Today we’d like to introduce you to Indi Tyton.
Indi, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Music has always been a big part of my life. I come from a musical family. I am a third generation singer. Growing up, I did participate in several choirs and singing with friends, yet I had no plans of being an artist and spent several years working on the business side of music, prior to discovering that being a singer/songwriter was a part of my life’s purpose. Once I figured out the direction I needed to head in, I spent time cultivating my sound and I patiently waited for the right time to release my first album. The funny thing is that after getting married and having two children, I realized that an ideal time would never come and I released my first album, Society’s View, in 2010. The album was three years in the making. I actually wrote and recorded the songs during both of my pregnancies…what an experience! That album will always hold a special place in my heart for that reason.
Fast forward to 2019, I am currently preparing to complete my second album tentatively entitled, Naturally Me, which is something I am very excited about.
Over the past five years, I have also started working on advocacy projects in the arts community. One of the most notable would be participating in The Recording Academy’s District Advocate program (The Grammys). I am a member of the Atlanta Chapter and I had the pleasure of joining a group of fellow members to meet with Congressman John Lewis to discuss The Music Modernization Act, which was signed into office on October 11, 2018. It was a great accomplishment for the music community yet there is a lot more work to do, and I plan to be as involved as I possibly can.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The road that I have been traveling on as an artist has been far from smooth. For years I struggled with finding a work/life balance that would be “ideal” for my artist career. Most of the jobs that I had took up more time than I expected, which left less time for me to focus on making music. After years of being frustrated with it, I started to ask myself how I could use the corporate and academic skills I had acquired over the year to create a program for artist. The bottom line was that as an independent artist, if my “day job” was not going to be singing (right now), I wanted to start a business that would be of service to my fellow artists in the music and film industries.
After attending a bunch of entertainment conferences and being active in several well-known music and film organizations, I started to notice a trend.
There were lots of artists that lacked the leadership skills necessary to truly create longevity in their careers so, in 2011, I decided to go back to graduate school to study Entertainment Business, ultimately receiving a third master’s degree from Full Sail University. I wanted to know more about the entrepreneurial side of running an entertainment business. I wrote my first business plan while in that degree program. Then in 2015, I took it a step further and entered a Ph.D. program in Organizational Leadership. I am currently a doctoral candidate and my dissertation research focuses on women leaders in the entertainment industry. One of the most exciting things that have happened while being in my doctoral student is that I created a leadership program for artist and started an organization called Entertainment Leadership Academy, LLC.
Before we get to the next question, I just want to let the people reading this know that it is never too late to decide to change your career if it is something you truly feel in your heart you should do. Prior to becoming an artist, I had already earned a bachelor’s degree (Hampton University) and two master’s degrees (Fisk University and Middle Tennessee State University). None of them were entertainment related but I eventually found a way to integrate them into my career as an art entrepreneur. I received a lot of flack about going back to school but you know what I have found out? Experiences are never a waste of time, just building blocks!
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Indi Tyton – what should we know?
I consider myself an #ArtisticScholar, which means that I decided that I would not limit myself because I would not be authentic by doing so. Can I do it all at the same time?…Maybe not, yet the key is for me to be strategic in my approach and figure out ways for my musical career and businesses to be connected in a way that the public can understand how and why they are both important for me to be a part of. It is a work in progress!
As I mentioned earlier, Entertainment Leadership Academy, LLC, is an educational organization that focuses on helping artists and professionals in the entertainment industry (primarily music and film), develop the leadership skills necessary to create sustainable careers. The programs are still in development and will kick into high gear in 2020 after I finish my Ph.D. later this year. My goal is to assist as many artists as possible in developing leadership strategies for their artistic careers. I plan to work with other professionals to provide a holistic approach to career development for our participants.
Artists are literally walking businesses. Although we may partner or hire experts to assist with different aspects of our businesses, to move our careers forward, ultimately, it is up to us artists to operate from a point of leadership! The more artists that are trained, the fewer instances where we will hear about where an artist was taken advantage of due to a lack of knowledge.
In spite of all that I do, I still consider myself an Artist first! I own my own entertainment organization, Famous on Purpose, LLC, as well. It is still in the start-up phase and I am using the knowledge that I have acquired to also solidify my legacy. I am practicing what I preach!
My goal is to also use my experiences as an independent singer/songwriter as an example of taking control of my career direction and not limiting myself. The thing that I am most proud of is having the courage to unapologetically be my whole self! I figured out a way to make it work for ME and that is what I want to do for others. I come from a sincere place with what I want to do for artists. I have taken the time to educate myself in leadership, as an artist, I am honing my craft and building my own art businesses.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Faith has played a very meaningful role in my life. I have found that as long as I am working in the purpose(s) that God has revealed to me that I should be doing, I am and will be okay. What I mean is that although I do have times that I may not have everything that I want, I always have what I need. Of course, I have to put in the work, that goes without saying. It may sound cliché, but seriously, that straightforward approach to life has worked for me time and time again.
With that being said, I am blessed with a village filled with ancestors, parents, sisters, aunts , uncles, cousins, friends and mentors that have always showed me support and encouraged me even when they did not quite understand where I was going with my career (It took me a long while to figure it all out!). My family has invested in me and supported me through some pretty challenging times.
My husband is my biggest cheerleader. We were friends years before we got married and he has always been a great sounding board and collaborator. His entrepreneurial approach to his own art motivated me to adopt an independent artist business model. The love I receive from him and our children daily motivates me and keeps me going.
- Website: www.indityton.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @indityton
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/IndiTytonMusic/
- Twitter: @indityton
Images 5 & 6: Neva Hodges