19 – Susan Eichhorn Young: Living, Loving, and Leading with Your Authentic Voice

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00:58 Susan
So even though politically, artists seem unessential, we are absolutely - on a human level - truly essential. Because the times we live in are always defined by the artists that inhabited that time.

01:36 Tony:
Hello, it's Tony Howell. And I want to welcome you to Conversations with Changemakers. On this episode, we speak with Susan Eichhorn Young. She is most known as one of New York City's best voice teachers, but SEY is all things voice. She has three diplomas from the Royal Conservatory of Music at the University of Toronto, a Bachelor of Music from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Master of Music from London's Western University. She is exceptionally gifted in many mediums and genres: singer, actor, speaker, voiceover artist, writer, voice teacher, speaking coach, pianist, and more.

In this conversation, we discuss her near-death experience and how it impacted the way that she lives her life daily, how to navigate living in America today as well as a life in the arts, practices to stay informed and connected yet sane and grounded, and how to find and develop your authentic voice.

I can't wait to hear your thoughts after this conversation. Enjoy!

Susan Eichhorn Young. I am so honored, so delighted, so excited to have you on the podcast. Welcome. And thank you for being here.

03:00 Susan:
The honor is mine.

03:02 Tony:
Let's kick this party off by sharing how we met.

03:07 Susan:
Good Lord. You were still in your undergrad as I recall. And you emailed me - I think - were you a junior? I think you were a junior.

03:19 Tony:
Yeah. I was at Ball State in Muncie, Indiana studying musical theatre, and I wanted to go to the big city.

03:25 Susan:
And you emailed me - and I think you were coming in on Spring Break or something - to have a consultation and a trial lesson, because you wanted to start connecting to people when you were ready to graduate. And that's where it started. And then what happened? Then you went back to school and then you moved to the big city.

03:46 Tony:
Yes, yes, yes. And I started studying with you. And you are an incredible teacher - a very well recognized and respected voice teacher. And we recently have been collaborating in a different way as business consulting. And let me ask you: You say that you are all things voice. So what does that mean to you?

04:12 Susan:
How that came about? Well, that was kind of - you and I collaborating - you kind of brought that through. But I think it's partly because the path that my journey has taken me through different facets of voice, whether it's singing in many different genres and acting, teaching, coaching, writing, all those things that could be a voice. That's what leads in my world.

04:40 Tony:
Yes. And I will want to rewind a little bit. Can you share a bit about your journey, where you're from, what your life has been like leading up to this moment?

04:53 Susan:
I am a Canadian girl from the Prairies, and I grew up in a very theatrical home and music and theatre were big parts of my life from before I can remember. And so that was no brainer. Although I was battling between going into music/theatre and journalism, if you can believe it.

So the music and theatre won. Whether that was the right choice or not, it was the choice. And so I went from a very small town in Saskatchewan to University and I actually double majored. I majored in voice and in piano performance. And that's where it kind of continued from. A lot of theatre, a lot of cabaret, moved into opera. Had a baby, moved around a lot, and eventually met the love of my life and moved down to New York City area.

05:59 Tony:
Love, love, love. And I want to take a moment. I'm taking you on a ride.

I've given you some questions and I'm just going to be improving with you. I want you to brag for a moment, or at least just be transparent. Because what we're seeing right now, I believe, is a transition with many of the artists in our business. Not only the coaches and the teachers that surround them sort of needing to pivot because of the Corona virus, but the artists themselves are starting to find alternative revenue streams.

So you are a successful entrepreneur for decades. Can you share a little bit about the business services that you've developed for Susan Eichhorn Young?

06:46 Susan:
In this time? Are you talking specifically, like as we've pivoted? Or just in a general overview?

06:52 Tony:
Well, let's start with how you started to make the shift from artistry to entrepreneurship.

07:00 Susan:
I think in a strange way, it was always sort of parallel - when one was waning, the other was waxing, back and forth. So I kind of pivoted back and forth pretty consistently.

When Erin, my daughter, got to school age and we couldn't just take off and do things, then I started to teach a little bit more. When she started to get into regular school and that kind of thing. And then I went back to school in my later thirties to do my master's degree, thinking that would give me a little bit more sustainability on the academic side of things, should I need that.

And then you just have to stay inquisitive and curious about what else is there. What else could I do? And different things, leading to different - again, where does the voice take you? I started doing voiceover work and audio books and things like that, as well as teaching and coaching and working with different genres of singing. And that has led to now where we've had to make this big pivot to be completely online. And then what does that look like, and how do we adapt and pivot-step-ball-change a little bit?

08:26 Tony:
Tell us now. So how have you made - what pivots have you made and what would you recommend people consider that might be teachers or coaches?

08:36 Susan:
Well, we are all online and you can't fight that anymore if you want to stay relevant in this time. And what's exciting I think is that I always have to say to my technically-literate people, my friends and colleagues, “Okay, explain that now in real people language.” And most of you do. Most of you are great, because those of you who are really great at the technical things - some of us from an artistic perspective, it's just, our brains go blow.

So I've been very fortunate to have people teach me how to use these tools more and more effectively. And then in the process, I'm learning how to do things on my own. And I think you've gotta be pliable. You just have to be. And that I think is the big thing anyway. This time we don't have a choice, but I think that's something we all can learn moving through this time. We must stay pliable. We must stay innovative and creative and be able to make adjustments and not get so stuck in one aspect of what we do or how we do that, that we can't make some adjustments.

09:54 Tony:
I love that. You have been very pliable. So with all things, voice, I believe, and maybe you have other areas, but you use your voice through writing, speaking, singing, and also the sort of the soulful way of having a voice, having the artistry and the point of view. Have I missed anything?

10:18 Susan:
No, I don't think so, but thank you.

10:21 Tony:
With that. How does one develop their voice and you could share technically, but I also want to talk about that more spiritual artistic lens of how one creates a voice for themselves.

10:36 Susan:
My dad gave me this quote many, many years ago, and my husband also uses this quote many years later. So it kind of book ended it. It's a Miles Davis quote that says, "Sometimes it takes a long time to learn how to play like yourself."

And so I took that and changed the word, play to sing, to speak, to voice. To develop that voice it takes doing it. You can't call yourself an artist if you don't just create art. And it's not about it being perfect or beautiful or even shareable, it's about just getting in there and doing the work and getting messy and making mistakes or making choices to lead you to the next. And that to me is what that means.

11:34 Tony:
So let's talk about your dad for just a moment. I know that he's a very important person to you and that you have your passion for teaching from him. Can you tell us a little bit about him and maybe one other thing that he taught you?

11:49 Susan:
Sure. He is still to this day, probably one of my biggest teachers. And daily. He's been gone since 2009 and he was a prolific painter. He was an artist through and through. Wonderful actor. In fact, he was also a tap dancer, Tony, back in the day. He was a hoofer way back in the day. And wonderful teacher, director, just creator.

He's taught me so much. I think the big thing I've learned from him is his ability to listen. He could hold space for anybody. I mean, anybody and anybody that walked into his sphere, that he would hold space for, felt as if they were the center of the universe. And that trust in that moment, they all mattered to him.

And that's something that I work for. That I want to create that safe space for anybody who decides they want to walk in. So whatever it is that they are wanting to explore with me or in the space between I want to create that space, hold space for that person. That's something that I really learned just from watching him work.

13:17 Tony:
Well, you carry on that legacy quite beautifully.

So, as I was getting ready for this, I was ruminating on the fact that you and I have quite a few things in common. We both lost our fathers. We've both found alternative ways to be artists beyond sort of the traditional paths. I should say in addition to. And one of the things that I think has supercharged us is near-death experiences. So I want you to take a moment to tell us what happened when I say the words, “the accident”.

14:01 Susan:
Ooh. I still have to take a big breath with that one. That was a day that was a beautiful June - cloudless, no humidity, the perfect day. And Thomas, my husband, and I were out for a drive. I wasn't in the city teaching that day. He was off for the summer. And we were on a drive in the convertible. We were going to go pick up some steaks and do a nice little grill and life changed.

Life changed completely. And we were in a traffic stop on an interstate highway because of construction. And I don't remember any of this, but we were hit by an 18-wheeler that didn't stop or couldn't stop. And - and life changed.

14:59 Tony:
I was your student at the time and it was really awakening to suddenly just possibly lose someone. What happened next?

15:09 Susan:
Well thank goodness Thomas was not hurt like I was. They were able to get him out. He had a concussion and stitches and whatever. However, I was the one that got kind of crunched into the car underneath another semi.

So it took them quite a long time, I guess, to get me out. I was airlifted - we were both airlifted actually - to a trauma unit. And I was in trauma for several, I don't even remember now, however long. And then in a rehab hospital for several weeks before I was able to come home with a fair bit of damage.

I mean, it changed everything. Not just the physical, the emotional and the spiritual. And also just kind of rethinking about how you want to live your life or what is really important. I think that was the big thing, recognizing that even in the trauma unit, I couldn't do anything for myself. And I'm used to being mom and nurturer where I do for everybody. And I couldn't do anything for myself, let alone anybody else.

So that was a huge sudden shift of recognizing that change. And then the realization that, oh, look it, the world is going ‘round. You don't have to do everything for everybody. Look at that. Maybe other people could do a few things for you when you asked. And so those kinds of realizations were huge. It also showed me the love and the care that was all around me from all of you. Not that I didn't know there was love and care, but my God, I could feel that. Into the broken bones I could feel that.

And it's certainly changed me in how I can address the world, how I can be more patient, how I can be more present - trying to stay in that present moment and not get too carried away and looking too far ahead or wondering “what if” and all those things that we often do because when you're not there, you're not there. And I could easily have been taken in that accident. So I'm here for a reason and I better seize it.

17:46 Tony:
Yay. I'm so happy that you're here and that you live your life by example.

I don't want to dive in here too much further, but I just know that there's so much here. And I do want to ask you if you could make that accident not happen. You've shared a lot of it - but for Susan before in May, and then for the listener who may not be as aware and conscious - what would you want them to know? What would you whisper in their ear on this side of the accident?

18:25 Susan:
On this side of the accident, I would say, breathe and stay present, and don't worry. It's the worry that slows us down. It's the worry that stops us and being present and being stuck aren't the same thing because you can breathe into that moment. You can breathe into that present moment, but worry makes you stuck.

18:54 Tony:
So it's 7:00 AM here and today's meditation before we talked was about the pause, the gap. And instantly it made sense as a musician that the rest is just as important as the notes.

What's it like right now to be in the United States of America?

19:27 Susan:
That is the heaviest one. It's horrifying. It's scary. It's just when you think it can't get any worse, it does. And you can isolate yourself to a certain degree - and there's the irony. We're supposed to quarantine, we're supposed to be isolated and yet you have to figure out how you balance keeping yourself sane and staying informed.

And I think the status I wrote today was, "What is your duty as a human being?" What do you need to do as a human being for other human beings? I think that can be something that we have control of in a time where there just doesn't feel like there is any. When we see that we're basically isolated, even from all borders, this time feels very stuck in many ways because we don't have the freedoms we thought we did have. Because of everything that's happening.

However, not to be a Pollyanna, but it's almost as if mother Universe said, “Okay, and while I've got you all home, let's deal with this and let's deal with that. And let's bring things into your living rooms that you are home to see and start to feel. And let's start to make some real change as human beings.”

And so in that regard, even from a world perspective it actually is very exciting, as human beings right now to see the kind of change that we can possibly make in our world, in spite of our world. Does that make some sense?

21:39 Tony:
That makes perfect sense. I'm over here nodding.

So I love that word “duty”, and I also really feel that even though we are in the muck and it's just a super hard time, I have the optimism that you do, that there are much, much brighter days ahead.

What would you like your artist, your community to know about how to handle everything while we battle two viruses and one I'm just going to curse orange asshole in the White House.

22:18 Susan:
He - in a very strange - I'm going to say it because I believe speaking it out loud - he is irrelevant. This is what I say. And I really do believe this, artists are essential. And they are needed, and they define the times that we find ourselves in no matter what that time is.

We are essential to how we live as a society, as artists. We as artists are how we reshape our society and how we breathe life into that society. So even though politically artists seem unessential, we are absolutely - on a human level - truly essential. Because the times we live in are always defined by the artists that inhabited that time. Always from the beginning of time.

And with every time of horror and change, something new and creative and innovative - it responds out of that time. And that's going to happen again, that's happening now. And I think we just have to keep mirroring each other in recognition of the essential aspect of what we do, because it's crucial to the healing of our society through this.

24:05 Tony:
So what should the teachers and the coaches that work with the artists know - what do you wish they knew that you're seeing that many are not aware of?

24:18 Susan:
It's not the same as it was before the middle of March. So we cannot bring with us the weight of what was before. We need to clear the space in order to allow what needs to emerge to emerge. So dragging in the old paradigms, it's not going to work. We need to shatter those paradigms and start art fresh. Come out of the ashes with something more real and more innovative.

None of it is a competition and that's an ongoing thing in my life anyway, in my sense of things. What we do is not a competition. What we do is collaborative. What we do is storytelling, no matter the genre or the kind of artist that you are. And there's never one size fits all. And just because so-and-so did it that way does not mean you have to. And not mean you should. And I think the more we can just knock out those walls. It's scary sometimes, but it's crucial now more than ever.

25:36 Tony:
I love what you just said, that it's not a competition, that it is collaborative. And I think capitalism can absolutely corrupt that viewpoint.

You mentioned that it's a new world and we're wiping the deck, so to speak. So, curve ball for you. What is the future, the ideal for American art?

26:06 Susan:
I think we're in it. That's the interesting thing. I think we're truly in it and we need to learn what that is for each of us individually and collectively and how we can inhabit it as authentically as possible. How do we explore that before we send it out into the rest of the ether?

And I think the authenticity of that is going to be how we create for new audiences. I mean, that's the thing, audiences are going to be craving - they already are - but they're going to be craving that storytelling. And how do we do that in this new world that we find ourselves in now? We can be preparing for that. And instead of saying, yeah, but, or no, we can't. Yeah we can, and yes we will. And we have to. And wherever that takes, I mean, whatever that takes, we have to find that.

27:12 Tony:
When you say, yeah, but, what are some of the excuses and things that you're referring to?

27:18 Susan:
It can be more paradigm kinds of things, or more institutionalized kinds of things. Yeah, but I'll never be able to sing that. Yeah, but no one will ever do that show. Yeah, but they don't cast that way. Nobody's casting anything right now, so - No, that can change.

And I think so much, and I'm thinking primarily now as a performing artist, we have unconsciously been kind of set up for lack of a better word to think we can only do X, Y, Z, or X, Y, Zed to my Canadian peoples. That we can't inhabit there because it's not been allowed.

And that's where the Black Lives Matter movement is getting stronger and stronger. Where artists of color, indigenous artists, black artists are saying, “Wait a minute.” And those of us who want to build allyship and go and work with anti-racism need to say, “No, wait a second, what are we doing here? These are stories that need to be told.” And in theater, are we not? Don't we learn that because of the archetype of stories that anyone can inhabit that - to tell the story - because those stories are bigger than we are.

28:56 Tony:
And beyond that, extending the artists on stage to the people backstage, to the audiences, there's a lot of work to be done and I respect and applaud the activism and the leadership that you create. You do a lot of that in person, on Zoom. We'll just say that's in person. And you do that through your writing and through your social media.

So, for the people that are interested in making change in creating new possibilities for the art form and the audiences and the industries around these performing arts, what are some of your favorite tools to make change?

29:48 Susan:
That's a big one. I think the engagement of conversation and listening to other people - and that goes back to my dad. And making sure that you give yourself permission, not just to listen and engage, but also to take the self care breaks. I'm bad for that. I say, teacher - physician, heal thyself. Because I can jump in and then I'm go, go, go, go. And then it's like, why am I so tired?

Because it's a lot to take in. And then you feel guilty for saying, “I gotta unplug today and just let things wash through and watch some stupid television or read a dumb book.” Because you need to have that ebb and flow. And I think sometimes people feel - and I do too - well what I do, does it matter? Yes, it matters because it's your corner of your world that then allows the people in that corner to move into their corner. And then they move into your corner, and we start to feed back and forth and that energy just starts to ebb. And with water and air it's in motion and it's going to go further than we realize.

So specifically, I think everybody has to find out what that is for them, but I think the engagement of learning and listening is so crucial. We're never done with that. And let things go down the rabbit hole and just see where it takes you. Sometimes your daybook says, or your calendar says, we're going here today. And then at the end of the day, I turned left and there I went down. And that's okay, especially now because where else are you going to go? I mean, you've got permission right now to do that work and then take that day off, or those few hours off and close your eyes and or go sit on the beach, Tony. Something.

31:58 Tony:
They're slowly opening up. So I'll go breathe in the beach.

I know that you are very, very active - not only have an incredibly successful blog and readership, but also a very, very active community on social media. So how did you create these things? How did you develop them? And how can the listener sort of use their voice in that way?

32:26 Susan:
The blog actually started, I can't even remember how long ago - and it was on another platform until you built my website home and we moved everything on to that lovely site. It was like self therapy for me. It was a way for me to just write a little bit about stream of consciousness, about how I was feeling about the business and about things in the business, about what we needed to do, specifics about singing, and those kinds of things. So I just started writing without expectation.

And sometimes I think that's one of the best things. Know at least the beginning and in the beginning, what is your reason? And it's okay if you don't have one. Because it'll help you keep doing it. Because again, there it's the action of doing.

It doesn't have to be pretty. I remember in the first few - and it's just how I speak. I try to blog like I speak. Somebody actually messaged me and said, “You know that's not a complete sentence.” I think as artists, that's part of it too. You put yourself out there - we all know this, no matter where we are - and you're going to have somebody push back. And it's developing that space between. Again, to say, I can allow that to hurt me and then I can do something with it, but I will not let it stop me from doing what I want to do.

And I know with social media too, I mean, I try to post different kinds of things. And because I'm in so many areas of the business, I do have a lot of corners that I play in, whether it's opera or music theatre or whatever else. So sometimes I go on a tear, and I go on a rant, and other times I'm much more thoughtful.

And I think that's authentically me and I'm not afraid to expose that. I'm not afraid to sometimes not show the most contained of myself. And there will be a few F bombs in there from time to time.

34:53 Tony:
Well, I'm going to include all of your social links and additional resources in the bonuses with this episode.

I also know that this has come up a couple of times of finding the rest, finding the self-care. Listening, exploring, curiosity. So can you share some habits that you've built in to your year, to your month, to your week, to your day? How do you take care of Susan Eichhorn Young?

35:21 Susan:
It's a constant battle. I'm going to tell you right now again, I know I don't always do. But I have found a meditation practice that I actually do daily. That's something that I started after the accident, while I was still in rehab. And I didn't necessarily do it every day, but certainly now I am. Probably the last couple of years, it's been a daily thing for me and that's how I start my day. Before my coffee, I meditate.

35:56 Tony:
Wow. You are intense.

35:57 Susan:
I mean, that's huge for those of you who know me. And I write almost every day in some form. I shouldn't even say that: I write every day in some form. I read everyday and I've always had a crazy appetite for different types of things that I read. So I have three or four things always going at the same time. And I try to vocally ground every day. That also is part of my meditation, but it's also part of my ability to get my breath and my vibration and my body to speak to each other. And that's something that I've done for a long time. But again, it was what really helped me reintegrate after the car accident as well.

36:46 Tony:
When you say you read multiple different things, is that news sources or are those books?

36:51 Susan:
It's everything. I read nonfiction and of course I read lots of blogs and newspapers online. I read a lot of fiction. I read some business books. Thank you, Tony. So it really depends on just where my energy feels like it wants to go on any particular day.

So yeah, it can go a multitude of places. Sometimes I have to really focus that, because I tend to stick too many fingers and too many pies and then the day's gone. Or I can have too many tabs open in my brain and I just need to focus in sometimes too. But I just love the versatility of what's available to learn from. And as my niece, Ruby, would say when she was six, “But Auntie Sue, I’m learning new things every day.” And I still feel like I do.

37:55 Tony:
I love that. So what was the final thing that you said that you do every day? We have meditation.

38:03 Susan:
I vocally ground.

38:06 Tony:
Yes. And so what I want to highlight on that, is that you offer that to your singers, to your studio. So for those that are not yet members of the studio, can you share what does vocal grounding mean, look like, sound like?

38:23 Susan:
So we started to do that online after we were quarantined, and I actually started doing it every day for the studio - we have a group on Facebook. Just so everybody could feel like they were connected. And then as time went on, we eased out of that a little bit. Now we do it once a week and it's a little longer. I keep those recordings so people can go back into the group and find them and use them as they need throughout the week.

What it does or how I view this - it's giving permission to start to feel the grounding in the body. But then to start to release the breath. And in releasing the breath, we start to vibrate and we start to use the voice. And it's not about singing, even though we are using the singing voice, but more to start to mingle breath, exhale with vibration. Yes, it's a little, woo, woo I suppose one could say, but that's who I am.

But it just allows the singers that work with me permission to settle into their bodies and to just give them that space, to hold space for themselves basically, within their bodies and their vibration. Because as singers and as actors too, we're working on intangibles. We work with breath we can't see and vibration we can't see. And stretching musculature that we can't see either. So this is where the neurosis, I think, comes from, that we get piled on as singers. But if we can start to find access into that so that we sense what those are, that's what vocal grounding is to me.

40:09 Tony:
And I want to circle back because I don't think it's woo, woo. I think that when you are an artist, you have to start to connect, mind, body, spirit, all these things. So it sounds to me just like a ritual, an exercise to maintain that connection.

40:24 Susan:
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely.

40:28 Tony:
So you obviously have many wonderful, wonderful things to say, but I want you to be a myth buster here for a moment or shake someone a little bit. What are the biggest myths or misconceptions you see about the performing arts that you just wish people would wake up to?

40:49 Susan:
How much time do we have?

I think the big one always is, there's two that I run across, and one is singer specific and one is performer specific.

Singer specific is not recognizing how much older the singing instrument development actually is. So where those metabolic shifts are, in those intrinsic muscles happen so much later than most singers realize. That's why I always say, as a singer, you're like fine wine. You're just going to get better and better because it's going to take age in order to access physicality and then maintain it so much later. That's the big one with singers.

And the other one that drives me crazy is that idea that if I'm not on Broadway, by the time I'm 25, I might as well just do something else. And that is absolutely ridiculous. I recognize as dancers, you need to use that body as you're younger. But that doesn't mean 25 is over the hill. And certainly as singers, you've barely out of the oven - if you are out of the oven - at 25. Most people are not.

So that idea that younger is better. My answer is another question: For what exactly? Craft takes time. And then I go back to that Miles Davis quote: It takes a long time to learn how to play like yourself.

42:34 Tony:
I want to then go to the other half of, I think, life and talk about the business side. So in terms of entrepreneurship, teaching, coaching, what are the biggest myths and misconceptions you might see there?

42:55 Susan:
Perhaps one would be, “Well, if I'm not working as a performer, then I should teach.” And again, I ask why? Are you drawn to teaching? Is that something that you feel passionate about? It's not one or the other. And this is showing my age, of course. But when I was in my early thirties, one of the things was, “Well you have a child, so you might as well do something else. You can't have a child and have a career.” Really? Watch me.

And we see so many women - and men, obviously - but mothers, especially, with women again - another sexist development, surprise, surprise in that regard. Who decided that? So that's beyond ridiculous. You’ve got to get a little more creative perhaps, but no, you can do whatever you decide you want to do. And I think that's a big one.

And also maybe if you are drawn to teach, it doesn't mean that you've failed somewhere else. Or if you're drawn to coach, that is where you need to be. Wherever you're drawn to you say, “What is that?” And go explore it.

44:23 Tony:
There is so much there that I'm like, yes.

I want to ask you, and I know that you could name a list of names, but I want to give you an opportunity to share who inspires you. An artist, or an entrepreneur that you just look at and you say, “Wow, this person, everyone needs to know about them and follow them?”

44:46 Susan:
Oh God, there's so many Tony. You're one. You are always.

I mean all of my singers, I know that sounds like, pick your favorite child. All the singers that study with me or have studied with me, they all inspire me in some way, shape, or form. One of the things I'm doing right now is the ginormous task of annotating all of the exercises that I work with, with different artists. And all of you - you too by the way - you have all inspired an exercise by what you needed at that time. And so every singer that I have ever worked with has inspired an exercise that I have developed because of what they needed at the time. So that's something - and that's just one aspect of that.

I mean, there are so many presences online, whether they're singers or activists - and both - entrepreneurs that I know personally, or have worked with. The list is horrendously long. One of the young women that recently - and she always has - is Jeri Brown, who studied with me for many years and wrote this wonderful letter to white women that I asked for permission to publish on the blog, that's been getting lots of hits.

And she is such a creative and innovative spirit. She was there with Erin, my daughter, when the car accident happened to make sure we were cared for. And she kind of just said, “Okay, let's do this.” And she's one of those kind: just take charge and get it done. She inspires me daily.

People like Jen Waldman who have just done the pivot of all time to get everything online. She inspires me. People like Matthew Corozine, how he has moved into the online space and how creative he is. Jen Lederer, another one who is a magical unicorn and wonderful person. And people like Rachel Rogers, who's an incredible entrepreneur and inspiration.

But writers like Brené Brown. We all know Glennon Doyle, who wrote Untamed. That's one of the ones I'm reading right now. Brilliant writer. And another writer that I've always loved, Sue Monk Kidd. I'm reading a book right now called The Book of Longings. She writes so incredibly poetically and so passionately. I mean her ability to weave a story is just multidimensional.

From all different walks of life, I mean, I've got my Broadway, Tony award nominated people like Lillias White and Melissa Errico who inspire me daily, to some of my younger ones like Ciara Renée, or Kayla Davion, James T. Lane. I mean, so many of these people - and I hesitate to say their names because I'm missing so many.

But there's just so many. And then my daughter inspires me. My husband inspires me. My family inspires me. I look for that. I don't shy away from being inspired. So I find it everywhere. That's my dad.

48:52 Tony:
Yes you do. And it sounds like - I'm going to link to as many of those names and people - and if we have forgotten anyone, we can also include them as well.

So the next thing I want to ask you is what's coming down the pipeline? What's ahead for you? What can we look forward to?

49:10 Susan:
Well, I mean, I'm doing it day to day. But I am - I'm doing more writing. And maybe there will be a book at some point, and I'm going to say it out loud, right here with you.

So I am writing that damn book. At what point and in what form? We'll wait and see… but little bit by little bit, it's getting done.

And I'm working on creating some more online content. I mean, now it is SEY Voice Online, Worldwide. So, we're able to explore a lot more and allow people who maybe, want to just see what it's about to come on in. And keep developing that and see where it leads.

50:03 Tony:
Yes. And I will hyperlink, but if you are listening right now and you were like, “Oh goodness, I need to work with Susan.” The shortcut is SEY.FYI.

So Susan, now fast forward 10 years. It's 2030. What does your life look like?

50:20 Susan:
I'm old. Well, we're going to be out of quarantine, and I'm going to say that. Well beyond. We will have more innovation theatrically than we've ever had in the history of humankind. I'm going to say that, too. And I see myself doing me, better than I am today.

And whatever that means, that's where it's going to be. So if I can get up this side of the earth and take a breath, even if I have to do my emotional triage and just check in. And every day is a new day and I'm going to keep learning and see where it takes me.

51:14 Tony:
I love.

I want to close - you can take your time with this - but we will include all of your resources and links and things with the episode. But I want you to think about - this conversation is about practical ways that artists can make change. You've highlighted a lot of different ways, and I'm going to highlight them as well, but let's close with one final thought for how the artist can try to change the world.

51:46 Susan:
If you hesitate and say, “No, I don't think I can,” you stop yourself. You rewind, you erase that and say, “Wait a minute. I'm enough. And yeah, I can.” So write that email, send that email to that artistic director or that director or that casting person or that music director that you were afraid to get in touch with before all of this happened, and say, “This is who I am, and I want you to know who I am.”

52:28 Tony:
Thank you, Susan.

And thank you for listening. I want to highlight just a few things she shared. She mentioned early how the accident changed everything. Her life changed instantly. So I ask you, how can we begin to live with that mindfulness and the same sense of purpose without physical trauma or a global pandemic? What is really important? What is your duty right now as an artist and as a human being?

Where does your voice want to go without getting stuck in old paradigms? How can you be pliable, innovative, creative, make adjustments, or follow your curiosity? And that last part, once again, this is who I am. And I want you to know who I am.

Susan and I would both love to get to know you and hear what you thought. So take a screenshot right now and share your takeaway with us. Be sure to tag @SEYVoice and @TonyHowell to make sure that we see it.

Now, if you want to learn more, then pivot-step-ball-change, shimmy, shimmy, shimmy to the link in the description of this episode. I've gathered a list of the resources Susan mentioned, alongside fun photos, videos, audio, and more.

Now, if you are listening to this conversation in real time, make sure that you're signed up for The Life-Changing Magic of Email Excellence. I'm teaching this FREE class the week of July 27th, and it covers digital wellness, inbox management, and writing emails that pay your bills.

Otherwise, never fear, if you want to hop over to TonyHowell.me, you can always get my free brand bootcamp. Make sure that you go to SEY.FYI if you want to learn more about Susan, or send her a message at @SEYVoice on social.

Thank you so much for listening to Conversations with Changemakers. Now, please go out there and use your work to change the world. Maybe you and I can have a conversation about it very soon.

Susan Eichhorn Young is most known as one of NYC’s best voice teachers, SEY is all things voice. She has three diplomas from the Royal Conservatory of Music at the University of Toronto, a Bachelor of Music from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Master of Music from London’s Western University. She’s exceptionally gifted in many mediums and genres: Singer, Actor, Speaker, Voice Over Artist, Writer, Voice Teacher, and Speaking Coach.

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