We had the good fortune of connecting with Lyra Star and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lyra, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
I think when you are truly passionate about something or you are doing something that you love, you keep going no matter what. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve definitely had moments of wanting to “give up” per say, but really I think they are more like moments of needing to take a breath or a pause or a reset. I don’t think I could ever truly give up because I really believe in what I’m doing as an artist, and I absolutely love what I do.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
What sets me apart from others is the fact that not only am I a singer/songwriter, but I am also a contortionist, which is a very unique skill. I also made this career change only two years ago, so I am still relatively new to both art forms as professions. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, I was a teacher at a Montessori school in the bay area and had spent my entire life until that point (summer 2018) working in education in some capacity. I owe a lot to my parents for supporting me financially because quite honestly, I have not made much money from either of these two art forms (contortion or music) yet. My other passion in life is yoga, and I mostly make my living by teaching yoga and pilates at gyms and studios in LA (obviously not right now because of the pandemic) and training private clients. I am still new to that as well though, and I’ve heard it can take four or five years to get established in a place like LA, where everything is a hustle. My second year here has pretty much been in lockdown, but I am not one to give up. I don’t think following a passion or a dream is ever easy, especially if it’s in the arts, but I also think most artists and creatives absolutely love what they do. It is important to have that love, but also the drive and ambition to go for it. I’ve had many challenges along the way, most of them financial, but also getting my foot in the door. In both the music and performance world, it definitely takes a lot of showing up and networking with people in person, which has obviously been pretty impossible during the pandemic. There are still ways to network, but it’s definitely not as easy… one of the reasons I do what I do is because I like the interaction with an audience and feeling the energy of people. Every single experience I have had since moving to this city has taught me something, and I’ve made many mistakes along the way and probably will continue to do so. What helps me overcome every challenge or obstacle is that I am determined to find success because I’m so passionate about what I do. What many people don’t know is that I am a self trained contortionist, and I just happened to get into this art form through my yoga practice. I work really hard every day to keep my spine strong and flexible through repetition, and I’ve had a lot of time during this pandemic to devote myself to training, which I’m hoping will be a positive thing when I can go back to performing live again. What I want the world to know is that I love the art of movement and music, and I am going to continue to try to find ways to merge the two, primary through music videos. I really think that my calling is creating a visual tapestry to accompany my original songs. When it comes to a live performance, I am usually either doing one or the other (playing a full set of original and cover songs or doing a contortion performance), but I do love creating movement to my own music as a backing track. All of that is something I am still figuring out and experimenting with, but I am so grateful to everyone that is supporting me on this journey… I look forward to continuing to grow and evolve as an artist.
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.
This is such a challenging question due to the current state of the world, and I feel like many businesses have shut down. I’ll just pretend everything is open and the world is our oyster! 🙂 If I had a friend visiting, I would want to treat them to elements of the city life but also some of the beautiful beaches and surrounding areas for hiking. We would definitely have to visit some beaches in Malibu, and I would probably take them hiking in both Malibu Creek State Park and Topanga Canyon State Park. I think we’d have to hit up Venice beach and the boardwalk as well just because it’s so iconic. Within the city, I would love to take them to a bunch of live shows. Monday Monday at The Hotel Cafe would be a must for the singer/songwriter vibe, and I would probably take them to The Whiskey A Go-Go for Ultimate Jam Night so they could see that side of the music scene as well. I have a couple of favorite venues for performance art, including Pour Vous LA and Harvard and Stone. A trip downtown would also be a must for a show or performance event… it would just depend on what is happening at the time of their visit. I’m still discovering and learning about new places myself. I think there are some great places for cocktails downtown as well, and I’d probably ask my friends that live down there for a recommendation. For food, I’m a vegan, so we’d go to some of my favorite vegan restaurants, including Love Organic Cafe WeHo, Sage Bistro, and Crossroads Kitchen. I’d also take them to some yoga classes for sure… I’m a hot yoga addict, so we’d probably take class at Urban 728 Hot Yoga or Sweat Yoga. For city hiking, I would take them to Griffith Park… either the observatory or Bronson Canyon. I might also take them to Franklin Canyon in Beverly Hills, as that is such a lovely trail. Hollywood Farmer’s Market would also be something we might hit up as well or a Korean Spa (Olympic Spa is my favorite).. Those are some of my favorite places to go, and it would also probably depend on my friend and their interests. I know there are some great museums here, but I haven’t yet been to any of them, although I live right next to LACMA. This city is so vast, and there is so much to explore… it’s one of the things I love about it. There’s never a dull moment.
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?
There are so many people that I would like to credit because I would not be where I am today without the many people that have been a part of this journey. I honestly haven’t been doing the contortion thing for very long, so that is more new to me than the singer/songwriter part, although I have been practicing yoga avidly for 14 years and currently teach yoga and pilates as well. I have coincidentally met people through my yoga community that have helped me in my artistic pursuits, but there is no one person or organization that is responsible for where I am success-wise in my career, which really only began a couple of years ago. My parents definitely deserve to be credited because I would not be able to follow my dreams without their support, both emotionally and financially. I would also like to shout out Tonya Kay, who directed my most recent music video, “Under the Water,” because she really helped me realize a vision of combining my music and with my skills as a movement artist and has always been supportive and encouraging. I also met some other very inspiring women in the performance world through her, including Kelly Maglia and Nadia Sharif, who are both performers and local designers. A few of my contortionist costumes were created by these ladies, and I had the honor of performing in one of Kelly’s music videos. My music would also not sound the way that it does without the help of the amazing producers that I have worked with, so I would in particular like to shout out Chris Krotky, who has done production work for the majority of my songs, and Sam Garfield, who I just started working with when I moved to LA and is currently producing my next single. Both of them have always believed in my songs, and I am so grateful for that. I would also like to shout out Whitney Tai, another LA singer/songwriter, who helped me write a press release for my music video… this was super helpful for me, especially when doing press on my own. Being able to write your own release and make it look professional is a game changer. I’ll also shout out a couple of other mentors that helped me with press this past year, including Angela Mastrogiacomo and Ariana Tibi. I also worked with a management company this year, Bsquared Management, that helped me with playlisting on Spotify. I’m sure I will continue to meet and collaborate with other amazing artists and creators in the next few years… my journey is really just beginning.
Other: TikTok: @lyrastarmusic
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