Monday, March 9, 2009

Growing Bolder's Five Questions With: Elli Fordyce

[ for whole blog post to see the photos, illustrations and videos included in the piece]

5 Questions With: Elli Fordyce

Posted January 28, 2009, 10:14 am in Entertainment

Born and bred in Manhattan, entertainer Elli Fordyce lives by the motto "it's never too late." That phrase is enough to pique GB's interest, and once we got to know what she's all about we knew we needed to share her spirit with you. We actually "discovered" Elli through a Twitter friend, Natalie Tucker Miller, and are thrilled to let you in on her dreams and passions in this edition of 5 Questions With. Be sure to check out previous articles in the 5QW library here. And, if you're on Twitter, follow Growing Bolder, Elli and Natalie!

How are you Growing Bolder?

Doing more as more opportunities come my way, seeking more opportunities and having more of the where with all to interest others in giving me new opportunities (this article being a prime example). It's hard to tell which comes first, the chicken or the egg, but I guess the answer to that is, as I grow bolder and therefore/thereafter "hows" show up (some tiny, some startling), I grow even bolder -- and realize the connection between "growing bolder" and those "hows" more and more. First comes some sort of internal shift, then new and different outcomes appear. The old adage is that insanity is doing the same stuff and expecting different results. I've done a lot of different stuff, particularly in the past three years, and a lot of new results have shown up, and at a ripe age which made them more surprising.

What challenges have you faced along the way? Too many to count both personally and career-wise/opportunity-wise. Earlier I made many choices which didn't lead to what I thought I wanted. One example was at 18 marrying someone with whom it turned out I was a poor fit and who didn't want me to sing in public anymore. I chose to stop pursuing my seedling career "out of deference to my husband" but did so as much because I was afraid I wasn't good enough for success. That mentality was my biggest challenge at which I've been chipping away for 65 years since first getting the notion I couldn't sing well enough. An apparent major challenge (chicken or egg?) had been lack of money to record and promote my career after I came back to it at 57. When the money issue was eased three years ago after a windfall, my momentum began to gather and now I have self-released a first CD, "Something Still Cool," which got good response to hired guns' promotion, another CD, "Songs Spun of Gold," nearly finished, new management and a lot of potential opportunities.

Those gains made have all been costly and could not have occurred this way previously. The plus side of the time factor is that both the person I now am and the story I have to tell at 72 (in March) give me a promotional advantage I would never have had sooner. Worth the wait.Are you happy where you are today? I'm always one foot in now and one foot in where I'm heading and not one to smell the roses much.

Are you where you saw yourself going when you were younger? Where I am and where I'm minimally apt to go were my dreams when young, middle-aged and 60-something but I never expected to accomplish them, as time seemed to be slipping away and I thought it was too little-too late. A large part of why I would slow down or stop my progress in the past was dreams that seemed to be so impossible from where I was. It's an amazing surprise that that has turned around and every little brick in the road means so much to me. Many times I've sat and wept when reading a new review or having some other outcome, large or small, since releasing my first CD. When I completed and released it, I simply wanted to get it done after 8 years on-and-off of work on it, not expecting any of what's happened since to happen.

What advice do you have for someone else that wants to follow his or her passions but is scared?I read the beginning of Barbara Sher's Wishcraft years ago and not being a reader, never finished it, but something grabbed me and is still true for me today. She advised to get something with the essence of what you want the dream for into your present existence. For example, I wanted to be a movie star like June Allison or Doris Day as a kid but it always seemed impossible so I never did anything about it.

Finally, nine years ago, I auditioned for a short student film, was cast, did the role (very professionally, I'll add) and have been auditioning and acting on-camera ever since. When I have more disposable time between singing-career activities, I will refocus on expanding casting connections and auditioning at a higher level of that huge Universe, with the confidence I've gained from years of acting in very small indie and student projects since that first tentative audition. Name your heroes -- who had an impact on your life? My Grandpa Matty, who lived near us when I was 3-5 years old and died when I was six, was my first buddy/supporter/hero and sang to me constantly in those two years. Bobby Darin and I were very close friends in high school for two years before my family moved away. He was the most focused, ambitious and confident person I ever saw and when he had his big break a few years later, I was so elated, watching his career unfold from afar for the next 15 years.

His talent was amazing and somehow, from having nothing in place, he got himself in front of people who could help him realize his dreams. I've taken other inspiration from many many sources, with small and large influence; it's a jigsaw puzzle I've been putting together for a long time. At some points it was seeing someone whose talents I did not respect getting an opportunity or going for it, which inspired me: if they could do it, what was my excuse? For a while I had a famous vocalist's name on a big sign in my apartment, saying "Think [singer's name]," to remind me success isn't always about specific talents or skills, but more about attitude. What are your goals for the next 5 years? My first CD is gaining momentum, and has just been represented at a huge annual industry trade show in Europe. The second CD will be completed soon (first digitally, then as a hard-copy CD), which my new manager will launch and submit for Grammy-Award-nomination consideration, as well as getting ongoing publicity for and booking me. I want to meet, be heard by and appear with Michael Buble. I will reconnect with casting opportunities and relaunch auditioning for on-camera projects on a broader level of the industry than previously, having joined SAG and immediately becoming too busy to pursue much acting. I will resume and expand speaking and coaching privately and in workshops (presenting all or any of: life-coaching, career-coaching, creativity-coaching, jazz-singing-coaching). 10 years? Everything in previous goal-setting exercises is coming together and tho I don't do well with "thinking ahead" or visualizing, this period's goals include being very visible in major media, speaking broadly about these kinds of issues as well as singing and acting on-camera. I'd also love be part of a team of brilliant talents which forwards the big messages and creativity, producing multi-media projects. 15 years?More of the same, see 10 years. Elli is also a talented actress -- click the play button on the videos below to see some of her work!To learn more about Elli Fordyce, be sure to visit her Web site, where you can listen to clips from her latest CD, and get all the news and announcements about her upcoming projects! And check out previous articles in the 5QW library here.

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