Edition #41 – Suzanne Doucet answers 7 questions

1. Why are you a musician?

I loved music since I can remember and I was always playing instruments since my early childhood!

Music is the most powerful language in the universe and you can express what can never be expressed adequately in words! Music also has the power of healing.

I love to create music that inspires and heals!

2. Who are your musical inspirations?

I started playing the piano when I was 11 years old.

My favorite composer was Johann Sebastian Bach.

As a singer and songwriter my greatest inspiration was Jaques Brel.

My inspiration today as a new age composer and musician are Brian Eno, Suzanne Ciani, Constance Demby but also Nature, which is one of the greatest composers.

3. What is your practice routine?

I don’t have a particular practice routine. I play music when I feel like it. Spontaneous recordings are part of my work like this album. We did not practice, we just started recording!

4. Why did you make this album?

By Suzanne Doucet, Tajalli

This album is a collaboration with my dear friend Tajalli, who passed away a few years ago. I stayed at his house in San Jose, Ca, at the time and we just started playing together and recorded our sessions. After 2 weeks of recording together we realized that we had enough material for an album and we decided to release this album.

5. What were the biggest obstacles in making this album?

There were no real obstacles. I already had my own record label Isis Music and had released several albums on it. At the time new age music was only sold in cassette format in bookstores. Tajalli also had a label and he had released a few albums on his own. But I had a few very good distributors in the USA and had also distribution in Germany. So we decided that I would release the album on my label.

6. Who is featured on this album?

  • Tajalli and I are featured on the album. No other musicians were playing.

7. Where may we find you online?

Edition #40 – Ian Brennan answers 7 questions

1. Why are you a musician?

There was never any choice. It was all I wanted to do ever, from as far back as I can remember.

And that has been a mixed blessing, at best.

2. Who are your musical inspirations?

The voices of people who are kind and humble. Adrien Kazigira, the primary songwriter from the roots trio, The Good Ones (Rwanda) is one of those singers that is timeless and endlessly moving.

Lifetimes are contained in his voice. My old friend, the late Vic Chesnutt, is another.

3. What is your practice routine?

When I was a teenager, I was often unhealthily obsessive — practicing up to 12 hours a day and even sleeping with my guitar. But over time my focus became increasingly on the voices of others.

Staking any claims to authorship is a low priority for me now. I’ve been fortunate enough to produce over forty records from rural artists around the world in remote areas of Malawi, Comoros, Cambodia, Djibouti, Azerbaijan, and South Sudan, amongst others, and to have won a Grammy for Global Music and been nominated three other times along the way.

4. Why did you make this album?

The First Time I Wore Hearing Aids
By Raymond Antrobus
Produced by Ian Brennan

I believe that Raymond Antrobus is one of the strongest poets of his generation and that his voice needs to be heard as widely as possible.

That he happens to be deaf just adds another layer. My only sister was born with Down syndrome. And today she is almost entirely non-verbal and physically disabled also, but throughout her life she has been profoundly expressive and music continues to connect us.

I am a firm believer that if we are truly committed to inclusion and diversity, then we must actively make efforts for every community across the spectrum to be listened to and closely.

5. What were the biggest obstacles in making this album?

With artistic endeavors, I try to focus on positives versus negatives, the process versus the product.

I believe that by recording 100% live and without overdubs that the record tells you what it is going to be rather than trying to control the outcome in advance. Accidents and errors tend to provide some of the most beautiful moments, if they are allowed to happen and a basic trust and sense of freedom is embraced.

6. Who is featured on this album?

  • The Ted Hughes Award winning, Jamaican British poet, Raymond Antrobus.

7. Where may we find you online?

How Maria Pellicano Manages Many Careers (Singer, Teacher, Coach)

How Maria Pellicano Manages Many Careers (Singer, Teacher, Coach)

Meet Maria Pellicano. We met through a mutual connection right here on LinkedIn. Right away I could tell that Maria was a hyphenated-individual, balancing the demands of an artistic career with her entrepreneurial activities.

Maria’s careers:

  • Teacher
  • Singer/songwriter
  • Coach

On her motivations for having many careers

Variety & expression.

Advice to aspiring multi-careerists

Make sure your personality can handle it

On overcoming obstacles

Some of the setbacks that I’ve had in my business involve time management and [managing] priorities.

For example: Missing emails or responding to emails at the right time. I sometimes think are spam. I now employ an assistant who is helping me. Another one is promoting my courses and my work to save me time.

On how multiple careers are beneficial

They all tie together and support each other.

They help to create customers for each business.

All my professions empower me to become more powerful at each profession.

On personal time

I am super organized. I’m always ahead of the game, and I keep things very tidy and make sure that my personal matters are taken care of.

I prioritize my family first but I simplify things and don’t do any tasks that are unnecessary.

I also delegate and have help to get things done.

On what she wishes she had learned earlier

I should have hired an assistant earlier in life. I could have delegated some tasks even earlier.

On what to read

Keep reading books that stretch your career and keep you inspired.

Listen to podcasts and anything that creates deep meaning.

I’m interested in contemplation and spirituality because that fuels the meaning of my work.

I also love poetry.

I recommend podcasts and audiobooks because you can do those as you’re traveling and moving around your house doing house cleaning.

On the stigma of having many careers

I think sometimes people think that having too many careers means you’re scattered. But your individual careers are just different doors to the same house.

On what to share with others

I put all my career paths in my bio.

It makes my bio much more interesting to people and that is why I get asked to coach because people see that I do lots of different things.

Where to find Maria


Kabir Sehgal is a Multi Grammy & Latin Grammy Award winner, as well as New York Times bestselling author.

Follow Kabir on LinkedInInstagramFacebookTwitterSpotifyYouTube.

Edition #39 – Gernot Wolfgang answers 7 questions

1. Why are you a musician?

I first knew that I wanted to be a musician when I heard a great local jazz guitarist in Innsbruck, Austria. He turned me on to guitarists like Jim Hall and Wes Montgomery, which reinforced my desire.

At the time I wasn’t able to verbalize why I wanted to have a life in music, but over time it became clear that I was attracted by the opportunity to communicate with both audiences and fellow musicians via my playing, and later my composing.

I learned that music is able to transmit the infinite world of feelings and thoughts that cannot be expressed through spoken or written language, and thereby widens the avenue of communication with my fellow humans.

2. Who are your musical inspirations?

I have eclectic taste, so I listen to a variety of musical styles – classical (both traditional and contemporary), jazz, film music, pop, rock and ethnic music.

The musicians who have inspired me have changed over time, but looking back the most important ones were the aforementioned Jim Hall and Wes Montgomery, the guitarist John Scofield, Miles Davis, the saxophonist Michael Brecker, the film composer Jerry Goldsmith and the composers of the Second Viennese School, Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg and Anton Webern.

Recently I heard the Violin Concerto by Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz, which completely blew me away.

3. What is your practice routine?

My focus for the last 25 years has been on composing, arranging and orchestrating. I don’t play the guitar anymore, and in writing I don’t have a practice routine.

In my early composing days I would write a “jazz standard” every day, and not spend more than 20 minutes on it.

These days I regularly look at orchestral scores by other composers and try to imagine in my head how the music sounds. This helps me with my own composing, since the skills gained from score study allow me to get more writing done when I’m away from my keyboard.

4. Why did you make this album?

Vienna and the West
By Wolfgang Gernot

At the time I planned VIENNA AND THE WEST (Albany Records TROY1760) I had been living in Los Angeles for more than 20 years.

I felt that I needed to make an album that reflected the dual internal worlds that I was living in – the present, symbolized by Los Angeles and the wide expanses of the American West, and the past, represented by my previous life in Austria.

When considering the repertoire for this album I realized that I had been writing pieces all along that captured the spirit of either one or the other of these two locations.

And the musical language I had been using was a mix of European style Contemporary Classical Music and (American) Jazz. I ended up writing two new pieces especially for this project and then felt that I had the material to realize my musical vision.

5. What were the biggest obstacles in writing this book?

The biggest challenge was to consolidate my recording schedule with the schedules of the musicians that I asked to be part of this project. Among them were GRAMMY winners and nominees, studio musicians and members of all major Los Angeles orchestras. One of the things they had in common was that they all were incredibly busy! But with a combination of luck and good will on part of the musicians we made it happen.

6. Who is featured on this album?

  • GRAMMY winning pianists Gloria Cheng and Nadia Shpachenko
  • GRAMMY nominated bassoonist Judith Farmer
  • Los Angeles Philharmonic musicians Amy Jo Rhine – horn, Ben Hong – violoncello and Joanne Pearce Martin – piano
  • Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra musicians Tereza Stanislav – violin, Maia Jasper White – violin, Robert Brophy – viola and Andrew Shulman – violoncello
  • Edgar David Lopez – clarinet (Zhejiang Conservatory Chamber Orchestra)
  • Nic Gerpe – piano (LA new music specialist)
  • Robert Thies – piano (winner, International Prokofiev Competition)
  • Charles Tyler – violoncello (winner, Osaka International Music Competition)

7. Where may we find you online?

How Diane Durrett Balances Many Careers (Singer, Engineer, Curator)

How Diane Durrett Balances Many Careers (Singer, Engineer, Curator)

Meet Diane Durrett. She’s a multi-careerist based in Georgia. We’re both in the music industry, and I’ve known her for many years. I recently saw her perform live, and she blew me away with her artistry. She is a terrific singer & songwriter who deftly manages her careers.

Diane’s Careers:

  • Singer & songwriter
  • Producer & engineer
  • Music Series curator
  • Vocal Coach

On her motivations for having many careers

Survival mostly. I do like juggling.

But seriously I am driven by a my purpose.

I naturally have creative, technical and community-building interests.

These usually fall within the music or entertainment industry. Like wearing “different hats” with the same outfit.


On how long she’s had many careers

Started out as singer/songwriter over 30 years ago and that lead to producing music. Then recording technology changed I shifted with it and learned to engineer in ProTools about 20 years ago.

Coached vocals between recording sessions about 10 years and in the last 6 years I’ve become a Music Curator for city concert series.


Advice to aspiring multi-careerists

It’s a way to always keep doing what you love. I’ve noticed that focused time on each ‘hat’ or career can be helpful.

I look at it in sort of a seasonal way even though they can overlap.

Winter is good for songwriting and recording.

Spring and fall are good for playing live shows, for example.


On overcoming obstacles

Getting pulled in too many directions. I will just stop and sit down, get in a meditative space. Go back to the basics.

Why am I here?

What season am I in?

What is my priority right now ?


On how a multiple careers are mutually beneficial

It has given me more financial stability. Also more control of doing what I really want to do. As an artist it keeps me from accepting offers that will burn me out so I can always give my best.

On personal time

When you’re doing what you love you often feel like that it is personal time.

Having family and friends that understand why you have a portfolio career really makes a difference.

On what she wishes she had learned earlier

I’ve always had a dual career but it’s more common now.

I think more people accept it and see the benefits.

On the stigma of having many careers

In the past there was but I think the ‘gig’ economy seems to have made it more acceptable.

I’m sure on some level it remains but you got to be yourself.

On sublimating ego

I’ve done many a “side gig.” Driving a limousine in Nashville was one of my jobs. I didn’t want to be driving a limo I wanted to be riding in one! I was bored as I waited for my clients so I started writing about the day. Later I turned that journal into a book called Driving Music City.

On purpose

Since I was a teenager I have known that I have a “calling” to sing, write and share my music. Having a portfolio career helps enlighten, develop and sustain me on my journey.

A Day in the Life

The only constant in my schedule is my morning quiet time!

It is so different every day depending on the season but here’s an example of one of my “office” days:

7:30 coffee

8:00 meditate

8:30 walking the dog

9:00 – Noon – working on a song or editing a recording

Noon – 1pm break – spin / eat lunch

1:00 – 2:00 zoom call

2:00 – 3:00 catch up on booking calls, emails and socials

3:00 – 5:00 listen to artists, contact agents to book artists for series and send contracts

5:00 pm – my dog comes in the studio to remind me to feed & walk the dog

6 pm dinner

7 pm – 10 pm band rehearsal or recording

Where to find Diane


Kabir Sehgal is a Multi Grammy & Latin Grammy Award winner, as well as New York Times bestselling author.

Follow Kabir on LinkedInInstagramFacebookTwitterSpotifyYouTube.