People. People. People. Today’s interview is such an honor for me. I’ve known today’s interviewee for all of my life. Literally. While I’ve probably never expressed the level of my admiration to her, she is undoubtedly one of the first people I looked up to. When it comes to wisdom, she has it hands down. When you think of the word passion, you almost emphatically have to think of her. When you imagine what resilience looks like, you see her face among the crowd.
Angie Irons isn’t just my big sister, she’s someone who has inspired me to do what I love. I’ve reached out to her over the years for advice in following various dreams that I’ve had and she’s always been as honest and genuine in her reply. She’s also one of the first people I ever knew to truly follow her passion. By the time I was an early adolescent, I knew her to be off on her own passionately following her love for life. With 20+ years of experience in passionately living life out loud, I welcome you all to read this great interview with my sister, Angie Irons. You WILL be inspired. You WILL be motivated and led to start today or continue following your passion. She is definitely LIVING OUT LOUD!
Passionista: What do you consider to be your passion?
Angie: I consider my passion to be music…all things music. I have been a recording artist, music producer, vocal producer, vocal coach and artist manager. I study most aspects of music constantly and even subconsciously.
Passionista: Can you recall when you first realized it was your passion? Do you feel you’ve always been in tune with it?
Angie: I realized as a teen that music was my passion. I was forced to continue piano lessons as a young kid after my mother sacrificed and bought a piano at my request. At first it was a going-through-the-motions kind of thing, but eventually it emerged as a passion. Teen years can be rough and mine were no exception. My piano and songs were friends who would never betray or misunderstand.
Passionista: Did you ever try to ignore or distance yourself from your passion?
Angie: I left the music business for a stint to raise my children, but as I think of it I was still somewhat active in my passion because my husband and I were praise and worship leaders at our church. The babies would sleep in their car seats right there on stage as he played drums and I played keys.
Passionista: What or who pushed you to follow your passion?
Angie: Well, as I made reference before, my mother was pretty much the driving force to my focus. She didn’t lead me in the actual passion, I believe that is a “God thing”, but she definitely fed it and provided for it since as an adult she was equipped with the wisdom that you can’t just want something in life, you have to prepare for it…take some kind of action. In addition to my piano lessons, I remember one of the albums (I just dated myself, right?) I listened to for fun as a small child was all about the different types of instruments. She eventually enrolled me in one of the best performing arts high schools in Memphis, TN which was a major highlight in my training. I am so thankful for her attentiveness to my heart for music.
Passionista: If you could describe the way your passion makes you feel in one word, what word would you choose?
Passionista: Wow… That word just made my heart drop. It means so much. I take it to reflect feeling free. Just wow. Depending on if you share your passion with others, what was the defining moment when you decided you wanted others to see or feel your passion?
Angie: I think I wanted others to feel my passion…after I started writing songs professionally. I actually started working on an album before I became a real songwriter. I was just singing the songs that the producers brought to me and told me to sing. The music wasn’t coming to life for me though. We were all a little disappointed and frustrated I think. The project dragged on without much vibe to it for a while. Once again I was “going through the motions”. One day I decided to try my hand at songwriting. I had written poetry for years and figured it shouldn’t be too different. It wasn’t. I understood song structure and knew I needed to apply certain principles to the “poetry”. Once I did that, out came song after song. I had something to say. I had what I felt like was a unique way of saying it and I wanted the world to “get it”.
Passionista: This next question is very important to me. As a mother, I always wonder where or how do I continue to balance my personal life and passion. How do you balance your passion with your family life and other personal responsibilities?
Angie: It isn’t easy to balance my passion and personal responsibility. My kids are finally grown so that part is easy now. My husband understands and supports my passion and I thank God for that. I am still very active as a songwriter. My writing process can be very fragile depending upon my attention span that day. I like to get in and finish a song as much as possible so when I start, I can sit there for hours recording without stopping to eat or anything else. Hubby will sometimes fix a meal and bring it to me so that I can continue my focus. He understands I need to focus and does not challenge that whatsoever. He’s awesome. He’s not needy. He has his own passion. Having secure people around you who not only understand what you do and why you do it but support you in it is absolutely invaluable.
Passionista: What are some of your past, current, or upcoming projects that display your passion?
Angie: I have been developing a project with an artist named Aanysa whom I met when she was 11. She is turning 15 now and her talent has blossomed in an amazing way. I have been her vocal coach, producer, stylist, PR, social media specialist and manager. It has been an awesome journey and we have both put in more hard work than I have time or space to explain here but it has been rewarding – she is incredible. We will be releasing her new single entitled “Harmony” on iTunes soon. Here is a link to her most recent cover video:
Passionista: Many people view following a passion as a tough task. In reality, it can be, but it doesn’t make following the passion impossible. Tell us what have been some of your greatest challenges, if any, in following your passion? How did you overcome those challenges?
Angie: One of my greatest challenges in following my passion has been overcoming fear of rejection. In the music industry, rejection in some form (almost daily) is inevitable. I had to learn that everyone has an opinion but that as long as I am well-versed in the area of concern, mine is just as important as the next person’s. Growing thick skin is imperative. I had to decide whether I would break because of rejection and not reach my goals or get stronger behind rejection and determine to reach them no matter what. I chose the latter.
Passionista: Do you ever think you’ll stop living your passion out loud?
Angie: I won’t stop living my passion out loud even after I have gone on to meet my Maker. Hopefully I will have left some audible evidence of my passion and touched a few folks who will continue doing the same.
Passionista: I love it. That’s the longevity of your passion. How do you feel your passion inspires others?
Angie: I hope that my passion inspires others in the literal sense that people enjoy the music they hear and get something from it. I also hope that the take-away for people around me who have seen me do what I love to do is that it’s more about what’s going on inside you than what seems to be going on outside. I have dealt with ups and downs being self-employed in the music industry but I am generally happy internally because I get to do what I love whatever the external result seems to be. I answer to God. I make my choices. I succeed or fail on my own merits or lack thereof. It is sometimes scary but it is mostly incredibly thrilling and empowering. I hope that inspires the next person to just step out there and do what it is that they seem born to do.
Passionista: If you could give some advice to individuals that desire to live their passion(s) out loud, what would it be?
Angie: If I could give advice to people who want to live their passions out loud I’d say don’t think about it too long. Pray and then take some action. If it is really a passion there has probably already been some natural preparation over the years. You’re probably already as ready as you’re going to be to at least get started. Now do something. “Now” is the operative word. Also, the “out loud” part is important (metaphorically speaking of course). Be bold. One bold step empowers you to take another.
Passionista: Have you been able to expand your passion into other things?
Angie: I suppose I have expanded my passion in a couple of ways. I started with the simple desire to play piano and from playing the piano, added singing. Songwriting was yet another progression. I learned a lot along the way from some very smart people who were also kind enough to share information with me and got into music production and that sort of thing. I guess that is a kind of “expanding”. I also feel like my passion for music has been responsible for developing characteristics that have “expanded” into the other areas of my life…characteristics like patience, tenacity, and self-reliance. Those traits are leading me to another passion – inventing. Stay tuned on that one.
Passionista: What do you hope to be doing with your passion in ten years?
Angie: In ten years I hope to be reaping. Been doing a lot of sowing over the 20+ years of following this passion. 🙂
There were so many messages in her interview. It’s important to follow your passion, but it’s also important to have the proper nurturing, support, and intuitiveness from those that love you for that passion. She also mentioned the capability to be resilient and not easily deterred. I’m a bit tear jerked from this interview as it speaks so loudly to me on so many levels. I hope it left you feeling practically the same and ready to take action. I truly believe there is a little bit of Angie in all of us. JUST DO IT!
I couldn’t end this post without showing you how Angie gets down as a singer. Below is her singing one of her songs. Enjoy!