TRANSCRIPT Ep279: Shine Like a Diamond ft Marisa Lee Naismith


[00:00:00] Miriam Schulman: As artists, we know that the creative journey is a thrilling adventure and it’s filled with ups and downs. It’s about taking risks, stepping out of your comfort zone, and embracing your unique artistic voice. 

[00:00:14] Announcer: It’s The Inspiration Place Podcast with artist Miriam Schulman. Welcome to The Inspiration Place Podcast, an art world inside a podcast for artists by an artist, where each week we go behind the scenes to uncover the perspiration and inspiration behind the arts. And now your host, Miriam Schulman. 

[00:00:36] Miriam Schulman: Well hey there, artpreneur. This is Miriam Schulman, your curator of inspiration and welcome to The Inspiration Place. You’re listening to episode number 279. 

[00:00:49] Today’s guest has dedicated decades to the performing arts industry and achieved remarkable success as a vocalist, singing teacher, voice researcher, industry mentor, and international presenter.

[00:01:02] So please welcome to The Inspiration Place, Marisa Lee Naismith. Well, hello, Marisa. Welcome to the show. 

[00:01:11] Marisa Lee Naismith: Thank you, Miriam. Thank you so much for having me. And it’s so nice to hang with you again. 

[00:01:17] Miriam Schulman: It is. So right before we hit record, you were telling me you just saw a musical last night. 

[00:01:24] Marisa Lee Naismith: I did. So I, if I have watery, glassy eyes, it’s because I haven’t had a lot of sleep. It’s very early in the morning here in Australia. And yes, I went to see Moulin Rouge! The Musical. People, if you haven’t seen it, you must go and see it. The staging is something I have never seen before. And I’ve seen quite a few musicals. The costuming is stunning. It’s just the most wonderful experience.

[00:01:54] Miriam Schulman: Coincidentally, last night, my husband bought me tickets for Moulin Rouge. The reason being is my daughter – and I think I shared this with you, Marisa – my daughter is getting a master’s in music education from Columbia. And her professor, who is a violinist, it was part of the team that did the new orchestration And they won a tony for it for the broadway show because they updated it from the movie, which was 20 years ago, they updated all the music.

[00:02:28] Marisa Lee Naismith: Yes. Can I just say there was one low, like, there was one negative talking about music. There was only one people, and that was that they left out my very favorite song. When Nicole Kidman was swinging through the air and she was singing one day I’ll fly away. Sorry, spoiler alert. They don’t have that one in the show and I was looking forward to that song. I couldn’t tell you because it was my favorite. And the way Nicole did it, she just, it was this haunting, this most beautiful moment in the movie. It’s not in the show. Sorry to spoil that. 

[00:03:09] Miriam Schulman: You have to see the movie for that. 

[00:03:11] Marisa Lee Naismith: Go and see it. 

[00:03:15] Miriam Schulman: Okay. So I have to interrupt this juicy conversation because when we had recorded this, I hadn’t seen Moulin Rouge yet. And now that it’s about to go live, I have seen it and I wanted to share a few things with you because it’s so relevant to us as artists. 

[00:03:36] So my dear husband, he took me to see Moulin Rouge. And if you have a chance to see it, whether it’s in Broadway or a traveling Broadway, wherever you are in the world, go see it. So much fun. The excitement begins the minute you walk into the theater and I’m bouncing up and down in my seat the entire time. You know all the music because what they did was they reorchestrated it with pop music. And it’s not the same music that’s in the movie because that movie came out 20 years ago, so we have a lot more music to add in. 

[00:04:10] The reason I wanted to talk to you about and interrupt our conversation is because the show reminded me of the importance of living life to the fullest and embracing every opportunity that comes our way. 

[00:04:24] So I don’t think this is a spoiler alert, especially if you’ve already seen the movie, but the Nicole Kidman character/main character, whose name is Satine, we know from the very beginning she’s suffering from Bronchitis. So, she knows she’s dying and yet she is doing everything up until the very last minute of her life to live life to the fullest. And all the characters in the musical are taking risks. So the Satine character, she is having an affair with the male lead, and she’s hiding it from, basically, her paramour, who is funding the musical. And basically, if she’s found out, she’s risking his life, she’s risking the livelihoods of everyone on the play ,and but she’s doing it anyway. She’s embracing every single opportunity So the characters they’re taking risks They’re pursuing their passions both their music passion, their art passion, and their love passion And they’re celebrating joy in every single moment So it was really a powerful reminder of the magic that happens when we seize the moment and make the most out of life now. 

[00:05:44] As artists, we know that the creative journey is a thrilling adventure, and it’s filled with ups and downs. It’s about taking risks, stepping out of your comfort zone, and embracing your unique artistic voice. 

[00:05:59] You have the opportunity to create your own masterpiece with your life. One of my favorite quotes, which I included in the book, Artpreneur, is by Heschel. And it’s, “live your life as if it were a work of art.” I love that quote. So create your own masterpiece with your life, not just with your art. Write your own story and dazzle the world with your creativity. 

[00:06:25] And by the way, that’s where I’m here to help you. That’s where the Artist Incubator and especially I’m going to talk a little bit more about the accelerator program. So the accelerator program is an upgrade from the regular incubator. So people who join either you join the accelerator and you get everything in the incubator or you’re already in the incubator and you want to add this on. So I run it in cohorts. It’s a great platform for people to propel their art business forward. But the difference between the accelerator and the incubator is that you get my guidance And you get the support of a much smaller, tight knit community of like minded artists. 

[00:07:07] So just like how Satine, the star of Moulin Rouge, found solace and camaraderie within the bohemian community. So she navigated the challenges of the profession and she pursued her dreams and she had a supportive and creative family among these fellow artists, performers, and friends who shared her passion for art and self expression. And you will, too. 

[00:07:29] And, yes, you will find your community within the greater incubator, but the people who join the accelerator, they do form much closer bonds because we are meeting on a more regular basis within that closer community. Because I do limit the size to 12. And usually we have, like the last one, we had 8 people. It won’t go to more than 12. You meet on a regular basis, and you have this nice container. And because it’s a small group, I’m able to give you much more detailed feedback on everything, including your website, your emails, your pricing, your promotions, whether you are launching a new art collection. Or you’re launching an online art class. And you also get personalized one on one coaching sessions with me. So this added guidance will really be the key to help you captivate your audience, really see how you can apply the principles in my book, Artpreneur, in the incubator, but really make it work specifically for you.

[00:08:37] So it’s a way for you to take center stage. As your collectors eagerly seek out your work and allow you to focus on what you love most. So instead of spinning your wheels, I’m here to help you navigate those decisions. I’m here to help you really fine tune all those assets, really help you with your about pages make them so irresistible to collectors and gallerists and consultants. And then you can focus on what you love most, which is creating wonderful, high quality pieces that resonate with your art collectors and art enthusiasts.

[00:09:13] So if you’re ready to seize this moment and create the life, live your life as if it were a work of art, I encourage you to apply for the Artist Incubator Accelerator. We are opening spots for the next cohort, which is going to kick off January 1st, so we know that 2023 is coming to a close. You will get access to other material before January 1st, but the cohort kicks off in January. So with only a few spots left, I want to make sure you grab your ticket to the hottest show in town. 

[00:09:51] So you do need to apply. It is a closed group. If you want to know who I’m looking for, you need to have an e-commerce enabled website. You need to have already made sales. So those two criteria are a must. Otherwise, you can just go and apply. Go to as in the letter B in boy, I as in ice cream, Z as in zebra. Let’s make the most of every opportunity in your life and we’ll create an unforgettable art journey for you that shines like a diamond. 

[00:10:34] All right, so let’s get started with today’s interview because you have so much to talk about And you just you have so much to share. I’m so excited to interview you.

[00:10:43] So, can you share some pivotal moments and we’re talking about the good as well as the bad and the ugly of your own music career particularly as a woman and how these experiences have shaped your mindset and your approach to the industry. 

[00:10:59] Marisa Lee Naismith: Okay. Well, I’ve had a very long career. I’ve been in the industry for about 45 years. I like to say that my journey started when I was five years old. That’s when I started listening to pop and rock music, because I come from that background. I’ve had no classical training. So people who say as a singer, go and have classical training. You don’t need classical training, but I’m an advocate for the music that I sing and I have sung.

[00:11:31] And my journey actually started with the vision at five years of age. And I didn’t realize at that time when I would lock myself in the living room with all the doors and the windows shut, the music blaring. And the music source was my brother, he belonged to a record club. So I would listen to this new LP that would come in every month and pretend that I was performing In front of thousands of people. And I did this on a daily basis. And I would visualize that there were all these people in front of me. And so I believe that’s what started my career, at five, with a visualization. 

[00:12:19] At 15, I saw an ad in the paper for a singer. They wanted a lead singer for a band. And I auditioned and I got the job. Now, can you imagine, at 15 ,being paid to do the very thing that you love more than anything? Like, I immersed myself in this music and it made me feel amazing, just brought me so much joy. But then to find that I was actually being paid to do this thing was unbelievable. 

[00:12:54] And I was the OG Hannah Montana at that stage and I’m going to clarify that. So I would go to school during the day. So at 15 years of age, I still had a few years left of high school. I would go to school during the day in my school uniform, go home at night and put on a ball gown or evening dress or whatever the gig was and go and do a gig ,and do that again. And that was my life all five nights a week. So that was a big highlight. You know, 15 to be doing this. 

[00:13:29] And interestingly, and the entrepreneurs out here will love this. We had a careers night when I was in my final year of high school and we had to write down what we wanted to do as a career. And I put down professional singer and I was told that was not a career. Because I went to a Catholic school and I was taught by the nuns and I was scared that I would get in trouble if they knew that I was working at night time. Because if my grades went down or if I was tired or I was underperforming at school, that I would be in a lot of trouble. So no one knew. That’s why I said I was the original Hannah Montana because I was living a double life. 

[00:14:20] So I was told by the careers people at the school, this is not a legitimate career. You need to find something else. I was already earning more money than all my school teachers. And by the time I finished high school, I had thousands of dollars in my bank account, and I was already independent and I was paying for my own stuff. Other than my education, I was paying for everything else.

[00:14:52] Miriam Schulman: Did you put down, like ,a fake career to make the nuns happy? Did you just like tell them, Oh, I want to be a nun like you? Or what did you say to them? 

[00:14:59] Marisa Lee Naismith: So I put down that I was going to do social sciences. And I’ve raised my girls to be the same way is, if you have a goal or a passion or a dream, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. If you really want to do something, you can do it. It is up to you. Of course, there’s certain criteria to doing that, but you must do those certain things to be successful. But don’t allow anyone to tell you that you can’t. And it’s not even about talent because I was never the most talented, but I had other skills that really served me.

[00:15:45] So if people feel that they’re being kicked to the curb, can I just say it’s the universe challenging you and it’s your opportunity to learn from what’s just happened to you? 

[00:15:56] Miriam Schulman: Marisa, one of the things that I love about you is the way you talk about perfectionism. I know perfectionism is often a challenge for many creatives, for many artists, who are listening right now. So how have you personally dealt with the pitfalls of perfectionism in your industry? And what advice would you give for our listeners who struggle with a perfectionist mindset? 

[00:16:20] Marisa Lee Naismith: I used to think that I suffered from perfectionism. But in actual fact, I was just a perfectionist. And I think there’s a difference.

[00:16:31] Miriam Schulman: What’s the difference between a perfectionist and perfectionism? 

[00:16:34] Marisa Lee Naismith: Well, this is just the way that I explain things and hopefully will help the listeners. Now I’m a Virgo and Virgos out there, we have to have everything correct, it’s all gotta be right. It’s all gotta be in order. We take over everything. Because no one can do it better than us, that’s the Virgo trait. 

[00:16:56] But to be a perfectionist, which was what I was, I wanted things to be right, but it didn’t stop me from doing the thing, if that makes sense. People who suffer with perfectionism, they usually don’t do the thing because their fear can lead to procrastination.

[00:17:24] The thing with perfectionism, it’s usually associated with fear. It’s the fear that something is not good enough. They set unrealistic goals for themselves. Their standards are unrealistic. And so that fear of not being able to meet that challenge is what holds them back. But, but those who do get started, sometimes they stop because they get stuck. They feel that this is not going how they planned, so they just stop instead of recalibrating. That perfectionism kicks in. 

[00:18:12] What I heard some years ago, and I just loved this, is how can you perfect something if you’re not doing the thing. Okay? To perfect something, you’ve actually got to be doing it. If you’re not doing it, you’re not perfecting it.

[00:18:29] So, like with the podcast, your podcast Miriam, and I have a podcast as well. When I launched my podcast, was it perfect? No. When I go back and listen to those early episodes, and I mean, you’ve done 200 and something. When you go back and listen to those, you go, what was I thinking? But you wouldn’t be where you’re at now if you didn’t go, okay, I’m going to set a date, wherever it’s at, on that date I’m just gonna go. 

[00:19:01] Miriam Schulman: I remember when I was starting my podcast, which was 2018, so that’s some five years ago. And I was batching them and getting them ready to go. And I said to my business coach, I was like, it’s August. I don’t think I should launch now. Nobody’s listening to podcasts now. And he’s like, there’s no way you can get better if you don’t get started. 

[00:19:25] Marisa Lee Naismith: Thank you.

[00:19:26] Miriam Schulman: Just get started. 

[00:19:28] And I’m glad I listened to him because it really didn’t matter. Like, in the beginning I had maybe 130 people listening to a show. Now I have thousands of people, which is amazing. And I’m so grateful to all you listeners, especially if you were one of those first 130 people and you’re still here. Thank you. But even if you’re new, yeah, it was like if I had waited – and this is what I talk about in Artrepreneur – is you can’t be like sleeping beauty like the disney movie sleeping beauty They take the little baby and the fairies bring her into the woods and you don’t see her again until she’s a fully grown beautiful woman. You don’t see pimples and braces and all those things that adolescents go through. But you have to go through that stage, even with your creativity, even with your artistry, with everything, you have to go through that and you have to love your baby. Now we don’t hide our children away until they’re fully grown adults. They’re not perfect. Adults aren’t perfect. 

[00:20:28] Marisa Lee Naismith: No, no. And that’s, I think, that’s the biggest thing that we have to overcome as people in the arts industry is that we take our work so personally and we want it to be perfect and any bit of criticism, we take that personally because it’s a part of us. It’s an expression of us. Not everything in life is ever going to be perfect. There’s always going to be someone who has something to say about what you do. That’s their agenda. You don’t know what’s going on in that person’s life. It may not even be your art or your craft or whatever it is that you’re selling, or whatever it is you’re creating. It can be their stuff and their baggage. 

[00:21:21] Miriam Schulman: I mean, all of us like, and dislike things that other people, you know, we all dislike things that other people that are very popular. We have to have that same compassion for other people. Not everyone’s going to get us. 

[00:21:33] Marisa Lee Naismith: Yes. 

[00:21:33] Miriam Schulman: And thanks okay.

[00:21:35] Marisa Lee Naismith: And people, you know, on that journey of perfecting, if you hit a challenge that is an opportunity for growth. When you have challenges, and if you’re being hit with a thousand challenges all at once, that is the universe expediting your growth. That’s like the journey is being fast tracked for you. It’s having a shift in mindset. So much of what we do is mindset. To have success you have to really do the work on yourself. Check in on yourself. Make sure that you value you so others can value your worth. 

[00:22:21] Miriam Schulman: I have one last question for you, Marisa, and it’s about self care because I know that you’re a ninja about it, as am I. We both believe it’s crucial for – and you can’t even see for artists – I just think it’s for everyone. So what practices or strategies have you found helpful in terms of self care? Why do you believe it’s essential for creatives to prioritize their self care? 

[00:22:45] Marisa Lee Naismith: Well, unfortunately for me, I had to wait till I hit a brick wall. I completed a PhD on a full time basis when I was working full time. And at the end of it, I just was a total mess. And I was in need of help. I was in high stress mode. I was physically, mentally, emotionally depleted and I knew I had to do something. And I started listening to podcasts. It was COVID, but something good came out of COVID and that was my self care. I started listening to thought leaders and they started talking about morning routines. And I thought, well, you know what, I’m a hot mess so I’ve got nothing to lose. 

[00:23:31] So each morning I have a regime that I set up that helps me deliver my best teaching every day. And it allows me to turn up in my workplace, or in my creative space, at the best that I can be. And that is different every day. Obviously, all our levels of best change on a daily basis.

[00:23:59] But I believe in the, I call them, the MEDS. So M is for meditation. And if you’ve never meditated before, it doesn’t mean that you have to sit there and hum for 10 minutes. It can be whatever you want. Go and take a walk where you’re at one with nature. Just have that time where you allow your filing cabinet in your brain to let go of some of the stuff that you’re carrying over from the day before. Because we have something between 50 to 60,000 thoughts a day and they stay with us. Most of those are negative. Most of those are on repeat. So you want to make sure that you get rid of that stuff that’s in your filing cabinet.

[00:24:50] Then exercise. So in the mornings I used to do planks. So that would be six minutes of planking and, I built up to that. I could only do 30 seconds to start with, but I built that up. I now do other stuff where I just move. And then I also do the gym twice a week with weights and twice a week I do Pilates. So, every day I’m doing some kind of movement and as much walking as possible. 

[00:25:24] And then D is watching nutrition, D is diet, but let’s call it nutrition. I’m trying to eat as much as possible an anti-inflammatory diet, which means getting rid of processed foods. Because they cause inflammation and inflammation is responsible for all these 21st Century diseases that we have that are so prevalent at the moment, like arthritis, cancer, diabetes, the list goes on. So I’m trying to eat as much fresh food as possible.

[00:26:06] And the last one, which is most important with MEDS is sleep. You have to get seven to eight hours sleep every night. Some people need more. But if you can aim for at least seven hours of deep sleep, it is life changing. If you don’t sleep properly, it puts you in a bad mood. Like, if you’re constantly fighting with people or your partner, check your sleep. There’s a good chance if you’re not sleeping properly, it’s causing you to be reactive. 

[00:26:44] Miriam Schulman: I also remember reading that not getting enough sleep is kind of like driving drunk. Like, if you don’t have enough sleep, it’s the same thing. 

[00:26:53] Marisa Lee Naismith: Yes. It’s something like consuming three glasses of alcohol. And also, too, they say that it makes you dumber. And also to energy levels. Like for me, when I don’t sleep properly, if someone just looks at me or asks me how I am, I burst into tears. I’m an emotional, blubbering mess if I don’t sleep properly. I’m terrible. I remember one night I was sequencing my daughter’s costume for this dancer of the year at the Australian National Titles. And it was a full length unitard and I had to sequin by hand every sequin and I went to bed at five in the morning and we had to be at the venue by 9 am. So, I literally had one hour’s sleep and then I had to do her hair and makeup. We get there and someone asked me how I was and I just burst into tears. 

[00:27:52] So yeah, so MEDS people. Meditation, or that means quiet time, being present with self. E. Exercise, if you don’t like that word, just some physical activity or movement, D, diet or let’s swap that word out, nutrition. And S, sleep. And that is so important. It is so, so important. 

[00:28:16] Your energy levels, your brain, your emotions, your body will thank you for it. And so will the people around you and the people that you deal with on a daily basis. When I get to work, people go to me how come you’ve got this crazy energy? And I say, because I work at it. And I work at it every day.

[00:28:39] Miriam Schulman: That’s beautiful. All right. Can you tell us more about your new performance mastery coaching program and how it benefits singers and professional performers and other creators looking to take their careers to the next level? 

[00:28:53] Marisa Lee Naismith: So it is based on all the years that I’ve had as a creative or as a performing artist Learning that it’s not just about your skillset, your talent, I believe is about 20 percent and the other 80 percent is things like your goal setting, your clarity, your focus, your productivity. It’s your influence. It’s basically a lot of that stuff is around mindset. 

[00:29:24] So I’m seeking to work with people who are either mid-career and are stuck and they’re wanting to take their careers to the next level. Or people who are embarking on their career journeys and they don’t know where to start, or maybe they’re lacking courage or confidence to get started.

[00:29:47] So I’m not going to improve your skills or your marketing. It’s about working on you and developing your mindset and your abilities to get yourself moving to that next level. And it’s about stop living life in the wings. And it’s time to take center stage. 

[00:30:11] Miriam Schulman: So we’re going to include links to all these places in the show notes, and that will be

[00:30:21] All righty, Marisa, do you have any last words for my listeners before we call this podcast complete? 

[00:30:26] Marisa Lee Naismith: My final words would be believe in yourself. You are worthy. You are worth the effort. You always have been and always will be. 

[00:30:39] Miriam Schulman: Fantastic. Well, thanks, Marisa, so much for being with me here today.

[00:30:43] Marisa Lee Naismith: Oh, thank you for having me, Miriam. It’s so cool to connect with you again, to see your face again, because we’ve actually had dinner in New York. 

[00:30:53] Miriam Schulman: Yes.

[00:30:54] Marisa Lee Naismith: In person. 

[00:30:55] Miriam Schulman: All right, my friend. So thank you for being with me here today and I will see you the same time, same place next week. Until then, stay inspired.

[00:31:06] Thank you for listening to The Inspiration Place Podcast. Connect with us on Facebook at, on Instagram @SchulmanArt. And, of course, on

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