53 minutes | Jul 5, 2021

Ashley Danyew - Musician and Educator Shares the Importance of Being a Portfolio Artist

in many ways today’s episode is almost a masterclass from beginning to end in how to bridge the gap between being artist and an entrepreneur. Ashley Danyew is a musician and educator who shares how she has had to branch out in many different directions to build both an enjoyable and sustainable career. 

Sign up for the monthly WINMI Newsletter

Even before the pandemic, the life of any artist was one of constant change. Times when you have more work than you know what to do with and other long stretches of time where you have to take other side jobs just to keep going. For centuries the term "jack of all trades" has been used to describe an individual who knows a variety of skills and is able to bring these disciplines together in a practical and ideally profitable manner. In more recent years, though, “jack of all trades” has become synonymous with another term: multi-hyphenate, especially when it comes to actors and other artists who branch out beyond their main creative focus. But in my conversation today with Ashley Danyew, we will be talking about yet another term: the portfolio artist

A few years ago The Guardian wrote about the need for more portfolio musicians. The article says, “As 21st-century professional practitioners, a musician must not only excel as a performer, but also as a teacher, leader, and creative collaborator across a range of styles and genres.” It goes on to say that artists and musicians are increasingly engaging with people, places and digital technology, producing all sorts of environments for creation and performance, with an ever-greater blurring of boundaries between artforms.

Now, in addition to all this artistic creativity, we must also be entrepreneurs who thrive as much on the business side as we do the performance. That of course can be much easier said than done. Especially during times like this past year with the pandemic. Ashley even had her own devastating setback when she lost her voice and had to learn how to just speak and sing again. Through that experience and others, Ashley learned how important it is to pivot throughout our careers and find work in a variety of way. And so in today’s episode she shows through her own experiences as a teacher, musician and performer how each of us can blend the creative and corporate halves of our career together, in a more seamless and sustainable way.


Why I’ll Never Make It is a Top 25 Theater Podcast on Feedspot, and is also a part of Helium Radio Network and a member of the Broadway Makers Alliance

Music in the episode by Borrtex and Podington Bear is used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Play Next