Reigniting My Career with iCadenza

Laure de Marcellus, mezzo soprano.

Laure de Marcellus has a lot to be excited about these days. She’s just completed a very successful fundraising campaign for her Pauline Inspired project, an album and set of trans-Atlantic concerts with her longtime duo partner Alberto Urroz featuring music by and inspired by Pauline Viardot.  

Juggling her own successful projects with upcoming opera roles and a busy family life, this music entrepreneur seems to have it all.  

But how did she get here? 

Is she blessed with natural business savvy and a fantastic network?  

Let’s ask her and find out more!  

Here is Laure sharing her story in an interview with iCadenza: 

My life before 

When I went to music school I had this idea that you just get good at what you do and everything will sort itself out. I think it was actually, frankly, the attitude in every business. That was also the way the market was. If you were good at what you did, you would get a job. That was fine. Unfortunately, it’s not like that anymore

I had a career when I was younger and I really put it in on the backburner for my kids, which is what I wanted. I had always said, “I’m not going to try to have babies and a career at the same time.” I just said no. I want to be with them. That’s important to me. 

Now that I decided I wanted to come back into my singing career, obviously, time had gone by. And that’s hard. 

So it was really helpful to have iCadenza because they’re so supportive

In my own mind and in a lot of places, I would have heard, “Just forget it. It’s not possible. That’s not going to work. You’ve been out of it for too long.”  I had all these fears.

It was a perfect thing to join the iCadenza programs. 

Even though there was a question in my mind of whether the money was worth it because I looked at the price of a program and thought “well, right now, my music is not bringing me enough money to pay for this.” But you really have to think ahead and say, “I’m investing this money because I need the help and the support.”

Finding Support

I’ve known iCadenza for a long time and I always find it super helpful to work with them. I did both the Idea to Impact and Be Your Own Agent programs recently. 

When that last program finished, I was talking to Sarah and Julia about how it would be interesting to have coaching as a follow-up to those courses. Coaching can be very expensive and a huge investment in time. 

They said that we’re going to come up with a way to do that, which would be less expensive and more in a group setting. The same kind of idea where you have a community, where you have support, and you have the tools to continue in the same direction as with these other programs. 

I was very interested in that and they did come up with that idea – the Insider’s Club. They presented it and so I joined. 

I knew I had the Pauline Inspired project but I also knew I wanted to develop my career in general. 

I knew because I’ve had the experience of how supportive and helpful the iCadenza members are, whether it’s the iCadenza team themselves or just the community they create and the people they attract. 

It’s really interesting because in every group project I’ve done with iCadenza, I’ve met very interesting musicians who were willing to be vulnerable and willing to learn from each other and super generous with their ideas and their feedback. And it’s just been amazing.

Pauline Inspired

It got solidified when COVID started, and we realized we couldn’t perform together and the world had stopped. No one was doing live performances. I talked to Alberto and I said – I’ve always wanted to do a recording with you, and now is our chance because there’s nothing else happening. It wasn’t more than that at the beginning. 

We really liked these two songs by Pauline Viardot and it’s her bicentenary next year. When we started looking at all the things she had composed, we also realized that a lot of music had been dedicated to her. Then I started getting really interested and reading her biography. I realized she was at the center of an amazing group of artists. Not only did they have extreme admiration for her as a singer, which I knew, but also as a composer and collaborator. She literally ran opera rehearsals for these people when they were away or created piano scores from orchestral scores. She was not just sitting on the sidelines and cheering them on. She was really a respected collaborator. 

Then I had this idea. We can do a recording where we would do her music and music that she inspired at the same time. That was the basis of the whole project. Then we recorded this music and we wanted to perform it. 

We started performing it and it grew and grew up to the point where we now have connected to her own family – her great granddaughter. She wrote a book about her and we would like to do a show about her. It became bigger and bigger. 

Now we have a voyage of discovery of this amazing personality. We are able to share her personality, her influence, and her music with more and more people. 

Fundraising with the Insider’s Club

When I began fundraising for the project, I was going to set a goal that was about three times smaller. The Insider’s Club helped me think bigger. It helped me be creative about how I do my outreach. 

In terms of outreach, really to think bigger, to be creative about it, to have new ideas about how to do it. All of those came into play 

Just the offer of sheer support when something isn’t working. Or just the fact that I’m going to go to a call and share a success. That’s exciting, right? Because your family gets tired of hearing about your project. So I have people who are going to cheer me on. This is great.

I knew from experience previously with iCadenza that I was going to find that community of support. So that’s really important. 

It’s a really interesting dynamic because Sarah and Julia lead the calls as coaches, but then there are the other members. And very often you get an idea from someone else, or they point something out, or they talk about their experience and you think, ‘oh, you know, I can do that.’ So, it’s more than just the coaching. There’s something else that happens within the group that’s really helpful. 

It makes everyone feel good because we’re wired as human beings to love to give things. So if you were going to an insider’s Club where the coach tells you everything you need to know and you’re just like, amen, amen and you go home and that’s it. I think it would be way less satisfying than feeling that you can contribute something as well. There’s a give-and-take. I think that’s a beautiful element that the club brings. 

Takeaways

In terms of my career and working with the iCadenza, I feel like so much has changed because of my attitude and of the things I learned how to do, which weren’t that complicated. It was little by little, just changing my mindset. And it’s just really in my mind.  

I got to fill a gap because they talk a bunch about the entrepreneurship side of the business

I think for young musicians, this is super important to learn about – the fact that you are an entrepreneur if you’re a freelance musician. Not to be afraid of this idea because it’s so drilled into us – you’re an artist and money shouldn’t be a big concern. 

Money isn’t at all what it is about, of course, but it’s part of it, and you need to look at your assumptions about it. I think iCadenza really helps with that. At least I know, it’s helped me a lot. 

Prior to working with iCadenza, I definitely had no idea about how to conduct my business at all. I’m not saying that I have it all at all now, but at least I have more of an idea.  I’ve had a lot of success just networking with the tools that iCadenza gave me. How do you email people? How do you reach out? 

I used to think, “I don’t want to be pushy. I don’t want to annoy people.” Now I’m looking at things differently. You’re inviting people – you’re asking them to participate in something they can be part of and there’s nothing wrong with that. So, I’ve learned a ton.

I think in my mind, it’s like a perfect storm. 

I was in a place in my life where it’s now or never. 

Now I know this is what I need. 

It’s just been really amazing. 

At the very beginning – all these exercises with mission statements and, “where do you see yourself in ten years” – those were so difficult for me. 

But now after two or three years, I can see that iCadenza helps me dream. 

I have a very different feeling everyday of optimism and abundance about my career. 

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