Written: December 1, 2017| by Boxx the Artist
If you're a bit behind, the Self-Made Series is an artistic development series created by our lead artist Boxx the Artist. This series was created to highlight self-made entrepreneurs, from the unrecognized to upcoming, rising stars, or working within the community. To take it a bit further, we've reached out to Feature #2 Erin Sedalia to offer an inside scope behind the mind of the self-made.
Erin is an artist, music artist, and all-around creative & developer of the arts.
"It's empowering to see the shift from people working for someone else to people owning their own businesses. The missing key to that is: if you're gonna work for someone, you have to have the same vision as them. And in turn, if you're gonna work for yourself, you need a team of people willing to work with and for you."
Would you like to introduce yourself ?
Well, of course! Hello world, I'm Erin Sedalia aka Sedalia aka queen, aka SaveTheQueens, aka she of she and him, aka unicornwoe, aka DOPEHAÜS creative aka that girl who sings real good...
How would you define your artistry?
I try not to define my art. I still sorta dislike creative labels. I mean, I've loved music all my life and I've been making music almost all my life, so I'll continue the rest of my life. I went to school for fashion and 10 years later, I'm still doing things in fashion. Sometimes I draw for therapy...or to just stay sane. I still write my feelings, but most of those I keep for me. Once in a while I'll drop gems on a social platform or two, but for the most part I'm saving it for the tell-all book, lol. Thankfully, my core set of people always encourage my creativity in WHATEVER I choose to do, so it's definitely humbling to know that I can do anything I want.
How do you channel your creativity? Are there certain routines, or rituals you have?
A lot of ideas come to me in dream-form. Then, there's always social media for inspiration. Society never fails me on saying or doing something I've never heard of.
Can you describe the time when you first realized that the art of creating was something that was specifically for you, something you had to do?
I don't know exactly when, but probably around the time I realized people were genuinely praising me for something I'd done well...and I agreed with them. I wrote and illustrated my first book at like the age of 7 or something. I had been singing and dancing on competition teams since age 2...everything my parents pushed me toward, was creative. From drums to owning a business. Anytime I've done something non-creative, I brought my creative knowledge to it, and (hopefully) changed some lives.
What message(s) are you trying to rely and want people to receive from your artistry?
The purpose of even making art is for me giving back to my creator. Hopefully, I'm able to teach people along the way either by watching my journey or by the stories I tell.
Can you tell us a bit about your #SAVETHEQUEENS project?
#SAVETHEQUEENS started as a mission after my #QUEENIN song. It started to do so well that people started calling me queen. I used to hate the way certain men used that term to prey on women who had never been called one before. It was being overused in my community, so I decided to write modern-day stories of some QUEENS (also princesses or goddesses) we all have heard of, because from my point of view, that hadn't been done enough in R&B or hip-hop. My partner and I made and curated all the music. I wrote the songs, and even produced a couple tracks on the project.
Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur? If so, what inspired your entrepreneurship?
Absolutely. My first business was myself. I learned early on that the lessons and concerts and education I'd been getting, was being paid for with my time and my parent's money... I knew I had to make something out of what I had been given. I was singing at weddings as soon as people knew I could sing, so that was a check. My first hustle started when I changed high schools in the middle of my junior year and I started typing papers in first period for people, selling bags of chips that I basically got for free out my dads pantry, and doing prom dress sketched-designs in high school. But by then, I had already had a few different jobs, and I was singing on tour opening for the Chi-Lites... I was a busy teenager.
How do you feel about the state of entrepreneurship in Gary?
It's empowering to see the shift from people working for someone else to people owning their own businesses. The missing key to that is: if you're gonna work for someone, you have to have the same vision as them. And in turn, if you're gonna work for yourself, you need a team of people willing to work with and for you. I've observed many people taking shortcuts, instead of doing the proper things to become a successful entrepreneur like having a plan beyond a grand opening. The good news, is that Gary is perfect place to be an entrepreneur, because there's nothing but space and opportunity! There are creatives with great ideas, land to build on, and hard workers all around to bring it into fruition.
Do you feel there is a sense of community (in Gary)? If yes, how so? If no, how can we improve?
I must preface this by saying I've lived in a lot of cities, but Gary has the biggest community. Everyone seems to know each other or somehow be connected. However, there's not enough pride or faith in your city. For example, I was born in Chicago on the west side. But, we moved to Bellwood, then Downers Grove, then Maywood, then Oak Park, then Forest Park, then Maywood (again), the Bellwood (again), then downtown Chicago, then back to the west side, then Lombard/Addison. But anywhere I go, they know I'm from Chicago. Why? Because I love my city, even when it's horrible. I have pride in my city, and any time I leave there, I'm still proud to be FROM there. But there's not much improvement I can do that isn't already being done. Moving to Gary allowed me to help a community where I could see potential for growth beyond what people think... I hope people won't be too late on the change bandwagon, because it's happening all around us.
What are some resources that you wish you had access to help you on your journey?
The only thing I didn't have was the courage to act on some of the opportunities I had. Back then, I was heavily influenced by religion, and it took me away from listening to some great albums or writing/performing/teaching certain things. We had Myspace and Blackplanet and we were sooo connected with real people who were in the television/music industry and starting to acquire creative directors and influencers early on and I didn't have the confidence to go for it like I should've.
What's some sound advice that you would give to yourself 5 years ago?
As always, some girls will give you a hard time based on your decisions to live life unapologetic of being different from them. Don't let them or circumstances bring out your pessimistic side. You're already meeting some amazing men and women that will change the world. Stay positive. Date yourself a lil bit more and you'll see why everyone likes you. Bonus point: you'll have so much more fun by yourself then on a random date with a guy you don't really like just because he won't stop asking you out. Start singing YOUR songs for real. Better yet, start being the you, you only sing about. Be open to the help that is coming. Don't give up on the businesses you've created...weddings will NEVER go away. There's always profit in fashion. Art is coming back to the mainstream, and people want to have better sex...wait for it.
How do you feel about the term "self-made?" Would you consider yourself self-made?
I consider myself GOD-made. I am a product of my parents, my environments, and my interpretation of life's moral/immoral compass... I've done great things on my own, and I'm forever proud of what I've accomplished. I just now have all the more respect for being able to create with someone else of a completely different set of morals, family, environment, and have it come out as cohesive as if it were done by one person. It's power in numbers.
Being your biggest critic, where are some areas of opportunity you'd like to see yourself grow and improve?
I had really big mood changes that affected my consistency whenever I got thrown off my routine. I've learned to be less of a control freak and more of a visionary that sees a problem and has multiple solutions in case I gotta fly off the cuff...because more than likely, you will have to improvise something.
What's the end goal in your grind?
To see the change I have caused. When I sing my songs, I want people to listen to me and feel something. When I mentor, I challenge people to see a different perspective than what they came in with. In art, I want to spread love. Sometimes, I draw someone just because they're on my mind. I want to make sure that I influence both children and adults to be better humans. Because that's the essence of what we are.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Sure! As far as music goes, I'm like one song away from completing the #SAVETHEQUEENS project. I'll announce the release date soon, but still check out my other music! Every year I sing at a couple resorts overseas, and I'm gonna be opening the trip up to some friends of mine with great group discount rates so everyone can come!
I was recently featured on a couple Midwest artist's projects. Hear me on BOB CHIN's THE BC EP on the song HEY NOW and Gary native, MEECHMEECH's song TO THE SKY. Video-wise, I was just a part of Jamla/Roc Nation recording artist RAPSODY's music video for her song POWER off her debut album LAILA'S WISDOM (on all music platforms and YouTube vevo) and once a month I sing at this lil speakeasy joint called the Bassment in Chicago. It's password only entry, so let me know if ever you wanna go.
I've recently started moderating healthy sex talks once a month called PIZZA + PORN partnered with a couple of other small businesses and various sex and health experts. I'm also managing a nail salon in a Midlothian that's pretty dope where I get to practice my nail art and henna.
My partner Dwayne and I have just launched our business DOPEHAÜS and although I can't share EVERYTHING that we're doing, just know that there will always be a fun surprise from us and the businesses that we partner with! We'll let you know so you can Come on over to DOPEHAÜS™
There are also some game-changing announcements coming from creatives in Gary, and I'm glad to be a part of the planning for it. February 19th (my favorite holiday), I will be turning 30. And I'm hella excited for what these last couple months of my twenties will be! Other than that, I'm still a member of Red Pill Arts Society, and as always #itsthePillfoo
How can people connect with you?
YouTube: Search Erin Sedalia
Download/Streaming: Search Erin Sedalia on iTunes | SoundCloud | Apple Music | Spotify | Google Play
...Or just search my hashtag #wheretheDOPEthingsare on most social platforms and you'll see me around *ye shrug*