EDITOR’S NOTE: Here in the Queen City, when we see a need … we don’t sit idly by. Charlotte has a long-standing tradition of intelligent, enthusiastic and empowered citizens putting their talents to work for their neighbors by founding non-profits and establishing service-oriented initiatives.
But, over time, this can be taken for granted. We often know WHAT an organization does, but not WHY they do it. What was the spark that started it all? Here’s one such story.
Dear Soul Music Co. was established by Charlotte musician Arsena Schroeder. The organization exists to provide resources for the independent artist and strives to be a trusted source for empowering, educating and equipping them for successful careers. Through community workshops, live shows and artist development/coaching, they enable artists to rise up to operate professionally and unapologetically.
But, WHY did Arsena found Dear Soul? What drives her? Here are her own words on that.
When I was eleven years old, I got a burning desire to sing.
I fell in love with music long before, but at this particular age, I was inspired by the teenage girls at church. They were only a few years older than me, and they sang like angels singing with great passion and fervor. I was sure I had the potential to do the same. But, I went many months keeping this desire to myself.
Finally, after an invite to the youth and worship pastor’s house, I decided I would share my desire in hopes of guidance on how to nurture any potential I had. To my surprise, I was asked to sing on the spot. Certainly my rendition of “Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord” needed some work, but I knew with some coaching and a few pointers I could be just as great as the other girls when I got their age.
Whatever happened after that is all a blur now. I’m sure my tender and vulnerable heart blocked it out, but I know that my courage to share a buried desire was met with a lack of interest, harsh criticism, and a conclusion that this might not be for me.
Embarrassed, I left determined I would never EVER try anything like that – ever again.
Many years went by, and I left that desire behind, focusing all of my energies on my academics. Awarded nearly $500K in scholarship funding, I was headed down the corporate America path. The only problem was my passion for music and singing was still very much alive.
During my freshman year of college, I was invited to feature on a friend’s mixtape. I was terrified by the invite, but despite my many reservations, I co-wrote my first song and found that singing was what I really wanted to do.
I decided I’d teach myself to play guitar, write, and learn to navigate the music scene own my own. Within a few months, I was booked as an opening act and flown out to play a show in Washington, DC. Then, I went on to book regional, national and international performances.
I’ve learned that while no one else was responsible for nurturing my potential. I also saw that the competitive nature of this industry often causes many artists to keep each other at arm’s length, reluctant to share their resources. As a result, many fail to reach their fullest potential.
I decided I didn’t want to be that person. So, I founded Dear Soul Music Co. to connect with the deep and most inner parts of aspiring and emerging artists that may be blocked, reluctant, or unsure what their next steps are. We exist to resource and champion them. Through workshops, supportive live shows, and our one-on-one artist development, I set out to provide a safe space, fuel, community and mentorship I so desperately wish I’d had along the way.
— Arsena Schroeder, Dear Soul Music Co.
Dive Into More About Dear Soul Music Co.
Join one of their upcoming workshops and programs.
- Aug. 23 – Sept. 13: Songwriting Workshops – North End
- Aug. 16 & Sept. 20: Acoustic Concert Series – North End
- Sept. 7-Nov. 23: The Artist’s Way: Creative Cluster Meet Up
- Nov. 15 – Dec. 6: Artist Branding Workshops – North End
- Oct. 11, Nov. 25 & Dec. 13: Acoustic Concert Series – Pineville
Check out their Unplugged Live concert schedule & buy tickets online.
Visit the Dear Soul Music Co. Web site.
Follow them on Instagram.
Or, take a look on Facebook.
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