3 Life Changing Lessons I Learned Being a Signed Singer for a Year

Lessons come to us in the craziest of ways sometimes.

One of the most memorable times of my life was right around the age of 25-26 years old.

I moved out of my grandparents house in Culver City and nestled into my tiny and cozy studio apartment.

Right in the heart of Koreatown off of Melrose and Western and I loved that studio apartment.

Everyday I was met with the wonderful smells of Korean BBQ from the family style restaurant down the street.

The aroma of coffee brewing from the shop up the block would greet my nose as I stepped outside.

The gas station attendants below my building became my really good friends during the 5 years I lived there.

Los Angeles truly never slept. 

The wailing cries of fire engines and the sound of cars squeakily braking at the traffic light became my lullaby.

My boyfriend would ask me how I was able to fall asleep with all the city noise.

Shrugging with a grin I replied, 

“Never noticed.”

I was officially a city girl and it was my first time living all by myself.

Living by yourself is something I highly encourage everyone to experience.

Living alone will help uncover likes, dislikes and the small tiny things that bring us so much joy.

One of my old loves has always been singing and songwriting.

I never sang professionally but had a pretty good ear for creating melodies.

I also grew up singing in the school choir.  

With no more outside opinions or distractions to make me second guess myself, it seemed silly of me to not explore these gifts.

So I literally sat down and wrote in my journal, “I want to be a singer”, amongst other thoughts. 

I aligned my little heart with my desire and a few weeks later I found myself in a recording studio for the first time in my entire life.

Yes it was that fast and that simple.

The Manifestation

Not long after that life changing journal entry I ran into an old friend who I had tried making music with before.

For the sake of this story, let’s call him Music Man.

This was my second attempt at music and I was done letting the people around me discourage my want to pursue one of my dreams.

It was no coincidence that Music Man was at that same house party and embarking on a new music venture.

Music Man slipped me his business card and the rest became history.

Rissa Marie
2014 Beartrap Entertainment

A few weeks after my encounter with Music Man I had written and recorded my first song; mixed, mastered and ready to go.

I remember being up until 6 am that night.

I had to be at work by 8 am but I didn’t care.

Finally, I was doing something I always wanted and it sparked so much joy.

I was at that studio almost every single night after that.

I created a world I could go to and be with a part of myself I had only dreamed about.

Making music and creating with other artists.

No judgment. No dream killing. Just a space to create.

I was so happy.

Cue Management

Word had eventually gotten around the studio that there were some investors interested in backing the independent label.

Everything was 100% independent at that point.

Being financially backed by a very an investor was just the tool we needed to really take things to the next level.

Beartrap Entertainment Music Video – 2014
Rissa with label mate Fingaz Music
2014 Beartrap Entertainment
Artist Name: Rissa Marie

Before I knew it, contracts were written up and checks were being cut.

A legitimate industry meeting happened with the artists they felt had the “look and sound” for the industry.

Apparently I was one of those artists.

All I could think was, “I was an artist?”

None of it was hitting me.

Especially with how effortless and smooth it all fell into place.

It’s not lost on me that artists work their asses off to have this type of opportunity.

I didn’t take it lightly. I was ready.

Ready to work hard and not let anyone or anything stop me.

Not even my fear.

I Signed the Contract

Once the contract was signed the rest of the year took off.

I had also never worked so hard in my life.

Being challenged mentally, physically and spiritually on a level that made my respect for creatives grow even more.

No time was wasted with getting me on the most expensive Hollywood juicing diet.

I began working with a physical trainer.

Vocal lessons were set up with one of the most prestigious coaches in the music industry.

Performance rehearsals on the weekends to ensure we were all ready for one of the biggest festival shows , SXSW.

That moment was bat shit crazy.

lessons i learned being a signed singer
Beartrap Entertainment 2014
Rissa Marie with label mate Cali Smoov

My team and I spent 3 long months rehearsing, learning to dance and sing for 10 minutes in front of 6,000 people.

That stage was shared by some of hip hop’s legends like Kayne West and Jay-Z.

I don’t regret a single second of that.

5 Life Changing Lessons   

I will always be grateful for this experience.

I was working out twice a day.

Working a full 9-5 job, rehearsing on the weekend and on a juice detox diet.

I remember being so tired I overslept for two hours while taking my hour lunch break one day at work and I wouldn’t have traded it for the world.

At the end of that glorious year our funding was pulled and the experience came to a screeching halt going as quickly as it came.

lessons i learned being a signed singer
2014 Beartrap Entertainment
Rissa Marie

What I learned.

Lesson 1

Opportunity is on the other side of fear.

Fear is the number one reason why a lot of us don’t go after what our soul is pulling us to do.

By signing that contract I gave myself no other choice but to show up.

The glamorous side of the industry is fun but the work that goes into the production of an artist is absolutely incredible and it all fell onto my shoulders.

And killed it.

Having the resilience, persistence and consistency to get the practicing, training and dieting done because I understood the caliber of what I was asking to be.

Putting in the work in day in and day out to be the woman capable of taking on what I was asking the Universe for.

Lesson 2

I’m worthy of what I’m building.

I didn’t have the best singing voice in the game and I was nowhere near having the best dance moves.

What I had was a strong will and the heart of a winner.

I wanted this life so badly at the time and went out to get it.

It really is that simple to go after what you want.

Put yourself in the position to get it.

The self worth story a lot of carry isn’t a very good one, myself included, and don’t feel worthy to even dream let alone go after it.

It doesn’t matter your station in life, once you understand the only obstacle is yourself it’s almost silly to not go after what you want.

Lesson 3

Self evolution is constant.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would pursue a career as a singer when it all began.

I knew that I was happy to be there and being in that world sparked so much joy doing the hard work didn’t even matter.

When the experience was over I didn’t know what to do or what was next for me.

All I knew was I showed myself that I’m capable of evolving and will continue to evolve as life goes on.

Life will always send obstacles or gift us amazing experiences but the idea is to not identify with those things because the truth is they will change.

We will always change, we will always grow and as a result there will always be a self evolution or a ‘rebirth’.

You will have many evolutions in a lifetime.

Who will you to be when those changes arise?

lessons i learned being a signed singer
2014 Beartrap Entertainment
Rissa Marie, Cali Smoov, Fingaz Music

Who Are You on the Other Side of Your Fear?

I got to experience one of the craziest times of my life with all expenses paid.

All because I believed in what I was doing and I took inspired action.

Imagine all of the opportunities we are robbing ourselves of because we’re too fucking scared to move!

Rissa SoFar
Rissa SoFar

Rissa SoFar

Rissa SoFar is a lover of building bridges and creating a safe space for people to have important conversations. As the founder and creator of Culture Fuzz, Rissa works to bridge the gap to people, places, products and ideas will surely make a quality difference in your life.

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