PATRICIA O’CALLAGHAN

Another Friday means another amazing woman for you to be inspired by! This week the one and only Patricia O’Callaghan is our #FEMMEFEATUREFRIDAY! Patricia is a multi-talented artist and musician. It is so beautiful to see how this hardworking and gritty woman appreciates the values that have been instilled in her by working in the music industry. Music has not only shaped Patricia into the woman she is today, but it has also shown her that patience and persistence are the secrets to unveiling your wildest dreams. We love that Patricia is committed to the process, whether it’s in her professional or personal life, Patricia always finds the lesson in the journey of becoming.

Today, Patricia has established herself as one of the country’s most versatile classical musicians. She has worked alongside music industry names such as R. Murray Schafer, David Braid, Dennis Lee, Christos Hatzis, George Aperghis, Steve Reich, and Steven Page. At the beginning of 2019, she received her first JUNO Awards nomination in the category of Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral. The album she is nominated for is entitled Corona Divinae Misericordiae, which features chamber choir Elmer Iseler Singers and Patricia as the soloist. Not to mention, this is the first time that a jazz-fusion piece has been nominated under the classical category! We can’t wait to hear what Patricia has in store for her next album! In the meantime, make sure to check out Corona Divinae Misericordiae, which is available on all major streaming platforms including Spotify and Apple Music.

We admire her brave spirit and hope that all ambitious women around the world can follow in Patricia’s footsteps of courage and daring vulnerability. Patricia’s story teaches us that following your dreams is hard. While pursuing what you love can be oh so exciting, it is often met with many tests and obstacles. It’s comforting to hear from a successful woman like Patricia that tough and scary moments throughout your career are not only normal, but inevitable. Once we get past whatever is holding us back, we always become stronger, feel prouder and ultimately blossom into the person we want to be. Thank you Patricia for encouraging us to embrace uncertainties as opportunities to create a life we always imagined!

Written by Alessia Rotino (@a.le.ssi.a)

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

Congratulations on receiving your first JUNO Awards nomination! Can you tell us about your journey into becoming a professional musician and how music has shaped you into the woman you are today?

Thank you! This is a project I’m very proud of.

Being a musician has probably shaped every aspect of who I am as a human. Everything I know about life and the world I have learned, somehow or other, through the lens of music. It is like a key that opens doors for me…my way INTO something is done through the angle of music. 

Music, like many other businesses, has been traditionally dominated by males, so it took a long time for me to understand that I have my own way of leading a band or a project, that is more matriarchal in its approach – more collaborative, less hierarchical. It’s really only recently I’ve been able to say to myself, “My way of leading is good. It’s not flawed, it’s just different”.

What has been the biggest obstacle you have faced pursuing a creative career?

Well, it’s an incredibly competitive and difficult field to make a living in, so there are plenty of enormous obstacles, but I find again and again, I have to face the demon of comparison – of saying to myself, “Oh, what that person is doing is so much better than what I’m doing”, or the opposite, “I should have got that gig instead of so-and-so.” I have to remember that we all have something truly unique to offer, and re-focus on the joy of following where my heart leads me creatively. Trusting in myself, in my own path and my own voice is a constant, but wonderful lesson to be learning.

What does being fearless mean to you? How did you learn to cultivate your own sense of courage and bravery?

Love and passion are what help me move through my fear. The passion for something has to be, even just a bit, bigger than the fear of that same thing in order to face it, know it and get through it (usually for me the fear is also pretty huge). If I feel that ‘butterflies’ feeling in my belly, I try to lean into the excitement aspect of it rather than the terror aspect of it, if you know what I mean! Stage fright is something I deal with on a regular basis, although it’s way more manageable for me now than it used to be. I would love to be fearless, but it’s not something I experience often. Courage is doing something while you’re feeling plenty of fear. And I think the ‘cour’ in courage comes from the same root as the word ‘heart’. Maybe it means your heart knows you need to do something anyway, through the fear, and once you’ve done it, you feel very fulfilled and proud, because your heart knew it was the right thing to do!

If you could go back in time and give your 10-year-old self some advice, what would you say to her?

Trust those crazy creative ideas, nurture them, have fun, play, create beautiful things. But honestly, I was a pretty happy, healthy 10-year-old, and it’s more my present-day self that needs advice from her than the other way around!

What’s your definition of a YGTGirl?

Someone who is able to be present, listen, and trust themselves. If there doesn’t seem to be a straight-ahead path already forged, someone who can improvise, make things up as they go along, and create their own path, which then makes it easier for others behind them to see their way through the forest.