Maria Howell: As a Sensitive Artist, You Want to Know About Life

PowerfulActress, Singer and Voiceover artist, Maria Howell is best known as the choir soloist from the movie “The Color Purple.”

“Art and spirituality are like singing and acting for me. Art is an expression of the spiritual side of me so as I grow with one, it helps the other. It’s a volleying back and forth like my singing and acting have been. I want both. As I learn more and I grow, I want to know more. As a sensitive artist, you want to know about life—you want to know what it means.” ~Maria Howell

Listen to Maria’s Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.

MHowell as Grace

Maria stars as Grace in NBC’s “Revolution.”

As an actress, she has appeared in Lifetime’s hit shows, Army Wives and Drop Dead Diva, the CW’s Vampire Diaries, FOX’s Past Life, ABC’s Detroit 1-8-7, Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls, Meet the Browns, and House of Payne, as well as the acclaimed theatrical release The Blind Side, starring Sandra Bullock.  She has worked alongside, Mario Van Peebles and Wendy Raquel Robinson in BET’s hit series The Game, Queen Latifah’s Single Ladies and USA’s hit show Necessary Roughness, starring Calli Thorne.  She played Jules’ doctor (Cameron Diaz), in What To Expect When You’re Expecting, and in the role of “Mrs. Easle” in the ABC Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie Firelight, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr.

revolution_nbc_smShe now joins the regular cast of the hit TV series Revolution on NBC.  Her theatrical releases in 2013 include, Addicted, starring Sharon Leal and Boris Kodjoe and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as “Seeder.”  She also joins the cast of Devious Maids, as attorney “Ida Hayes.”

Maria says, “The one seamless thing in my life has been singing and acting. Through singing, I give of myself and open up by telling stories. I’m touching people literally and figuratively. With acting, I feel I can inspire people by letting them see this African-American face doing something they might have imagined doing themselves. Any time I sing or act from the right mindset—from the right heart—I hope someone will be inspired. It’s a beautiful thing to be aware of God and know that in your art, you are connected.”

Throughout her career, Maria has shared the musical stage with legendary artists like Nancy Wilson, George Benson, Ray Charles and Earl Klugh. After a very successful stint in Asia, Maria relocated back to the US and performed weekly at Sambuca Jazz Café for nine consecutive years…2002 to its closing in December 2010. She and pianist Bill Wilson (son of legendary jazz pianist Teddy Wilson), held the distinction of being the longest running act at the Atlanta location. Maria has released several CD recordings, with the most recent release titled Reflections, a retrosMaria Howell singing 2pective collection.

She encourages other artists by saying, “I define passion as something that won’t let you go. Think about what your passion is and go for it. Even if you don’t have a fully developed plan, just start with something. Start with this step and go forward. Things somehow come to you if you put it out there. So many things have come into my life that didn’t come in the package I imagined. Connect the emotion with the experience and just live it.”

Learn more about Maria and her work at www.mariahowell.com. Links to her Facebook and Twitter pages are on her website.

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your art and your comments on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!

Jessyca Holland: Make a Living Doing Art

Jessyca Holland picJessyca Holland is the co-founder and Executive Director of C4 Atlanta, an arts nonprofit that helps artists with the business of being creative.

“At C4 Atlanta, we teach artists the vocabulary that empowers them to make a living doing art. For many artists, creating a business plan taps into a latent part of the brain that they haven’t explored before and it sparks creativity that they didn’t think was there. One purpose of business planning is to make you think about your life in terms of a mission. What gets you out of bed every day and what drives you?” ~Jessyca Holland C4Atlanta logo

Listen to Jessyca’s Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.

Before joining the world of nonprofit arts administration, Jessyca was an independent actor performing in Greater Atlanta. Jessyca participated in the Bank of America Neighborhood Excellence Initiative 2007 Leadership Program, the 2011 Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta, and was a 2011 Judith O’Conner Scholar, BoardSource.

She has been on arts panels for Georgia Forward, Gather Atlanta, and the Association of Performing Arts Service Organizations. Jessyca earned her B.A. in Theatre in 2000 from the University of West Georgia, and Masters of Library Media in 2009 from Georgia State University.

The classes and workshops provided by C4 Atlanta bring artists of different generations and a variety of mediums together. Jessyca says, “It’s helpful to look outside of your discipline. For example, if I’m a visual artist and I’m looking at a performing artist and seeing what works for them, I might be able to synthesize that to my own work. On a higher level, we have artists of different disciplines collaborate on projects after participating in a class together. It’s amazing to see this community of artists coming together.”

Find out more about Jessyca and about C4 Atlanta at www.c4atlanta.org. In addition to classes available to artists in the Atlanta area, there are on-line archives of past TechsmARTs workshops.

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your art and your comments on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!

Laura Biering: A Life of Creativity is a Spirited Life

Laura Biering, Owner and President of True Voices, is a certified Authentic Life and Leadership Coach. A 12-year veteran of the coaching profession, she has been around the block, as they say, when it comes to careers.  Before coming to coaching, she was (among other things) an opera singer and actress, a legal recruiter and a bank teller, a life drawing model (yes, that’s done nude) and a giant pickle. In addition, she is an Ordained Interfaith Minister and an Artist’s Way Evangelist.

Since finding her own True Voice, she has been working with individuals, partners and teams to create lives that are both deeply meaningful and downright fun. In other words, she helps others create realities that rock!

“I am created by a Creator, I am creative and I am supposed to create. A life of creativity is a spirited life. As we go about that in our own unique way, it makes us authentic.”  ~Laura Biering

Listen to Laura’s Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.

Laura is the author of The RiskADay Journal:  28 Days to Being You Out Loud with Courage, Creativity and Confidence.  She is currently working on several writing projects, including a book of essays with the working title, Good Girl Gone Gay:  Some Not So Random Thoughts on Authenticity and Life.

She says, “If I am open to the Mystery, then the Mystery will appear in any creative endeavor. Things are created that I didn’t sit down and say, ‘Now I am going to create this.’ It’s always bigger, broader, wider, deeper or more than whatever outline I’ve had in my mind. That’s Divinity — that’s something different than I, myself, could produce.”

In addition to her experience, skills and training, Laura brings compassion, commitment, creativity, and humor to all that she does. She is passionate about Authentic Learning, Loving, Living and Leading, and enjoys retreating on her SE Georgia farm with her partner and their two, adorable, four-legged children, Dogberry and Little Bit.

Laura says, “It’s a cycle. As I create, I’m lead spiritually. And I’m lead spiritually to create. As long as I allow my own authenticity and accept my own expression as the gift that comes through me, they’ll never be separate.”

Find out more about Laura at www.truevoices.com.

Take at least one intentional risk every single day and then reap the rewards. Purchase The RiskADay Journal  and take the 28-day challenge.

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your art and your comments on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!