We had the good fortune of connecting with Helena Holleran and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Helena, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk is a friend of mine. Over the past 4 years of performing out live and striving to make music my full time career, I have learned that a healthy serving of risk on a regular basis can actually improve your quality of life in every capacity. I used to fear failure or embarrassment just as much as the next human, but as I have continuously put myself in vulnerable and uncomfortable situations – such as performing for a live audience or voicing my ideas in a writing session – I have given myself the opportunity to learn by doing through a form of exposure therapy. I’m not the best musician, there is always room for improvement. The road of growth requires risk. At this point I have given myself enough evidence to know that failing isn’t nearly as scary as willfully inhibiting my own growth and living with the monotony of it. I’m looking forward to my next big failure because I know I will be one step closer to my next big success.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m just a girl who has been fortunate enough to have a passion in life. I’ve always known music is my passion since I was a young kid. Being exposed to it in my household growing up definitely laid down some serious roots in my soul. My dad is a guitar player (the first instrument I gravitated towards) and my mom plays piano & sings, I got more of my 60’s & 70’s rock n roll/Folk/Latin influence from my dad, and my soul/jazz/funk influence from my mom. I find it most natural to communicate with the world through writing music and singing what I feel rather than speaking it. What I’m most proud of is how far I have come from being a shy girl terrified of her own shadow to now performing live 3-4 times a week, releasing a 10 song album and creating music with some of my heroes. I’ve always had to work. As soon as I turned 16 I got a job working as a hostess at a restaurant in town and I worked in the restaurant industry for the next 3 1/2 years. I think working in the service industry taught me how to work with all kinds of different personalities. It definitely gave me more resilience too. But the real music business insight came my senior year of high school when I interned at this rad local label in Encinitas called Surf Dog Records. Working with them taught me invaluable skills I translated into my own independent music career shortly after. Skills like how to market new releases, manage a music business on social media, coordinate bookings, & license music to tv & film, to name a few. I’m still honing these skills but planting those seeds when I did was the perfect foundation for having the confidence to email & call almost every venue in town asking them for a chance to let me play. I couldn’t afford college so I decided to follow my passion. Eventually I earned myself a slot on the Acoustic Spot roster which has given me so many opportunities to play in San Diego. I’m so thankful to have linked up with them and also extremely thankful for sponsorship provided by QSC Audio – they really are a huge reason why I was able to start playing out live on my own. I essentially have learned by doing. All the musicians I have met and collaborated with along the way have taught me the odds and ends from the industry. There is so much to learn from everyone. The inspiration between musicians and music lovers is abundant.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would take them to the taco stand! I’m a sucker for their camarones burrito with their creamy cilantro & chipotle sauce. So. Good. Then we would definitely eat our burritos at the beach – maybe Stonesteps or Beacons if in Encinitas or Windansea if in La Jolla. Next stop would be the thrift shop. Captain Helm in Oside or really any Goodwill. Then we’d go skate the PB boardwalk for sunset and get drinks at Novo in OB. If it’s Sunday we’d probably round off the night with a Panama 66 Funk jam in Balboa Park. Can’t wait till Sure Fire Soul Ensemble can start those jams back up. Those were the days!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to dedicate this shoutout to my friends & family who continue to be my #1 fans and support system! You guys know who you are – my love for you is endless!
Amanda Kee Collin Worrel Colin Leibold