We recently connected with Michaela Wright and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Michaela, thanks for joining us today. Did you always know you wanted to pursue a creative or artistic career? When did you first know?
I grew up with an intense passion for performance and singing. I was the kid that watched the West End “Cats” VHS on repeat, the “Grease” cassette tape repeatedly, and watched “Phantom of the Opera” more times than I can count. I even had my mom pause the “Cats” VHS I had so she could paint my face exactly like one of the performers for Halloween. I always joke that I came out of the womb singing show tunes, and while my love for opera and classical singing came later, musical theatre laid the foundation for me to feel like I had found myself in the arts. By middle school, I was fairly certain that performance was my lifelong path. I haven’t stopped since.
Michaela, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
In high school, I was very active in both my choir and theatre programs. I did 14 productions with the theatre department and competed in national competitions. I also traveled with my choir and spent years building a love for the repertoire. I attended Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida where I started as a BFA in Musical Theatre and graduated with a BM in Vocal Performance with an education minor. After that, I attended University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where I met some of the most wonderful and talented musicians I know. I graduated in 2020, so I didn’t have a graduation ceremony or a master’s recital, but I began to think creatively about how I could share my art with the world. I dove deeper into the world of social media, sharing everything I could and building an international community of classical singing artists. I also performed in many virtual festivals and performed pieces by emerging composers and established ones, alike. Social media networking has become a huge part of my brand and it has afforded me many opportunities. Now, I work as the social media manager for Opera del Sol and Central Florida Vocal Arts and I am a social media organizer for Protestra. I’ve also written some articles for The Sybaritic Singer. I’ve continued my work as a voice teacher and have taken on new responsibilities as the studio manager for Central Florida Vocal Arts recently.
Any insights you can share with us about how you built up your social media presence?
The best advice I can give any singer or artist looking to build an online audience is to create engaging content that people can interact with and then reciprocate that interaction. Post stories with polls or trivia questions, create your own templates for people to share in stories, ask questions in your captions and give people the opportunity to express an opinion. In the end, social media is all about community so you should plan to like, comment, and interact with others’ content as well. There are plenty of great resources with details about hashtags and algorithms and video lengths and so on, but at the root of it all, building your social media starts with creating content that compels your followers to engage with it.
How can we best help foster a strong, supportive environment for artists and creatives?
There are so many things we could be doing better to support our colleagues and artist friends. I truly believe that the most crucial thing we are facing at this time (in classical music) is inequity for marginalized singers. This type of inequity hurts us all. There are outdated practices, principles, and ideas embedded in the art form and we are slowly beginning to disentangle those aspects of the art f0rm from the art itself. Supporting artists means lobbying for representation and the erasure of agism, ableism, sexism, racism, and homophobia in the work space. These have no place in a creative environment; They destroy the sense of safety that performers need to create art. We could, of course, always use more funding and we love when people come to see our work. These are some other ways you can keep our art form thriving.
- Website: mezzomichaela.squarespace.com
- Instagram: MezzoMichaela
- Facebook: Michaela Wright Mezzo-Soprano, Performer, Voice Teacher
- Linkedin: Michaela Wright
- Twitter: MezzoMichaela
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSNfDVikm–c0301aUx5mZw
Black and white photo – Martina Root