We had the good fortune of connecting with Helena Maria Falk and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Helena Maria, alright, let’s jump in with a deep one – what’s you’re definition for success?
Success for me has changed a lot over time, I used to feel that I had to impress others with my career and achievements, and sometimes even impress myself, but this has thankfully changed in recent years. Now it’s all about who I am as a person, and what I can give to the world by being in it. When I think about the people who have made big impacts in my life, particularly the ones who are no longer here, I think about the feeling I had around them – the joy, exuberance, comfort, etc that simply being in their presence gave me. This, to me, is what success is all about.
Another definition I’d have for success these days is something like: fearlessly going after my dreams, living my true purpose without trying to fit into any preprescribed box, and lifting others up on the way there.
What makes you happy? Why?
This is one of my favorite questions and something I ask myself a lot. For me, happiness is a daily practice, and something I continuously work on and experiment with. When I first moved to LA – without knowing anyone or anything about the city – I made a long list of what makes me happy, and then made it a habit to at least do one of the things on the list every day. And it actually worked. Because of this, I never felt lost or lonely on the other side of the world. I just felt excited and adventurous because I was always looking forward to that happy thing every day. It could be very simple things like walking in nature, buying ice cream or fresh flowers, going to a show, helping a stranger or calling a friend who makes me laugh.
Right now my focus is on finding the perfect balance between recording, writing music and performing. For me music is is the love of my life, and sharing the energy of it with others has always felt like the most meaningful thing I can do. Since I got my first violin when I was 7, I have always had a burning desire to work as a musician. I’ve been obsessional about it ever since and have practiced and worked to learn my instrument. I feel very lucky that I already knew my purpose back then, and I don’t take it for granted. I’ve since discovered that music truly is a universal language that brings people of all cultural backgrounds together. It connects us all and has the power to uplift and comfort – that gave everything I do more meaning.
Work life balance. How has your balance changed over time? How do you think about the
For a person that loves a lot of action and adventure, I really have to think about and always
remind myself of how important it is to have this balance, and how to always prioritize my
health. Therefore, delegating has been something really useful for me to learn, and also a great
way to meet people and build a team around me, which I love.
Over time I have also learned that no matter where the day goes, I can at least always start it
right by having some sort of morning routine that’s good for me and sets me up well. This can
include making a healthy smoothie, meditating, a workout – things like that – before I delve into
the day ahead. All of this gives me balance, peace and energy, and being mindful and
intentional with my mornings means I am also am more present throughout the day.
I have a gratitude practice I do every night before I go to bed that really changed everything for
me, where I write down 10 things I am grateful for that day, why I am grateful for them and how
them made me feel.
No matter how busy I am, I always try to be there when friends and family need me. They are
always my top priority. The ones closest to me give my life just as much meaning as music, and
certainly help with balance.
How I balance everything has definitely changed over time, because I have changed. I used to
be very end goal orientated – just focusing on the end result and not being very present on the
way there. Now, the way there is the goal, and whatever end results arise are just a bonus, if
that makes sense.
What is the most important factor behind your success ?
If I can give anything credit for my achievements, it must be that I am genuinely interested and
curious about other people, and truly love collaboration. It honestly also gives me great pleasure
to see others shine and accomplish their dreams, and I love to bring collaborators into any
projects that I am working on. A shared dream or goal means so much more to me than a lonely
celebration for one!
I also have a natural inner drive and a very disciplined work ethic, meaning that I never miss a
practice day and I evaluate each day by that one new step I am taking towards my goal.
Risk taking is also an important factor, and sometimes I like to “follow the fear” and see how I
can grow beyond it.
Having big dreams and visions for my career has also proven very helpful, and something I’ve
adopted from my exposure to American culture. In Scandinavia, where I come from, we are
supposed to blend in with others and not try to shine more brightly than our peers. This, in my
experience, makes it harder to reach your dreams. Being humble is of course also
important, but I really appreciate the unabashed determination of spirit I see in so many of my
American colleagues. It’s one of the many reasons I love Los Angeles as a home base for living
out my dreams!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
For me music is is the love of my life, and sharing the energy of it with others has always felt like the most meaningful thing I can do. Since I got my first violin when I was 7, I have always had a burning desire to work as a musician. I’ve been obsessional about it ever since and have practiced and worked to learn my instrument. I feel very lucky that I already knew my purpose back then, and I don’t take it for granted. I’ve since discovered that music truly is a universal language that brings people of all cultural backgrounds together. It connects us all and has the power to uplift and comfort – that gave everything I do more meaning.
Music has taken me to corners of the world I would otherwise have never seen, and I have made lifelong friendships because of it. The way to my goals have never been easy, but the violin has been a comfort for me in hard times, and is something I can always count on. It’s a means of expression and a home I can take with me, wherever I am in the world. Now, tens of thousands of practice hours and many university degrees later, I feel I can enjoy it more, create from a more confident space. Because that’s my other favorite thing about music –
the possibilities are endless. You can create the career you want, experiment with all kinds of musical styles, compose your own music and collaborate with inspiring people. These are some of the many reasons why music and an artistic life are so meaningful to me, and of course because it brings a lot of happiness to my life. I feel very grateful that I can live my dream and do what I love every day.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am forever grateful for my dear friends, who are always encouraging me to follow my dreams. I am also very thankful for all the music professors I had over the years, I wouldn’t be anything without them. But the person I admire and look up to the most is definitely my grandpa, because of the way he was as a person, how he made others feel seen and heard, for the light he was in this world making an impact on every person who was lucky to meet him.
Other: Photo credit: Kasia Kowalczyk