I’m just a girl from Downey, with a nonprofit recording studio, trying to change the world

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This blog originally appeared on emilyhibard.com. Used with permission.

Error on the side of action

Something strange came over me in 2008. I had a strong sense to open a nonprofit recording studio and help up-and-coming artists here in Los Angeles. I don’t sing. I don’t play an instrument, and I’ve never been in a band.

The idea of launching a nonprofit recording studio played out like a ping pong match in my head, bouncing back and forth between reasons why this could be great, and reasons why this could head south very quickly. I’d never been in a recording studio before and didn’t know the first thing about them…or the music culture. I’d been an athlete and viewed artists and musicians like mysterious unicorns, never sure what they were thinking, feeling or about to do.

Between mental ping pong, I pictured myself as an old, wrinkly woman, wearing something horribly out of style and passing the time by rocking in my chair on a porch somewhere out in the country. My old lady self stared out at the amber waves of grain and regretted not starting that nonprofit recording studio decades previous.

Somewhere in my twenties, my young lady self made a promise to error on the side of action.

When I found myself at a crossroads I wanted to choose action. No buts. No what ifs. Just action. Even if it wasn’t correct or if I might fail. I refused to cower. I told fear to f*&# off. I chose to live. To truly live, regret-less. After I remembered this self promise, I stopped seeing my old lady self on the porch.

Idle Tuesdays Recording Studio, an impossible idea come true.

This year is Idle Tuesdays’ 4th birthday. I suppose you can say we’re in pre-school. We know our ABCs, some shapes, primary colors and are learning to play with others.

We’re best known for our Program Artists – each year we sign one artist and mentor them through the recording process. Funded entirely by donations and the goodness of people’s hearts, we record three original songs, give them an awesome photo shoot, design album art, and host an album release party somewhere in Hollywood. Probably Hotel Cafe.

After receiving a slur of submissions online, we invited the Top 10 candidates into the studio this past Wednesday to audition live for our producers, board members, volunteers, past Program Artists and friends of the studio…aka music professional friends named Marvin Winans Jr., Malik Murry and Tyler Ward.

We’re in the process of reviewing each applicant. It’s hard. There’s so many things to consider. It’s like choosing what kid at the orphanage you’re going to adopt and bring home to be a part of your family.

I don’t just want to make great music, I want to change the world!

There’s more artists out there who are not a great fit for Idle Tuesdays than are. If a singer/songwriter has a vision to “make it” in the music business so they can pay their bills, they’re not for us. Their vision is too small. If a hip hop artist wants to record with us because it’ll feed their ego, again, not for us. There are hundreds of other studios in Los Angeles who will record anybody for about $100 an hour. Sing about whatever you want. Say anything that comes to mind.

Idle Tuesdays doesn’t just exist to make music, it’s the tool we’re using to change the world. We’re picky about who rents our studio too…not because we’re jerks, but because our studio is special. What we do is special. We’re the only nonprofit recording studio in the United States of America doing what we do.

Every volunteer we accept, every board member we invite, every donated dollar we spend, every event we host, every organization we partner with, every artist we record is done with our eyes wide open.

Making this world a better place is not for the faint of heart, the selfish, or the weak. The culture here in Los Angeles is to take whatever you can from anybody who will give it up. Idle Tuesdays made it to proverbial pre-school because people volunteer their time, their talent, their equipment, their ideas and click the donate button on idletuesdays.com.

Each time somebody gives, our whole team takes a unified step forward. We gain ground, and we win a little.

To my old lady self,

I dedicate this blog to you. We’ve done a good job choosing to error on the side of action, but there’s still much to do before we meet. We climbed Mount Kilimanjaro not because we were the strongest or the fastest, but because we didn’t quit. We put one foot in front of the other, day after day, until we stood on top of Africa. Until we meet, I promise to keep trying. I’ll take calculated risks and make my best decisions. I may fail, but I promise to learn something and come back better.

I refuse to let us sit on that porch with regret.

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On June 4, 2016
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