I would start a movement of kindness and forgiveness. I’d inspire people to choose love over fear. Fear drives so much of the unhealthiness is our society, and creates division. I would challenge people to forgive. Are our grudges justified? Yes, of course they are. But our grievances inhibit everything that feels good. Everything. And if we’re waiting for everyone to act exactly the way we’d like, we’ll never, ever be happy. So, forgiveness and kindness are the only way to find true happiness, both personally and on a larger scale. And by forgiveness, I don’t mean that anyone should tolerate unhealthy behaviors. We should be kind to ourselves and do what’s best for us, but not walk around carrying bitterness. A more tangible version of this movement is to have a higher standard of ethics in business. I think that business should value humans and their well being over maximizing profits. It can be done.
As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Angela Predhomme. With a laid back, soulful style, singer-songwriter Angela Predhomme expresses emotion with honesty and passion. She has a knack for writing catchy melodies and lyrics that touch your heart, and sings with bluesy overtones that hint of her roots in Detroit. Predhomme’s songs have been heard by millions through television, film, and in major retail chains. Credits include the popular Hallmark movie “Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane,” Lifetime’s hit show “Dance Moms,” Freeform’s “Switched at Birth,” TLC’s “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” a commercial for ING Bank, and closing credit placement in the film A Wedding Most Strange, among others. Angela’s songs have also been featured on the radio industry hub, AllAccess, on the AAA genre Cool New Music page. In addition, Predhomme was a finalist in Adweek’s advertising music contest, and won finalist placement in the Song of the Year contest for her songs “Extra Day” and “My New Favorite Song,” among other songwriting accolades. You may have heard Predhomme’s music on AAA, public or college radio, or in retail locations. No matter where you’ve heard her songs, though, one thing is certain: she loves to write music. Angela gives composing, writing, playing and singing her all. Music is her passion. Angela’s first instrument was the piano, and she later took up classical voice and the acoustic guitar. Early on, she was influenced by the music her family listened to, which included everything from 1950’s R & B to the popular music of the time. Growing up in the Detroit area where Motown music invokes a special pride, Angela was exposed to the great work of artists like Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson. Major influences include The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Ray Charles, and vocalists Christina Aguilera, Sarah McLachlan, Norah Jones and the timeless voice of Sam Cooke. Always striving to grow as a composer, singer and musician, she never stops analyzing music theory and pushing herself as a singer and composer. Angela is an active member of local and national songwriting groups. With the goal of making music that can stand up with the best of the best, Angela Predhomme will continue to develop her honest, thoughtful songwriting, and her captivating, bluesy voice.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I was born in Detroit and spent my early years there before moving to a suburb called Plymouth. My family was pretty traditional and conservative, and I was the middle child of 3. We got my grandmother’s piano when I was in elementary school, and it affected my life path more than I could’ve known at the time. I took piano lessons, and I absolutely loved playing music. Also, I played the clarinet and saxophone in the school band. I went to an all-girls Catholic high school, and I also was an artist. My childhood sounds pretty tame, but I was a rebel and I often made waves in the family. One interesting thing about my childhood in Detroit was that some family were in Canada, and we crossed the border on a regular basis. A lot of my relatives had dual citizenship (U.S. and Canada) and lived in both at one time or another. I thought that was normal when I was a kid.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I didn’t pursue professional music for the earlier part of my life because I knew the odds were against me. It’s one of the most competitive fields in the world. And now, with everything digital and global, to say that we’re competiting with the whole world is not an overstatement, but a fact. But I feel like I had this divine push from fate. The most unlikely things happened. After I started writing original music just over 10 years ago, the second song I ever wrote got picked up by a major LA production company (I had submitted to an opp online). They bought the master and all the rights, and paid me hundreds of dollars. How many people sold the second song they ever wrote for cash? Then, after I was feeling down from a lot of rejection in the song market (pitching my songs to publishers), I thought, “you know what? This isn’t working. I’m just gonna write a song like I want to write.” And that song, called “This Might Be Good,” got picked up for the closing credits of a film. So, whenever I considered giving it up, something really awesome happened, and then I just decided to go with it 100%, because maybe this is the path of least resistance for me, which is ironic, considering how difficult it is to succeed in music.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
The most awesome thing happened just earlier this year. I got a Facebook message from someone inquiring about my performing for a private party in California. I thought it had to be some kind of scam or a creepy trap. But it turned out to be a wonderful, amazing thing. A successful author had heard my song on Pandora while he was at the gym in Ojai, CA. He loved it so much that he sent the song to all his friends. The song is called “Beautiful Truth,” and it’s about learning to love yourself. One of his wealthy friends wanted to fly me out for a surprise performance at his birthday party. So, I went with my husband, and performed at the party. It was an awesome experience to meet someone who connected so profoundly with a song I wrote. That is the coolest and most unexpected thing that has happened to me yet!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I wish I could say that this mistake was only when I was starting, but it’s not! I’ve left so much stuff at venues after gigs! For performances, I’ve had to bring so much stuff, and then sometimes I’ve packed up in the dark, or it’s late and I’m tired and scattered, or distracted. Here are things I’ve left at gigs over the years, none of which I could track down after: a guitar stand, a keyboard stand, 3 stools (over the course of 10 years) a folding table, a guitar tuner, and that’s just all I can remember. I’m tellin’ ya, I’m done bringing stools. Apparently, I just cannot be trusted with them.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Right now I’m super excited about doing another music video! I have some interesting ideas, and I’ve already talked to a photojournalist friend who’s going to help. We’re going to do a video for my song “Time for a Change,” and I think it will be shot mostly in Flint, Michigan. The song is about a broader, more universal theme, but the idea of “Time for a Change” was originally inspired by the Flint water crisis. It represents something much larger — the injustice, including the unequal access to quality resources, which unfortunately is sometimes tied to socioeconomic status. So, this video will be somewhat of a social commentary, and I’m looking forward to working with a great team to produce it!
Other things I have going on include a lot of tour dates this fall in the Midwest. It’s always fun to get out and perform and meet new faces. Also, I have a ton of incomplete songs that I want to finish writing. I’m always writing new music. I live to create!
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
Diversity in entertainment, including music and videos, is important for several reasons:
- Social responsibility. The media, including entertainment, is extremely influential. It normalizes social standards in people’s minds. What they see over and over they believe is the status quo. If they always see a minority actor in certain roles, it reinforces that idea. So, it’s important to not reinforce stereotypes or any limiting belief.
- Encouraging empathy. It’s no secret that America is very divided right now. I believe that a contributing factor is that many places are not diverse, and people don’t personally know or interact with anyone of a different group than they are. For example, someone who grows up in a place where everyone is like them may have a negative or apathetic view of people of a different race, religion, or even a different political view. Film and television can choose to portray characters who are likeable and human, who have integrity, love their families, and share common human values. This could work toward breaking down barriers, showing viewers that we all have more in common than not.
- Accurate representation. The most obvious reason that it’s important to represent diversity in the entertainment industry is because it makes perfect logical sense. A diverse cast is an accurate representation of the population. A non-diverse, mostly white cast seems to subtly keep a power structure of white privilege in place, and that needs to change.
- How diversity is portrayed in entertainment is part of a larger issue under the umbrella of social responsibility. It’s my opinion that if our creative work is seen or heard by a lot of people, then we have a responsibility to be leaders of thought and culture. With my music, I like to write lyrics that inspire, make people think, or help them to heal. If I’m having a bad day, I think it’s just irresponsible to put out those negative vibes in a way that’s permanent, and would likely spread. Instead, we can choose to bring people together, lift them up, give them hope, or just give them a happy song to sing.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Save your money. People who aren’t in the music business think that success is based on talent and hard work. It takes those things, of course, but it also takes a substantial investment to make music that can compete with major labels in terms of production, promotion, and tour support. Most artists have to be their own labels and finance their own careers. I’ve worked hard to get the money to do this, and what I do is very low budget in the industry.
- Don’t put up with sexism. As a female artist/writer/producer, I’ve been in plenty of situations that I thought I had to tolerate in order to fulfill my goals. But the truth is, for every sexist person out there, there is someone equally talented who is not.
- You can’t please everyone. If I send my songs for a pitch or to radio, they’re often passed over. The fact is that people just have different tastes, and everyone will not like a song or artist, and that’s OK. I learned to not take that personally. Also, the music industry is just looking to make money, not support art, so they want new music that imitates current trends, not starts new ones. And if I was just in this to try and make a buck from jumping on a bandwagon, I’d pick an easier field than music. I think it’s better to be true to yourself than try to please everyone, because you never will.
- Be authentic. This connects to my last point. Everyone will not like you. Some people will criticize you and your work, and think you should be different. Even if you try to be someone you’re not, they’ll criticize that, too. So just be brave and be you, because you really have nothing to lose.
- Follow your own inner voice. This is always the answer. Sometimes I have insecurity, like most people. But at the end of the day, I’ve found that my happiness and balance has come from following my own path, not a traditional path for this business. There is no one I’ve modeled my career choices after. I’ve found my own path by getting informed, but then making my own decisions about what’s right for me. I get advice, gather facts and then I feel my way.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
To me, there’s one clear answer. Meditation is the key. I don’t do it enough, but when I meditate daily, I feel absolutely wonderful, everything flows perfectly in my life, and amazing things happen. This question motivates me to be more committed to making the time to meditate! It brings peace and clarity.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I would start a movement of kindness and forgiveness. I’d inspire people to choose love over fear. Fear drives so much of the unhealthiness is our society, and creates division. I would challenge people to forgive. Are our grudges justified? Yes, of course they are. But our grievances inhibit everything that feels good. Everything. And if we’re waiting for everyone to act exactly the way we’d like, we’ll never, ever be happy. So, forgiveness and kindness are the only way to find true happiness, both personally and on a larger scale. And by forgiveness, I don’t mean that anyone should tolerate unhealthy behaviors. We should be kind to ourselves and do what’s best for us, but not walk around carrying bitterness.
A more tangible version of this movement is to have a higher standard of ethics in business. I think that business should value humans and their well being over maximizing profits. It can be done.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My husband, Chris, has been a pillar of support on my career path. He believes in my creative work. He’s unselfishly encouraged me on this path in music that has no safety net, security, or predictability. Chris has always been there for me, supporting my music from the songwriting phase to performing. He gives me song feedback, goes to gigs when he can, and is never, ever less than encouraging about my music. I cannot express my gratitude enough to him. Our two daughters have been incredible as well, and support me in all the same ways. My family is everything to me. They are good people, and I love them so much!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.” — Henry Ford.
I believe in the power of the mind. Our minds program our behaviors and actions that result in our realities. It’s also been said that the outer world reflects the inner world; if you believe you’re successful and things go well for you, then most things will. If you believe you will fail, then you probably will. So, the trick is training our minds and focus. It’s easier said than done. Sometimes I struggle with this. I’ll catch myself in a rut, in a dark place, and then it takes everything I have to try and let go of the negative stuff and turn the ship around to somewhere that feels better. I feel like I’ve made things happen for me by believing in myself and being undeterred. When there are obstacles (and there are many) I just get back on track, in due time. It’s because I’m committed to believing I can. I will not accept otherwise, and I’ll do it on my terms.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)
There are two people that come to mind. The first is Oprah. She understands and embraces social responsibility, and is an amazing human being who’s using her influence to affect the world in a positive way. Her work in education alone has surely changed many lives. I have immense admiration for Oprah, and how she’s balanced fitting into the mainstream while, at the same time, bringing the mainstream UP to a higher level. That’s what I want to do with my music.
The other person I would absolutely love to meet is Quincy Jones. I would be more intimidated by him because I see him as this music icon with a golden ear and a good business sense, but who’s actually quite a music purist. Years ago, when I was making my very first album in 2008, I had a dream one night that I met Quincy and he said my work was “phenomenal.” So, that’s my dream, literally — to be on Quincy’s radar and get his nod. I think he might like my new songs, “Let It Play on While I Cry” or “Hey Mr. Sunshine.” In fact, Quincy did the music for a film Oprah was in, “The Color Purple.”
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thanks for asking. Here are my social links:
You can find my music here:
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!
Thank you very much for your insightful questions. It was a pleasure.