Bridgette Cooper

@bricooper.mezzosoprano

@harbourforthearts

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EP 167: Bridgette Cooper (Autogenerated)

[00:00:00] Dane Reis: [00:00:00] you booked it. Episode 167. Okay. Let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Bridget Cooper. Are you ready for the spree?

[00:00:16]Bridgette Cooper: [00:00:16] I am

[00:00:17] absolutely ready for this.

[00:00:19] I am over the moon. Excited.

[00:00:21] Dane Reis: [00:00:21] Ah, yes. Bri is an award winning classical singer actress, recording artists and owner of seven to eight productions, a performing and creative media arts and a lifestyle brand.

[00:00:33] She is also the host of the critically acclaimed podcast and TV series Harbor for the arts formerly known as. Opera luscious and Cooper and company podcast in 2018 and 2020 Brie ran for United States Congress with a platform that included the importance of the arts in the global economy, honored with being named 25 women.

[00:00:55] Changing the world by conversations, magazine, Bri is on a mission to keep the classical arts, including opera. Relevant Bree. That is a quick intro of who you are and what you’ve done, but why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself, fill in the gaps and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry.

[00:01:18] Bridgette Cooper: [00:01:18] Oh, sure. Thank you for having me on your show, Dane. I really appreciate it. I’m so excited to be part of your amazing podcast. You’ve done such great work with promoting the arts. I think it’s wonderful. Um, and I hope you get everything that you want and more out of, out of the work that you do and the commitment to the arts.

[00:01:35] That you have. Um, so as for me, I started singing when I was about 12 years old in junior high, and I was kind of like a late bloomer, but my music teacher at the time she happened to hear me. Sing. And she reached out to my parents. Uh, she ended up giving me a solo and she’s at one of the school concerts.

[00:01:57] And she said, um, you know, I think you need to come here her. She has a very unique voice and, you know, Long story short, they went to hear me, they thought, Oh, wow, Bridget, you should really, really think about a career in music. You have such a beautiful voice. It takes a lot of work. Um, and they were just my biggest supporters.

[00:02:15] My music teacher was such a big support. Um, when it came to high school, they helped me, um, start the audition process. I learned a lot of different Arias. And I sang my first opera when I was in eighth grade in, in junior high. And so it was a moment that I will never forget. And I, um, hold the opera, Carmen, very dear to my heart because that was the first opera that I ever did in junior high.

[00:02:42]Um, long story short, I, um, went on to. Work I as well do my masters, uh, sorry. My bachelor’s at East Carolina university, uh, where I majored in vocal performance. And. , you know, I won a lot of awards there for singing and, um, it was something that I really loved doing. It was very difficult for me because everyone else had started in music when they were like three or four, but I was starting music and seriously studying music at the age of like, 16 when I started college.

[00:03:15]Um, so I was really behind, it was really hard work for me. People think that, you know, they hear, Oh, you’re a musician, or you’re an opera singer you just learned to sing, but it’s so much more than that as you know, you know, because you, you started out as a classical singer yourself. Um, and so I had to work really, really hard, um, to not only pass like theory and sight singing classes, but I had to work.

[00:03:38] Really hard to, um, learn the skills that were needed to become a successful classical singer, which is what I really wanted to aspire to. Um, and singers like Marian Anderson hearing stories from my mom about how she went to the concert in 1939, that inspired me and stuck with me. And I just always wanted to, um, You know, just kind of aspire to have that kind of stage presence.

[00:04:04] And, um, you know, after I finished college, I ended up, um, going on to live in New York. I studied with a wonderful voice teacher. There did a lot of auditions. I booked my first international tour and then I went on to. I study music again at the American Institute of musical musical studies in Austria. Um, after that I started, uh, with the Broadway national tour of showboat.

[00:04:30] So I started touring, um, and my life was on the road for probably 10, 15 years, and I just kinda . Kept going, kept going. Um, and then it wasn’t until, you know, I decided I really needed to kind of settle down and I wanted to do more with. Just giving back. Um, and I received a grant to teach opera to underserved areas in the Washington DC area.

[00:04:56] And it was like a $10,000 grant. It was a great experience for a lot of kids that would never have probably thought about. Being entertained or in music as far as opera is concerned or singing opera. And some of the, um, some of the children were actually in, in gangs and for them to, especially the young, the young men, um, for them to kind of come around and start really enjoying Mozart.

[00:05:21] And I would always tell them, you don’t have to love it, but I want you to be able to be in a conversation and say, Oh, I know that opera, or I know Mozart, I don’t really care for this opera or I like this opera because of, so I, that was my biggest goal for them. And I think just kind of leaving it there, where they felt like they had a lot of control in deciding whether it was for them opened up a whole new, just a whole new.

[00:05:49] Idea of what it means to be engaged in the arts. And so I got a lot of critical acclaim for that. Um, I won new teacher of the year outstanding teacher of the year. Um, and then, you know, moving forward, just continuing with my solo career, um, Like you said I was 25 women changing the world by conversations magazine.

[00:06:08] I won an alumni award. Um, I was part of NASDAQ’s and ignite your ambition, um, campaign. And I’ve won several awards of singing. The Paul Robeson national vocal competition, uh, Marjorie Lawrence international competition, the bell belt cocktail competition, uh, the wide WCA studio club competition. Um, and so it was just been a really, you know, expansive career for sure.

[00:06:33] It’s hard work. Um, have some with a variety of different opera companies. Um, I’ve done television and like you mentioned, my production company is something I started in 2013, uh, with the aspiration of bringing more. Performing and creative arts to the mainstream platform and not in a way where it, you know, it just, uh, insult someone that someone’s intelligence.

[00:07:02] I just don’t. I just think that we can all learn about other languages. We can all learn about opera without this kind of gimmicky thing that we’ve seen over the past, you know, you know, five and six years. And I’m sure it’s to get people in like a houses, but then as we were talking about it earlier, the other problem is that it’s not affordable.

[00:07:24]You know, and so what I want to do, and definitely what I’ve been doing with the production company is highlighting those companies that are in our backyards, that don’t get enough recognition, those opera companies that hire wonderful singers, uh, with international experience. And they are putting on operas and making it affordable for families to go to.

[00:07:45]Um, so it started out with a blog talk radio show, and then it went on to, um, television show, which aired in, um, New York. Uh, Washington, DC, Maryland, and Los Angeles. Um, and you know, probably over this past year, I had so many different people reach out to me expressing their interest in what I was talking about with performing arts.

[00:08:10] And then I realized that audience grew. To include people that were in the performing arts and the creative arts and all sorts of, um, classical, serious, serious performing artists. I mean, I mean, people that have trained and work hard. I mean, I mean, all artists work hard, but I think it’s, it’s a different level when you actually, um, commit.

[00:08:31] To your craft and you spend years and years paying for the, um, paying for the education and whatever media events, workshops, or classes. Um, so that’s what I, I definitely wanted to do and be more inclusive for the performing arts and the creative arts in general. , uh, in 2018 and 2020, I actually ran for United States Congress. And I included, um, on my platform, the positive impact of the arts, um, in the global economy and the national and global economy. So that was something that’s very important to me because as you know, the arts is getting cut in budgets.

[00:09:08]Um, across the country in the United States. Um, so it was important for me to at least have a platform, start talking to people that can make the decisions, be part of making those decisions. And I had a really strong showing. Um, so, um, that’s yeah, that’s just a little bit about me.

[00:09:25] Dane Reis: [00:09:25] brilliant. I love your journey. Loved her story. And I. I am amazed at how much of an advocate you are for the arts. It’s so amazing. So inspiring. Thank you for all the work you’re doing and let’s dig into this first section here and Bri look, I’m a sucker for a good quote. What is your favorite quote?

[00:09:47] You’d like to share with everyone

[00:09:49]Bridgette Cooper: [00:09:49] Oh about that. Let’s see my favorite quotes. Um, there is one that I really love and it is by it’s one that I heard recently actually. Um, . It’s um, , music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and a life to everything. And it’s, it’s by Plato, which I’ve probably heard over the years, but it just took on even more meaning, especially during this pandemic, and how much time everyone has had to just kind of reflect on where they are in the arts, what their commitment, you know, you know, and recommit themselves.

[00:10:26] As artists. Um, so that’s one of my favorite quotes.

[00:10:30] Dane Reis: [00:10:30] Oh, that’s really good. I don’t think that one is being on the show yet. Really liked that quote and. Well, let’s move on to this next section here. And Bree, of course, you’re an entertainer, I’m an entertainer. And I think that you’d agree that this industry can be one of the most subjective, brutally, honest, personally, emotional industries in existence.

[00:10:51] And you know, you know, as well as I, that in order to create and have a successful career in this industry, like your having now takes a lot. Of dedication and hard work. And while, yeah, there’s an outrageous amount of fun and excitement doing what we do. There are also our fair share of obstacles, challenges, and failures.

[00:11:10] We are going to experience and we’re going to have to move forward through. So tell us, what is one key challenge, obstacle or failure you’ve experienced in your career and how did you come out the other side better because of it.

[00:11:24]Bridgette Cooper: [00:11:24] Oh, I think for me, um, I think it’s one of the, one of the basic ones of trying to balance everything and, When you realized that you go through this audition process, you get rejected. Um, but then you realize, Oh my goodness. My career is in my own hands. And. You can’t be an artist that goes to an audition and everything realize, and is hinges upon one person saying you’re fabulous.

[00:11:56] You’re great. We’re going to hire you because you get hired. And then after that, you might not be the flavor of the month anymore. You might not get another job. So one of the difficult things I think for me has always been. Making sure. I have educated myself with how to start my own business, be, be an arts advocate, be an entrepreneur in the arts, which is why I decided to get my MBA.

[00:12:23] So I really had an understanding about business and, um, I think that’s kind of what has helped me stay afloat. Um, but the other part of it is, is just. You know, not having as much access to things in general. Um, you know, we are all talking about, um, social justice now, what that looks like being a classical singer of color, which I’ve never really thought too much about.

[00:12:48]Um, but having those conversations now and then just realizing. That I’ve always felt like I’ve had to do my own thing. I have never been able to rely on one thing, one agent, one manager, or one opportunity. And I think that’s kind of how I have had to keep moving myself forward, which the hard part is that you don’t get enough, um, uh, validity or, um, you know who you are as an artist sometimes doesn’t seem valid because they’re not enough people that are following you on Twitter or following you on social media, but yet you’re working your behind, off behind the scenes. You know, I’m in the studio once a month, doing CDs and EPS and creating these and doing the podcast and having my production company and working on plays and all of that.

[00:13:34] And sometimes if you, you know, can’t find it in the budget to pay for a PR person. You know, it’s, it’s a bit disheartening when you feel like, Oh wow. I put all this effort into stuff and people don’t even know that I’m here. So that’s the part that’s is still really difficult, but it’s also the part that I’m glad that I realized long before the pandemic years before the pandemic that, um, What you do as an artist is up to you and that you have to be able to have something that’s yours, that you can grow, that you can water over time so that when the phone stops ringing, because it will, you still have your thing that can.

[00:14:16] Create income for you that can create some sort of happiness for you in this field where it’s just a ton of rejection, but because of the gift and the accountability, you have to share your gift. You know, it’s not a matter of, Oh, I’ll just do something else. It’s just not even in your vocabulary. You know, all artists understand that.

[00:14:39]Um, but I think that’s the biggest thing. Making sure you have something that’s yours, no matter what it is. Even if you’re a musician and let’s say you have a talent outside of music that has to do with maybe organizing it is so important to build a business organizing or, um, I spoke with. Well, my other podcast, I spoke with a singer classical singer who is also an artist.

[00:15:03] I’m a visual artist and she is now she’s created her own business, just doing a lot of opera, um, opera associated, um, gifts and graphic arts and prints all about opera. And I’m like, Oh my gosh. And so she’s been able to make. A nice little living for herself outside of the opera when the phone stopped ringing or when they’re not ringing enough.

[00:15:28] So I think that’s kind of how I came out on the other side, knowing early that, you know, I’m always going to have to have something going and, um, you know, I want other artists to realize that, you know what, it might be, um, nine to five job that has to keep you going that’s okay. Um, you know, you just have to make sure that you can do what you need to do as an artist.

[00:15:48]Dane Reis: [00:15:48] For sure. I’m so glad that you talked about that in the, that crossover that us as artists have with entrepreneurship. In my view, they are almost one in the same. We are in many ways the product and or service being sold. And just like, if you sell Rubik’s cubes, you need to find that market within the world that wants them.

[00:16:13]Right. And.  not only does it have the parallel there, but I think a lot of entertainers and entertainment professionals, we don’t give ourselves enough credit for all of the attributes that we have that make entrepreneurial-ism such a. A natural thing to step into. We are already willing to work really, really, really hard on something very specifically with before we even see any direct income pay off we’re already, usually I should say, open to taking on a bit more risk.

[00:16:45] Right. Right. And we also have the confidence do a find. Our markets. So we really have all of this stuff ready to go. I think you just have to switch it in your mind to say, yeah, I can also be an entrepreneur because I am an entrepreneur and I can actually take my skillset and monetize it or find a way to monetize it in a way that isn’t simply waiting for someone to give you a contract.

[00:17:10]Bridgette Cooper: [00:17:10] Yes. Completely agree with that. And that is so important. Um, That is something that I think all artists need to realize. And I think a lot of it has to do with this. Uh, I get in this conversation a lot with other people, but when I was coming up, I was going through college and you know, you get a, let’s say you finished college and you move to New York.

[00:17:34]Um, the conversation was always, well, what else do you do?  you only sing, you only sing right. And as if to say, if you did not only sing, then it made you less of a performer. And I find that happening a lot and it’s happening less now because people are realizing and understanding that you need multiple streams of income.

[00:17:55] And I think what has to happen is that there has to be less, less, um, shame. In understanding that it’s no fun being a starving artist, but, uh, if you believe in a higher power, I do believe that God has given all of us a skill and a gift that we all, we need to be able to create a living for ourselves. So, like I said earlier, if you are a singer that yes, that is one way.

[00:18:24] But then you look at, Oh, wow. Well, I’m also great at organizing. I mean, if you think about it, most musicians, if you, you know, you, you, you went to school for music. I mean, you know, I mean, you know, we train like athletes and people don’t even realize , the, the self reliance you have to have, you have to be self-motivated you have to sacrifice.

[00:18:41]I mean, a lot of. Classical singers are trained like athletes and you have the mindset of an athlete. So you have to really think about. How else are you going to make a living? And, um, I think it’s just really important that we remove the shame from being a performing or creative artists. And if anyone has ever read the book, um, big magic and it is by, um, I want to say it’s Elizabeth Gilbert, the woman that wrote eat love, pray.

[00:19:08] She talks about that. And the importance of no matter if you have to have. Five full-time jobs, which is almost impossible, but you know, a lot of full-time job, maybe a few part-time jobs, whatever it is that allows you to continue your path of creating, um, in our case, it’s it’s music in your wife’s case, I know it’s dance.

[00:19:31]Um, and then raising a family as well. Um, whatever that means and to get rid of the shame, because at the end of the day, all you want to do is keep performing. And, you know, there’s nothing better than to be able to perform and share your gift and be able to uplift others, um, through the arts. But the only way you can do that is if you’re able to support yourself and we have to get rid of the shame, you know, it’s great that, um, honestly, during the pandemic, you know, I started a company and I also do contracting with the government and I’m able to support myself with that.

[00:20:05] And, you know, when a lot of people were losing their jobs, I’m like, okay, I’m going to keep doing this until something else opens up. Um, you know, I have my own production company, which I still am, you know, working away at.  you know, I create my CDs and EPS and I self-published them. Um, so those are all the things that I think are really important and it just comes down to a matter of, um, not shaming.

[00:20:25] Performing artists or thinking less of a performing artist because they do other things. And like you said, we’re, we’re multifaceted. I mean, if you’ve, if you’ve trained in the performing arts, you are pretty much a good organizer or you’re pretty much really great at taking direction, which means, you know what?

[00:20:42] You can train people. You could, there are corporations that will pay people so much money just to train and train their employees. And it’s just a matter of understanding how that company works and then you put together your portfolio and you do that. And so I think that’s really important. Just getting rid of the shame that, uh, that performing artists have about making money outside of, of music.

[00:21:08]Dane Reis: [00:21:08] Yeah. Great. I really love your insight on that. Thank you so much for all of that. And let’s move on to a time that I like to call your spotlight moment. That one moment in time you realized, yes, I am going to be an entertainer for living or maybe it was, yes. This is what I need to be doing as an entertainer.

[00:21:32] Tell us about that.

[00:21:33] Bridgette Cooper: [00:21:34] Um, for me, there was, um, you know, I’d always. Yeah, I’ve always been pretty good about maintaining, um, a career and then being able to be hired for different projects. Um, I also am one to not. Be, you know, someone would say, Oh, I need a solo in the chorus. I am one to figure out how things work behind the scenes before putting a lot of pressure on myself.

[00:21:59] So I would target, um, an opera company and I’m like, gosh, I really want to be like such a such singer. How can I be like that? Or find a way, you know, you know, I want to see how the company works because I definitely would want to be a solo singer there. Um, so we have. Um, the Washington national opera. And I said, okay, wow.

[00:22:20] I would love to sing them because Domingo, at the time he was the artistic director and I was like, Oh my God, I’ve got, I would love to sing with him. And I put it in my mind. I found out when their auditions were and they had chorus auditions because at the time I didn’t have a manager. So I was kind of like, eh, they’re probably not even gonna want to hear us, which they do all the time, but usually, I mean, You know, they they’ll, they’ll listen to a lot of singers with managers first or get feedback from them.

[00:22:47] So I knew that was part of the game as well. So I went ahead and audition for the chorus and I thought, you know,  if I can just get in the chorus and figure out how all of this, like what the dynamics are behind the scenes, I’ll know how to prepare for the audition for a principal role I’ll know.

[00:23:04] The people will know me. And so I went in there and I, I went to the audition. I got the job. I was in the chorus and luckily, um, The way I was, I did the same thing with lyric opera in Chicago, which is how I ended up doing, um, all messed up, but the, uh, choir master there, um, he was so great. Donald Palumbo.

[00:23:25] Who’s now at the met. And he was such, he was so great. And making sure you had your music down memorize, he would walk through the chorus and listened to who had the part who didn’t have the part. You get a little note, if you were, you know, just. Not up to par with memorizing your music. So I remember thinking that and I was just like, Oh, I’ve got to be off book.

[00:23:49] I’ve gotta be off book quickly. So the conductor at the national opera, he would pretty much, it was written in the contract that you basically do not have to, um, have. Your music memorized outside of the rehearsal time. So whatever you learn in rehearsal, that’s how the music was supposed to be learned.

[00:24:09] You couldn’t expect singers who had full-time jobs and then saying in the chorus to learn the music outside of that. So I think that was kind of the. That was kind of the flow of how things were, which can kind of make you a lazy singer. And there were lots of great singers there. Okay. So here we are. Um, first rehearsal and the conductor goes over, I don’t know, 20 measures and I’m singing.

[00:24:31] I do it. And then I said, you know what, let me close this book. So I memorized it after two run-throughs with the 20 measures and I will close my book and he would see, I closed my book. Um, I would always make sure I was sitting in the front row. Um, I was just like, you know, and I would never say anything too much to anybody.

[00:24:49] It was always very friendly, but very professional. And, um, he would never say anything, but I guess I knew he’d noticed because I’m like, Oh, I’m going to close my book every single time I memorize it. Align. So I kept doing this, kept doing this, kept doing this. And the show, you know, is now time for rehearsals.

[00:25:04]Um, Plasto Dominga was there. I’m like, Oh my gosh. You know, I get to see how he works. And I’m so excited. And this is just me being in the chorus, like fan girl it out. , but the pressure was off. So. You know, don’t ever underestimate that because you have to really know yourself. So I was like, okay, the pressure is off, but yet people are watching and I know they’re going to watch me if I, if I just stay on my toes and it work.

[00:25:25]So we, we do the whole opera and, I think it was like the last dress rehearsal. And I get this note from, um, Domingo. And then at the time it was ed Parrington and the stage manager says, Oh, they want to see you at the break.

[00:25:44] And I 

[00:25:44] Dane Reis: [00:25:44] Oh, 

[00:25:45] Bridgette Cooper: [00:25:45] What? Oh my God, here we go. What happened? And I was like, okay. Okay. Sure. So I didn’t know. I was like, I couldn’t have done anything wrong, you know, I don’t talk to people. I’m just like, hi. Okay, bye. So here I am in the audience. And of course everybody’s looking because now I have the, um, The executive director and the artistic director sitting there in the audience talking to me while everybody else is in rehearsal.

[00:26:09] They asked me, they said, Bridgette, I’ve heard you’re, you’re doing a really great job with memorizing music. And you’re so committed to it. Um, there is an opera that we’re doing next season, um, . And I said, okay. And he goes, do you know what it is?

[00:26:23]Um, and I said, well, I’m pretty familiar with it. Is it, um, you know, whatever false staff or something. And he said, no, we decided to add the crucible. And I said, okay. I said, I’m familiar with the story. I’m not familiar with the opera. And he said, well, I’m going to get you the opera. And would you be interested in auditioning for the lead role?

[00:26:40] Dane Reis: [00:26:40] Oh

[00:26:42] Bridgette Cooper: [00:26:42] And I was like, what? I, you know, I just looked at it and I said, of course, yes. And he said, don’t worry. He says, I’m going to arrange an audition. And don’t worry. I just wanted to see if you interested, but I hear you doing really great work and, and don’t worry if you don’t have it memorized. He says that we’re just going to go over, um, you know, uh, act one and a couple of scenes and one of the big artists and to do it.

[00:27:04] And I said, okay, but I think I can have it memorized. This is not a, don’t worry about it. If you can’t get it memorized, you’re not stressed over it. We just want you to be at the audition. And he says, I will, I’ll make sure I arranged to get the score for you. So of course, after that, everybody is. I stopped and looked and I’m just like, Oh wow, this is what I’m back on stage, back into rehearsal, like nothing ever happened.

[00:27:27] So that is my, I will never forget that moment. And I thought, Oh my gosh, that’s when it’s not even like, you know, you’ve made it when, but it was really just one of those things that was so, almost magical. And it just goes to show you that you don’t have to. Like it’s okay to humble yourself and to just really want to have an authentic reason for doing something.

[00:27:54] And for me, it was like, I want to sing with this company. I want to know what the dynamics are and I still want them to know who I am and it just, it just all worked. You know, and that was just really important for me. And another time was auditioning for the role for the opera singer, um, in house of cards.

[00:28:15] And I didn’t get the role, but I thought I went in and audition. It was a great audition and everything like that, but I think it was a singer from California or something that got it. And, um, The reason why I’m saying that is because that was another instance where I humbled myself and I said, you know, I could have been like, Oh, and just forgotten about it.

[00:28:33] But I decided, you know, I really want to understand what TV is like, like, like working in TV. Um, and I decided to give the casting agent a call and I said, I understand, you know, thank you so much for letting me know. Uh, but I’m still interested in if you have anything else. And she said, are you kidding me? Yes.

[00:28:52] So lo and behold, they create this whole little scene with Kevin Spacey and I, and I, I was just like, Oh my gosh. And all of that, just out of humbling myself and saying, Hey, do you have anything else?

[00:29:05]And so just, you know, and so, yeah, so

[00:29:07] those are my little moments, my little moments that make me keep going, put it that way.

[00:29:11] Dane Reis: [00:29:11] Yeah, for sure. And do you have a number one booked at moment that you’d like to talk about?

[00:29:19]Because those two were pretty awesome.

[00:29:21]Bridgette Cooper: [00:29:21] Yeah. Okay. So another number one book that moment. So those two are great. Um, another one booked it moment was of course getting my first international tour and my first national Broadway tour. Um, and then doing my debut at, um, Carnegie Carnegie hall. And that was after deciding to, to just kind of take a break from touring. And I was really kind of like, you know, what you talked about earlier, just kind of like, well, what am I going to do now that I’ve decided to stop doing that? But I still feel like sharing music is important for the little kids

[00:29:53]and then being able to get it manager. And then, um, it just ended up growing into this whole voices of the new millennium at the time.

[00:30:01] And. Doing my debut at Carnegie hall. Um, so you know, the life of a performing artists yeah. Have these, you have these ebbs and flows, peaks and valleys, and the peaks are what make you appreciate the valleys,  

[00:30:18]Dane Reis: [00:30:18] . Yeah, for sure. And let’s take a moment to talk about the present. What projects are you working on now? What are you looking forward to? And it’s a weird time, you know, in this global pandemic, how do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?

[00:30:35]Bridgette Cooper: [00:30:35] Well, you know, the entertainment industry, he is really going to have to be pretty dynamic and they’re also going to have to change a lot of things. In my opinion. Um, as you know, the performing arts community and creative arts community has, uh, stands to lose over $50 billion just this year, um, um, because of the pandemic alone.

[00:30:54] Um, Um, You know, over 75% of musicians and creative artists are currently, even though we’re out of work, occurrent are currently using our gifts to uplift people for, for nothing. You know, we do these YouTube concerts. We do, um, anything that will bring in a little bit of income. So we’re sitting here and using our gifts as usual.

[00:31:16]Um, To lift morale, lift uplift communities, but yet we’re the hardest hit out of all the industries. We are going to be the hardest hit. Um, the other thing is we’re going to have to, um, be able to just. E create, create, create, create, create, create, create, create, create your own thing. Um, like I said, in 2013, I started my production company.

[00:31:37] I started out just doing a podcast. Um, and then, um, I moved it to TV and it got a lot of, um, got a lot of hits. It started really engaging people who were interested in opera, but they had no idea like. They were either really afraid to talk to an opera singer or they just didn’t know where start when it comes to opera, but they wanted to kind of like, kind of like, I wonder what that that’s like, you know, they see in different languages.

[00:32:03] So anyways, so that’s what, that’s what the, the, the show that I did, um, aimed to do. And that’s what I still try to do with my podcast. Um, I have a recording label that I started, Oh my gosh. Back in the nineties. Um, in the 19 hundreds, the 19 hundreds, and, um, it’s doing really well. So I always just release my, my EPS on it and it just keeps going. Um, And I self release it myself. I produce it myself. The podcast is, you know, you know, I’m doing these things. I produce, you end up producing a lot of it yourself. Um, and you know, of course we’ve had the pandemic, but we’ve also had what we touched on earlier.

[00:32:47] All of this social unrest. Um, when it comes to culture and, and being able to be more yeah. Inclusive. And I think those are conversations that we’re definitely going to have to start having. And it’s been very different because this time around, we talked about it before of the world was at this point before, probably about five or six years ago with of course Freddie gray.

[00:33:12] But now that we have this whole, this one was different because now it’s no longer. You know, one group, one population that is saying, we’re not being heard. Now we have the buy-in from others. And I think it really is because people have kids nowadays have friends who are all different colors. So I think the impact comes in with, wow.

[00:33:38]You know, I have a friend, like, you know, like, you know, just because the color of her skin, I couldn’t even imagine something like that happening to them, which means they talk to their parents, which means their parents are like, wow. You know, it’s just so different. I think with, with kids being impacted because now all of our circles, I mean, you know, like I tell my daughter, you know, if you look in your friendship circle and you only have friends that look like you, then you’re doing it wrong because in this day and age, you shouldn’t have friends or acquaintances that are just kind of a lot of different people.

[00:34:12]You know, and even if you’re the same shade, maybe you come from different places in the world, social economic backgrounds, that’s important. As long as everybody’s on the same page, you know? No, no slouching. We don’t do slouching as long as we all work and aspire higher. Um, But yeah, I think, I think that the industry as a whole, it’s going to have to get a little more creative.

[00:34:34]Um, there are a lot of things that we can actually start using more technology as far as outreach, as far as engaging more people than met offers. I think every week, which I’ve been loving every week, they released a new platform that allows people to, um, it’s one thing. So I think right before the election, they did a whole political opera, um, theme for the week.

[00:34:58]And before then it was kind of like scary things. I think it was like Halloween. Um, but they they’re doing a whole streaming thing each week. They come up with a different thing, which I love, which is important because it’s like, all this technology was here before, but now we’re just really starting to use it and to use it for, for good, which I think is great.

[00:35:18] Dane Reis: [00:35:18] for sure. I totally agree with you on all of those points and it is time to move on to one of my favorite sections in the interview. I call it the grease, the lightning round. I am going to ask you a handful of questions. I want you to answer them as quickly and concisely as possible one after another.

[00:35:38] Are you ready?

[00:35:39]Bridgette Cooper: [00:35:39] Okay. I think I’m ready.

[00:35:41] Dane Reis: [00:35:41] All right. First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?  Second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

[00:35:53]Bridgette Cooper: [00:35:53] never give up.

[00:35:54] Dane Reis: [00:35:54] Third question. What is something that is working for you right now? Or if you’d like to go pre COVID, what was working for you before our industry went on?

[00:36:03] Pause.

[00:36:04]Bridgette Cooper: [00:36:04] doing my own thing, creating my own opportunities.

[00:36:07] Dane Reis: [00:36:07] Yes. Fourth question. What is your best resource? Whether that is a book, a movie, a YouTube video, maybe a podcast or piece of technology you’ve found is helping your career right now.

[00:36:19]Bridgette Cooper: [00:36:19] well, definitely your podcast and it’s true. And also, um, books, I just read a lot of books.

[00:36:31] Dane Reis: [00:36:31] brilliant love reading. And the fifth question, if you had to start your career from scratch, but you still had all the knowledge and experience you’ve collected from your career in this industry, what would you do or not do? Would you do anything differently or would you keep it the same?

[00:36:49]Bridgette Cooper: [00:36:49] yeah, I would do a couple of things differently. Um, I would, one thing is that I would realize like, no man is an Island. So I do have a habit of. Isolating myself, which is why, like this whole shutdown thing, I’ve been like thriving in it. But, um, yeah, that is one thing that I, that I had to really like work on like, no, man is an Island.

[00:37:08] You can’t just think you can do every single thing by yourself because I just can’t stand arguing. But, um, yeah, you, you have to be able to work with people and be able to open, open yourself up a little bit more. So that’s, that’s the one thing I do different.

[00:37:21] Dane Reis: [00:37:21] yes, for sure. And the last question, what is the golden nugget knowledge drop you’ve learned from it, your successful career in this industry? You’d like to leave with our listeners.

[00:37:34] Bridgette Cooper: [00:37:34] Oh, um, definitely perseverance, definitely. Um, uh, self realization, our reflection, um, looking at where you are right now and go from there.

[00:37:45]Dane Reis: [00:37:45] yes, for sure. Get clear, get some perspective and then. Move forward. Yes. And to wrap up this interview, Brie, it is time to give yourself a plug. Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to promote?

[00:38:03]Bridgette Cooper: [00:38:03] Oh, sure. Well, on social media, Instagram, Bri B R I E dot Cooper Metso soprano. And on Facebook, Brie Cooper Metso soprano. You can listen to my EPS on Spotify, Bree Cooper, mezzo soprano, Amazon Bree Cooper. Um, take a listen to my podcast Harbor for the arts. Um, and it’s H a R B O U R S as an old English spelling.

[00:38:31] And, uh, also my other podcast, which deals more with community engagement, a little bit of politics, which is Cooper and company, Brie Cooper and company podcast. Um, and also I have a play that I have been working on. Um, and we’re looking to debut it in. Uh, the fall of 2021, uh, as well as a movie about, uh, the opera singer Marian Anderson.

[00:38:56]Dane Reis: [00:38:56] Beautiful. Well, Well, and for everyone listening out there, I have put the links to everything Brie just said into the description of this episode. So you can easily connect with her and be sure to share this podcast with your fellow entertainers, coaches, teachers, and arts and entertainment educators, and anyone, you know, you know, aspiring to create a career in.

[00:39:16] The entertainment industry. It is integral to helping them succeed in helping you create a better, more fulfilling career in this wild and crazy industry. And if you enjoyed this episode, hit that subscribe button. So you don’t miss the next one. Bree, thank you so much for being here today. It’s been an absolute pleasure to have you on the show.

[00:39:36]Bridgette Cooper: [00:39:36] thank you. It has been wonderful. I’m so excited for you, , and your wife and the work that both of you are doing and your family. Um, and I appreciate everything you’re doing with your podcast and, and spreading the word about the performing arts.

[00:39:50] Dane Reis: [00:39:50] thank you.