Hi! Let’s start with some quick stats – who are you, what do you do and where?
My name is Brianna Ruelas and as a Performing Artist Consultant, I empower musicians with online business strategies to elevate their careers. I am also an Author & Course Creator to Performing Artist Pathway & Mailchimp For Musicians, Mom of Three and Restaurant Owner to Victor Hugo’s alongside my husband. I’m Dallas-based, but work with clients all across the country.
As far as my background and music, I’ve been singing and performing my entire life. When I was growing up, I started out with musical theater because that was the route people took to be involved in music at the time. There weren’t music schools that focused on just music like what it is today. It wasn’t super accessible, so I spent my childhood, high school and eventually studied at Pepperdine University and got a BA in Theater Arts. At that point I was 21, so I revolted against musical theater because I was burnt out. I realized I loved singing, but theater wasn’t my forever path.
Being in Los Angeles at the time allowed me to jump into commercial voiceover acting and I got an agent to follow that path for a bit, but I realized singing was my first passion. I ditched the voiceover arena after a while and went back to singing. I joined a band and then did American Idol season 4. I was a top 100 finalist, back when over 1000,00 people auditioned, but only 100 made it. So, it was a pretty big deal. The line wrapped around stadiums back then, so we would literally grab our pillow and sleeping bag and camp out to get in line just to audition. It was a wild experience and a lot of fun, but I also learned so much about auditioning for a reality tv show.
Shortly after American Idol, my husband and I found out we were expecting our first daughter. It was a very scary and uncertain time because she was not planned and I thought for sure my life and music career was over. It felt like I was finally making some traction in music, but I believed the lie, that since I was pregnant I would no longer be able to officially make music. So, I gave it up for several years because I genuinely thought that I couldn’t balance music and motherhood.
Thankfully, I had a supportive husband who slapped some sense into me. He told me that if I didn’t write, sing or perform music that not only was I going to make him crazy, but that I was going to make myself crazy too. So at that point, we had moved to Dallas and I got back into music. Within a month I booked a gig at the House of Blues and started pursuing music again as well. At the time, I was still working full-time in Advertising sales, so I had to do music on the weekends. I knew I had to do this because I loved music.
I always tell people, If you have a gift or creative talent and you don’t find a way to use it, you will physically and mentally suffer. That creative spark is engraved in you, it’s a part of your fabric, so when you’re not using those gifts and talents I truly believe you and those around you suffer. You’ve gotta find a way to exercise those gifts and talents.
Fast forward several years, gigging on the weekends and being a mom to three girls was just beginning to be too much. So, I stopped gigging and I started vocal and performance coaching and mentoring young artists. I was singing and songwriting, but I didn’t want to focus on the performance side. I ended up becoming a Music Director for a music school in Richardson, which got me into performance coaching young artists and bands and this created the material for my first book, Performing Artist Pathway.
This experience created the substance that I wove through my book that’s all about navigating the highs and lows of a music career. It also details a lot of my journey with American Idol. This book led to opportunities speaking at music festivals and consulting with emerging artists. In addition to this, I also handle the marketing and accounting for my Husband’s restaurant, so I’ve taken a small business approach to the music industry this whole time. That’s how I became an “accidental entrepreneur.”
👠Quick Professional Tidbit:
“I think the number one advice I would give is that people need to look at the long game. This is a journey, things will not happen overnight and don’t be afraid to fail because ultimately as a business person you learn from your failures and refine. When you’re looking at the long game, you’ll want to have clarity and know where you’re going, but at the end of the day, you have to be fluid and flexible enough to understand you are on a journey. Don’t throw the towel in too early. You have to weather the storm. Remember your why.”
Three adjectives you would use to describe you.
Empowered – through education/knowledge – empowering myself with knowledge. When you’re in growth mode you stay informed to make great decisions. I also like to empower others, so I’m constantly seeking ways to encourage and cheerlead others. My natural instinct to empower others.
Empathetic – as a deep feeler and my desire to understand the needs of others.
Hungry – to make a difference and kick ass as an entrepreneurial woman.
What kind of music do you listen to/what’s currently on your playlist?
As a music industry consultant, I listen to it all, but depending on my mood and the time of day, you’ll catch me listening to everything from King & Country, to Drake to Kaleo and The Black Pumas. So, Christian Radio, to Rap (90s Hip Hop) to Pop/Rock and Soul.
What is important to you (values-wise)?
Family – The Sanctity of Marriage & Being an Example of Love, Kindness and Hard Work to my three girls
Simplicity – Living Life Simply, Within our Means, Appreciating the good stuff.
Faith – Never forgetting how far I’ve come thanks to the strength I receive from my faith.
Heart – Operating with love and heart in all I do, whether it’s personal or professional.
It’s Tuesday night at 9pm, what are you up to?
Debating with my husband on what to watch. (It’s one of his ONLY nights off during the week) He likes suspense and action, I like the mindless/low key stuff at the end of the day.
What’s your why? (Your reason for everything you do!)
I wish to empower myself through education and knowledge and empower others to reach their best personal success possible. Being empowered brings Freedom: Freedom to travel. Freedom to Work from wherever I want to work. Freedom to live debt-free. Freedom to provide an opportunity not only to my children and family but to those around me and in my community.
Just freedom. Freedom to do my thing the way I want to.
Where do you go to get inspired?
I have mentors and mastermind groups. I’m a part of an incredible one with a group of authors and we meet several times a year. One of my mentors lives in Las Cruces, so my travels there always bring me clarity and inspiration. Lastly, I am a road warrior. I enjoy hopping in my car with my girls and road-tripping cross country. The open road always gets me excited about current and future projects. On the road is where I received my inspiration (or whisper) to write my book.
Describe an experience where you had to “live outside the box” professionally
I always tell others that I’m an accidental entrepreneur. After my third daughter was born, I quit my cush 401K corporate America job to be a SAHM. My husband had a corporate restaurant job at the time that provided health insurance, so that was our “plan.” Two months after I quit my job, when my youngest was only 6 months, we received the opportunity to open our first restaurant.
In what felt like overnight, we went from the cush corporate income to no income and suddenly, we were thrown into the entrepreneur space. People thought we were nuts to have three kids, no health insurance and no guarantee that the restaurant venture would even work. But we believed we could do it.
Today, we find ourselves five and a half years into it, living out the extreme highs and lows, anticipating and preparing for our next restaurant launch, actively growing my music consulting business, and NOT regretting a single moment.
What was your first professional cliff jump? (and some details)
Writing/Publishing my first book. I was so scared. What if people thought it was crap? What if no one bought it? What if my peers thought it was a joke. It was frightening. But I trusted that even if I impacted one life it would be worth it.
That risk led me to speak at music festivals, creating a full-blown Consulting Business teaching business strategies to indie performing artists, and most recently launching my first online course.
Taking a leap and taking consistent action, although I felt un-ready and wasn’t even sure if the action was the best step, has brought me satisfaction, challenges, and fire. My life is NOT boring and although I’m reminded daily to slow down and simplify, I’m truly enjoying the journey.
The boss that you admire most in your life, whether you know them personally or not, and why
- Marie Forleo – Boss Woman, Thought Leader, Business Expert, Inspirational, Funny/goofy/humble and extremely creative. She also loves 90’s Hip Hop, which is my jam. “Everything is Figureoutable”
- Annie Lennox
- Jen Sincero
- Billy Joel
- Cynthia De Lorenzi
- Sandra Bullock
If you can be remembered with one quote about the professional world, what would it be?
“Life is short. And you’re never too old, too young, too tired or too broke to grow, learn and make things happen for yourself. So get to it already!”
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