Singer Songwriter Nicolle Galyon on mentorship, music, and equality
Meet Nicolle Galyon. You’re probably already used to getting her beautiful songs stuck in your head, or maybe you’ve been lucky enough to sing along with her at a show, but you might not know about her passion for giving women the opportunities to be the absolute best they can be. She’s making big moves for women on a daily basis by showing up for them in her everyday life.
Today, we’re chatting with her about mentorship, connecting with the next generation, and her career path.
Can you tell us a bit about what you do professionally?
According to my bio, my occupation is: music row songwriter. That means I go into little rooms with different artists every day and help them write their records. Or I collaborate with other writers like me, and we pitch our songs to artists for their projects. You could say that’s my day job.
But in the past few years I’ve used my platform as a writer to transition into more of a creative CEO role. I founded a female-focused record label and publishing company called Songs & Daughters, am executive producing a scripted podcast for iHeart, am working with Save The Music to build recording studios in high schools, and am funding a scholarship called the Autobiography for kids from my high school. Writing is my first love, but it has always been a means to a bigger end for me.
What motivates you to keep going in your life and career?
I am motivated by curiosity. When I look at my calendar, I can honestly say that most of my “work” commitments (co-writes, meetings, events I’m planning) are ways that I’m seeking growth and creativity. Being a little nervous tends to put me in a healthy place, so constantly trying things that I feel a little unqualified for has historically lead to me to a better place as a human and as a business woman.
What are ways you’ve seen women make large strides in your field recently?
In the past 5 years, I’ve seen a rise in women who have families, especially young kids, having success in and out of the home at the same time. I didn’t know many songwriters who were also mothers thriving when I was coming up in the business. Now it seems like most of my peers (including myself) are finding a way to do quality work, but also get home in time to get their kids to soccer practice. The message this sends to younger women who might otherwise think they have to choose feels monumental.
What are your favorite ways to mentor younger women?
I joke that I am a professional breakfast eater. Haha. I probably go to breakfast or drinks with a younger female in our industry at least twice a week. I wouldn’t call it mentoring, though. I’d just call it connecting with a younger sister and the learning goes both ways. They think they are getting some wisdom from me, but they don’t realize how much of my creativity comes from staying one degree away from that “new to town” aliveness that can sometimes wear off with success.
Why is it important to have more women represented in your field?
There are some conversations that are only going to be had by a room of women. And when you apply that to songwriting, there are some songs --feelings, emotions, perspectives — that might only come from a room of women. Now on a bigger picture level, the more women we hire, the more likely they are to rise, the more likely they are to move into those key “gatekeeping” positions that can then open the doors for the next class of women that roll into town. It’s a cycle, but can be a beautiful one.
What can be done to encourage more female leadership in the workplace?
Less talk, more action. I likely won’t ever have to have a conversation with my daughter about why it’s important to be a leader in the workplace if I just show up everyday and be a leader in the workplace. My philosophy on leadership is to keep myself inspired by the decisions I’m making and I think that becomes contagious.
What is your favorite piece of professional advice for young women?
To honor both the feminine AND masculine qualities you have. They work in tandem toward creativity and business. It’s okay to be tender one moment and direct the next.
In the spirit of International Women’s Day, who are women in your life who have shaped who you are today?
Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. She was a stay at home mother most of my life. It was and still is her progressive thinking, resilience, commitment to evolve and self-awareness that gave me the advantage in life.