We had the good fortune of connecting with Jacob Burton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jacob, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
As a vocal coach, it’s my job to empower voices. Your voice represents your agency in this world. Without a voice you can be massively stifled in all areas of your life. Singers, speakers, and business people all need to have voices that properly represent their message, and I have the great honor of empowering those people to go out and impact their communities.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I moved to Nashville in 2015 not knowing a single person in the city. I started my vocal coaching business a few months later, not having a clue how difficult it would be to start a new business in a new town with no connections. Ah to be young, naive, and fearless! That was me! In less than a year, I had built a roster of 40 clients! My hard work was paying off, but there was certainly a cost.
Throughout this whole journey, I was traveling back and forth from Nashville to Atlanta (my hometown) to be with my father who was battling ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. As his health declined his medical bills only rose higher. By 2018, I had taken on over 60 clients to help pay for my dad’s medical bills. To put this into context, most vocal coaches stop at 15 clients, 20 max. My father was rushed to the emergency room four different times that year, each time with the understanding that he probably would not survive. However, by God’s grace, he did.
After the most challenging and exhausting year of my life, at the beginning of 2019, I began a new venture: building a team. I hired my first vocal coach in January and by March I had hired my third. As tired as I was, things finally started to look up to me after what had been a grueling season of life. Nonetheless, the devastating nature of my father’s disease was fully realized when he passed away in May of 2019.
As a vocal coach, I believe in leaving my personal life at the door when I step into the room with a client. When I am coaching, my entire focus and energy is 100% on my singers. In spite of this professional commitment, I quickly realized that the grief I was walking through required me to step away from coaching for a period of time. I transferred nearly all of my clients to my team of coaches and took some time to heal.
As 2019 came to a close I was finally feeling like myself again and ready to take on a new challenge: opening my own studio! I had not anticipated this moment coming so soon in my career and it was such an exciting time of dreaming big and believing in new things. By February of 2020, I officially opened the doors to Jacob Burton Studios! It was an exciting time and such a big accomplishment for me as someone who started out as a one-man-show in the big city of Nashville.
But we all know the plot twist that was coming one month later! In March of 2020, only a month after working tirelessly to open my studio, the entire world was put on hold at the mercy of a one-hundred-year pandemic. The studio that I had poured my heart and soul into sat empty for months as we taught our clients from the safety of our homes via Skype and Zoom. To describe this turn of events as a “challenge” or a “disappointment” would be a massive understatement! I was SO disheartened that I could work as hard as I did and still feel like I was coming up short.
Fortunately, by 2021 the city and the world slowly began to reenter the new normal of navigating the outside world. Our clients returned to the studio and we were growing at a rapid pace. I began hiring, training, and mentoring more vocal coaches.
Today I am honored to have a team of 15 amazing associate vocal coaches on my team. My dream of making a career as a vocal coach and giving people a voice has been able to expand to giving other people a career and empowering even more singers than I had ever dreamed.
Through the ups and downs, the only thing that has never wavered is my love and passion for coaching vocalists. I love my job! I drive to work every day with the biggest smile on my face! Despite the personal and professional challenges that I have faced, it was this love and passion that sustained me. And Jesus!
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.
Burger Up and Barcelona are a must! Love those places. I like driving my friends through downtown without actually getting out of my car and subjecting myself to Broadway’s many antics. At some point we would certainly hit up Jeni’s Ice Cream because that is the air that I breathe.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d love to shoutout Lisa Haupert, an amazing vocal coach and businesswoman who believed in me when I first moved to Nashville. Her confidence in me helped me grow my business into what it is today. Thank you Lisa! You’re wonderful!