How to Juggle a Music Career and a Startup Company: Advice From Marchan Noelle

marchellPhoto courtesy of the artist
Musicians are creatives – they're boundary pushers, ceiling crashers, and big thinkers. The genius albums and compositions we love come from bold, imaginative minds. But being a musician doesn't mean limiting your innovation to just music. Marchan Noelle is an accomplished, prolific musician who recently founded her own startup company, 2nd Generation Hippie LLC. With an undying passion for music and expanding her talents, Marchan embraced what she was good at already – music – and started working with partners to explore new business ventures. Her entrepreneurial spirit has already led her to major projects with her startup. She's got a feeling the company's going to be big, and we're right there with her. We caught up with Marchan on what inspired her to pursue a startup and how she balances her music with her business.

Through your pursuits as a musician, you've decided to embrace entrepreneurship as a another facet of your music career. What inspired that?

The term "second-generation hippie vibe” was coined because so often I was asked what kind of music I play and found myself listing five or more genres I'm most influenced by. Even after going into my explanation, whoever was asking still wasn't any closer to knowing what my sound was than before they'd asked. My mom was the one that suggested I just come up with a new genre entirely, and since she's always called me her second-generation hippie – obviously she was the original hippie in this equation  it stuck.
The suggestion to make "second-generation hippie" an entity came later in the trademark process for the genre and my logo design. I figured, why not – I'm an audio engineer and have dreams of building my own recording studio someday. My inspiration to work in film and other aspects of the industry came after a post-production course I took at Musicians Institute, so it only made sense to have all these projects fall under one company. Thus, 2nd Generation Hippie LLC was born.
To elaborate upon the definition of "second-generation hippie vibe," I can describe it this way: a regeneration of music's quintessential sound from two decades during the '60s and '70s, sound that transcended the listener into a realm creating an indelible impression unlike any other music movement in history. To recapture the essence of music content and quality in its most realistic form possible. That is the second-generation hippie vibe.

What services can musicians and music lovers expect to receive from your startup, 2nd Generation Hippie LLC?

This company will have many branches, but everything will be rooted in simply making and supporting art and music. Most of all, it's a production company. The first project we're working on is a documentary film that will take the viewer through the struggles and successes of musicians' everyday lives toward realizing their personal legends here in Los Angeles. I know how extensive my journey has been thus far, and I also know people from all over the world who have come here to do the exact same thing. Each story is incredibly unique, and I have a personal admiration for every artist and band who will be included in the film. These stories without a doubt deserve to be told.

What are the biggest similarities you've noticed between musicianship and entrepreneurship? Any differences?

Both require vision and dedication. Music is something I've always known I wanted to pursue. I've put many hours into honing my craft as a musician and artist, whereas the current directions in which the company is going – film and music production  are more of an uncharted territory so far. Collaborations are also something in the current documentary process that I haven't considered as often as I'd like to in music. Similarities prevail though; ideas continue evolving and growing as I do the same.

How do you balance your work as a musician and as an entrepreneur? What are your top tips for others trying to do the same?

A lot of scheduling and writing things down in planners so I don’t forget! My team at the moment is my interim manager/financier/mom and a cinematographer, Ricky England, who's a close friend and musician himself. He's doing his thing, teaching guitar, and working on other camera-related projects. My days are usually filled with working onsubmissions through Sonicbids and TAXI, trying to maintain my social media presence, writing, and of course practicing and performing more gigs than ever recently.
Luckily, we've been able to coordinate several free days or even partial days in the week where we can grab B-footage of the city or someone's live performance. It's been great that everything is very music-related and fun. To anyone else with multiple ventures going on:
  1. Wake up early!
  2. Check your emails first thing in the morning and reply to the crucial ones right away. Don't let them sit, because you will forget!
  3. Invest in a planner. I bought three: one that's year-specific and portable, one that's not year-specific, and a nice leather binder tablet for notes. #plannerlife

What kind of impact has being a Sonicbids member had on your music career and startup?

Sonicbids has been instrumental in getting online radio play and reviews for my music. I owe my press and play to you guys, seriously! I'm really happy that a platform like this exists. The simple EPK really allows the music to speak for itself, rather than worrying about what to say when pitching only to never hear back and wonder if it's wise to run the risk of being annoying by submitting again. It's tough out here for us indies, and Sonicbids eases that anxiety for me quite a bit! Because of submitting my music through Sonicbids, I've gotten rotation on Women of Substance Radio & Podcast (a new song each month!), Indie Authority, Radio Crystal Blue Podcast, write-ups in Skope magazine, Muzic Notez, and Music Zeitgeist, as well as a fistful of other placements. Most of which I hadn't known about before signing up. So, thanks

Where do you hope your startup will be in five years?

Wow, 2nd Generation Hippie LLC in five years. Parts one and two of the documentary will be well-established by then, and possibly even be made into an ongoing series. Our goal is to submit it to film festivals and indie theaters. It's going to be big, I can feel it. In five years, I'll have my studio/indie label and be producing my own music and recording others as well. We will have built more of a team and perhaps have an artist or two signed. I want to produce more videos – mainly music videos – and start a session series where guest artists perform a few songs with a gnarly back drop somewhere, well… gnarly.

What's the number-one piece of advice you wish you had when you were first starting out on your music career path?

For the past few months, I've been performing at the Crystal Jam showcase in Burbank and have recently been appointed the A&R of the event to bring in new bands. During this time, I've become good friends with the host, Kristine Mirelle. She's hands-down the most driven musician I've ever met and is a master of her craft, as well as creating amazing opportunities for herself. Her mind is always tuned to maximum potential. About a month ago, she was giving me all kinds of great knowledge and advice. She was telling me how she started a crowdfunding page, before there ever was such a thing, to travel each continent of the world playing her music. One thing in particular stood out. It instantly made me think of the beginning of my independent artist career two years ago when I thought the only goals to set were ones I deemed attainable, thus limiting myself from the real possibilities. I wish someone would have told me this then, but I'm glad she planted the seed in my head that day. She insisted, "Ask big questions; you'll get big answers."
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