This Bird Has Flown (From Canada)
Sleek songwriter Michelle Pereira makes strides in Nashville’s music industry by bringing in her unique background.
Traveling all the way down from Toronto, Canada, Michelle Pereira (PURR-AIR-UH) moved here fresh out of college in 2015 with a degree in vocal jazz performance in order to continue studying music through a 6-month program at Blackbird Studios.
Excited to experience a new city in an entirely new country, she moved to Nashville without knowing anybody, starting from ground zero, but with 100% moral support from her parents and family.
Though Michelle appreciates being in a new country with new opportunities, she reminisces that Toronto is a cool, multi-cultural spot with bars playing varied music genres. Plus, Michelle does occasionally miss the Portuguese bakeries to curb her authentic prerogie craving, since she comes from a Portuguese-European background and wishes for a taste of home.
As far as her melodic interests, Michelle knew from a very early age she wanted to do something in music. For fun, she would sing during family gatherings.
Her folks would ask her to belt “I Hope You Dance” by Leanne Womack. Later, she took vocal lessons (one year she took lessons from Shania Twain’s former coach), guitar lessons, and taught vocal lessons for a handful of years. Funny enough, she’s the only musically inclined person in her family, though she attributes her interest and talents to both her parents and sister who have a love and admiration for all kinds of music .
Even though she studied jazz performance, she didn’t grow up listening to jazz, besides Frank Sinatra, so she took a chance with the genre and loved it.
Like most of us, Michelle’s early passion for music did not necessarily guide her to a specific career path.
During a class at Blackbird one day, recording a song writing session, Michelle wondered what the songwriters were actually doing. They responded, explaining they were recording songs they wrote, but the songs are demos to be pitched to major potential artists to record and perform.
Once Michelle realized that recording and pitching demos was an actual thing people could do as a career, she was instantaneously driven to figure it out how to stay in Nashville long-term as a Canadian and work post-Blackbird program. Luckily, she found the grace of NSAI, who helped her attain a work visa. Even today, Michelle recognizes that she owes a lot to Bart and everyone over there, as they’re the whole reason she is able to stay and work here, living out her goals and dreams.
Having found her hustle, she started writing music every day, mostly two times a day. Of course, at the end of the day, constantly writing became very exhausting. Michelle admits that at first she overworked herself writing and doing gigs every day. She realized she needed to take a step back and re-evaluate her writing focus, which boiled down to choosing quality over quantity.
These days, Michelle attests to the importance of finding balance between working and relaxing, taking one day of the week for herself. In such a competitive industry, it’s tough to justify a work break, but that precise balance is key.
The following is Michelle’s current weekly work/relax schedule:
Typically, she works five days a week songwriting, mostly Mo-Fri, but uses Wednesdays for administrative tasks. Wednesdays have their own special tasks: catching up on emails and running errands.
In Michelle’s experience, Mondays are bad for sending emails since it’s the first day after the weekend. On Tuesdays, most people are still catching up on weekend/Monday emails, so Wednesdays are golden for immediate responses.
She prefers writing new stuff in the morning, around 10AM-1PM, and she takes the afternoon to recoup and put on her idea cap for the following days, planning ahead. Afternoons are also useful for balancing housework/the gym/meals and networking/playing gigs/going out to see gigs, such as Whiskey Jam Monday.
As a songwriter, Michelle doesn’t work in an office, but in order to have the productive mentality of coming into work, she walks into HOME and uses a room or the recording studio to complete her tasks.
One of her current projects is a startup business venture called Songster Catalogue,
which is a downloadable file to help songwriters and session writers organize all the itty-bitty details of their song catalogue. Michelle created and designed the entire service simply because she understands the importance of organization and professional appearance as a songwriter, which gives a competitive edge. Though, first and foremost she genuinely wants to help other people.
The reason Michelle is a HOME member is also due to the kindness of NSAI, specifically from our very own Trina, who used to work there and has a résumé longer than the rush hour drive-thru line at the Brentwood Chick-Fil-A.
In addition to Michelle’s other pursuits, she is currently singing with The Song Suffragettes. Already having a connection due to her thorough networking efforts, she auditioned, joined the crew, and has since made even more invaluable connections. Michelle thoroughly enjoys singing with the group, who are all incredible women. The fact that The Song Suffragettes are well known in Nashville doesn’t hurt either.
Last time I saw Michelle, which was in late July, she was recording at HOME for an acoustic project she will add to her extensive repertoire.
Her latest news is the anticipated release of her single, “Worthy,” which will be available everywhere on September 28th!
Written and interviewed by Andra Ingram