), Marina del Rey and Venice. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband Jonathan has always had my back, and supported my journey to fulfillment and success even when it involved big risks or upheavals in our life together. I have extraordinary mentors, from Katherine Woodward Thomas and LiYana Silver helping me connect to my empowered femininity, to Shanda Sumpter teaching me how to build and sell to an online tribe, to Morgana Rae coaching me to massive breakthroughs in my financial mindset. I’m a devoted and grateful student of the curriculum at NLP Marin, led by Carl Burcheit and Carla Camou, and I still an always treasure my network of Princeton alumni, who have been my closest friends, my guardian angels and my home away from home, wherever I am.