An Interview With Ming Zhao
At times it feels like wellness or elevating one’s wellbeing, is diametrically opposed to high achievement and high performance in one’s career. The stress, mental energy, long hours, lack of restful sleep and preoccupation that result from a high-achievement life seem to directly inhibit wellness. And yet, in order to sustain the creativity, flexibility, mental acuity and resilience that are necessary for high performance, wellness and wellbeing of the mind, body and soul are also mandatory. So how do we achieve both? This is the question I’m hoping to answer through conversations with high-achieving leaders who are practicing their own philosophies about how to maintain their wellbeing.
As a part of our series about “How To Succeed And Thrive As Both A Celebrity And An Entrepreneur”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Betty Moon.
Betty Moon is a Toronto-born singer, songwriter, producer, and filmmaker. Known for her sultry voice, rock n’ roll attitude and visionary appeal, Moon is an always-evolving tour de force. Moon’s music has been featured in a variety of television shows and films including Californication, Dexter, Bounty Hunters, Walking the Dead directed by Melanie Ansley, and Last Gasp starring Robert Patrick.
Moon’s first album deal was with A&M Records, and her self-titled debut LP was released while living and touring throughout Canada. She has been nominated for four CASBY Awards including Best Album of the Year, Best Single of the Year, Best Video of the Year, and Best Artist of the Year. Moon released multiple records after her debut album, which includes Doll Machine (EMI), STIR (St. Clair), Demon Flowers and multiple releases via her label Evolver Music including Rollin’ Revolution, Amourphous and Pantomania.
In 2010, Moon relocated to Los Angeles and released her 5th album Rollin’ Revolution, which garnered airplay on famed L.A. rock radio station KROQ. In 2013, Moon was a featured artist at the Sunset Strip Music Festival, sharing the stage with Marilyn Manson, Steve Aoki and The Offspring. She continues to be a regular performer at iconic venues such as The Roxy, Whisky a Go Go, and The Viper Room in Hollywood. Her collaboration with top music industry professionals includes Kenny Aronoff, Brendan Buckley, Wes Scantlin, John Christ, and Chris Lord-Alge.
Moon’s most recent and 9th studio release ‘Hellucination’ was released on May 17th, 2019.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory of how you came upon this career path and to where you are today?
Thank you for having me be a part of this interview. I grew up in Toronto Canada and music was a part of my life from a very young age. My father had a recording studio on our property and our network of musicians and friends engrained “making music” in my blood before I could even realize it. When I was a teenager I became known for my DIY work ethic and for selling 10,000 albums on my own with my first band. It helped me gain interest from major labels and eventually signed a solo deal with A&M in the 90’s. Fast forward to today, I now own and operate Evolver Music, which is a label, publisher and production company which I use to release my music and other content.
If it wasn’t for building on my interests in music and business from a young age, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. It took many risks, several major failures and mistakes, moving back and forth from Canada and Los Angeles, and so much more. I could have easily quit and tried something else, but I kept evolving and pushing through barriers and celebrating victories as small as some where.. A lot of the recent success is tied to aligning myself with other talented friends, industry people and executives. The music and entertainment business is always changing, evolving and making shifts that can either be an opportunity or an exit for many people. Thankfully I’m in this for the long haul, and am positioned to pivot and grow as an entrepreneur daily.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I am thankful to my husband Terry, my team at Evolver music Inc, and to my manager Gerry Young. I have been working with him for a very long time and he has helped open more doors than I can possibly remember. Not only is he one of the best in the business, but he’s also a dear friend and couldn’t do this without him. I remember back in the days of my old band Bambi he thought my whole getup was a bit over the top, but because of that he was intrigued and thankfully came to a couple shows to get to know me. I think because of his incredible background and my unique edge, we were brought together to work on this awesome relationship in music.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
Sure, I’ve made many. We can start with having my boyfriend manage me in my twenties. Disastrous on so many levels. He turned down deals I would have accepted. Then there was my first marriage to a person that was less than kind and set out to destroy my career in many ways. Followed up as one of those disastrous marriages at too young of age and a regretful decision not to move to LA sooner, all which could have sidetracked my music and business ambitions. The lesson? Stay on track and in your lane. Don’t be so distracted by people around you, especially ones that have their own self-interest at heart.
As a celebrity, you have been blessed with great success in a career path that many have attempted, but eventually gave up on. In fact perhaps most people who tried to follow a career path like yours did not succeed. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path but know that their dreams might be dashed?
Sometimes you have to evolve in ways that are uncomfortable, scary and even foolish in the eyes of your peers, friends and family. I would assume many that fail probably quit just before a certain level of success could be achieved, and sometimes that’s out of their control due to finances, family or other external elements. Honestly, I think there’s always a way to figure it out but it requires an open mind, taking risks and even doing something that was not aligned with your first expectations.
An example would be someone who wants to be a business owner, but after trying once or twice they cannot figure it out. Perhaps the route isn’t just A to B, and there is a different road to travel to be the business owner you dreamed about. Maybe it’s years in a different position, managing, assisting or simply paying dues in other ways until the right opportunity presents itself. What works for others you may see in your network or those you admire are most likely not the things that will work for you. Every journey is different, but half the battle is to keep evolving, learning and moving forward in the right direction for you..
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview. You have been successful as both a celebrity and an entrepreneur. Most celebrities don’t make that transition successfully. We’d love to learn your secret. How do you do both?
I think that had the entrepreneurial spirit in me from an early age. Even though many of the things I did were obligatory of musicians to make it, not all people in music take an interest to business, marketing and purposely trying to “make it” in focused ways. Most musicians make a conscious decision to leave the industry once their time as a professional artist fade, and many just quit when things lose their appeal or cash flow. Thankfully, I love this stuff and was always trying to stay one step ahead of the rest. From producing records in multiple studios I’ve owned to releasing and publishing music, I learned all the skills to build and run a great business. Most importantly though, even though it’s work and takes time, it’s a lot of fun doing it. My publishing catalogue has hit over 5 million streams and well over 2 million downloads and for an independent artist, I am extremely proud of reaching these types of numbers.
In my work, I focus on how one can thrive and care for oneself in three areas: body, mind, and heart. You are a busy leader with a demanding schedule, can you share with our readers two self care routines, practices or treatments that help your body thrive? Kindly share a story or an example for each.
First off, I try and avoid the word busy since pretty much anyone can say they are busy. I admittedly overused the word like most of us, but recently started focusing on the mindset of being productive and getting results. My best results in all areas of life come from a balance of focused work, relaxation, learning, travel and challenges. I say challenges since learning may come before and after the barrier, whether that be in business or the type of music I work in professionally. For self care, I make it a point to travel quarterly with my family, and weekly I have multiple fitness routines including dance, weights, yoga and cardio. I think it’s important to step away from what you’re doing a majority of the time, and during that time off you come up with the best ideas while also making time for self care, family and leisure.
Can you share with us two routines that you use to help your mind thrive? (Kindly share a story or example for each.)
I practice a bit of meditation in the morning and just before sleep. It really helps my mind balance and get into a place of focus, compared to waking or sleeping with a million things running through my mind. The other routine would be fitness, just like with yoga when you’re in a moment that lets you access the “subconscious”, which is usually not being used when you’re caught up in daily work, stress and life. That alternative, deeper mindset helps you mentally and also brings out incredible ideas and levels of focus that can motivate you.
Can you share with us two routines that you partake in to help your heart or spiritual side to thrive? (Kindly share a story or example for each.)
Even though this wouldn’t be daily or even weekly, I make it a point quarterly and on holidays to spend uninterrupted time with family and dear friends. This block of time brings out gratitude and helps with reflecting on the things that truly matter, and how the other things in life (work) help serve them. The other would be dance and yoga/meditation, these spiritually focused practices are all they are hyped up to be. They are the magic practices that get your mind focused and your ass in gear to do amazing things in life.
All of us have great days and bad days. On days when you feel like a rockstar what do you do? What does that day look like, and what did you do to get there?
I have a sanctuary by the ocean that I go to. I go there, stare at the ocean and count my blessings realizing how thankful and blessed I am. I try and up the level of gratitude and productivity on those days, especially if it’s a great day during the week and I have things on the agenda. It’s best to keep the momentum going to make even more amazing things happen, whether that be musically or in business.
In contrast, on days when you feel down, what do you do?
Put on some sad music and cry? Haha. Sometimes on those types of days it’s good to shut down the computer, grab some coffee or hit the gym to sweat out the bad ju ju vibes. Often it’s not worth putting the bad energy into the rest of the work day if you aren’t going to produce your best work. Of course, there are days with deadlines when you don’t have a choice but to push on, but if those to-do items can wait 24 hours just put it off and go back in with a fresh mind and attitude.
Is there a particular resource, a practitioner, expert, book, podcast that made a significant impact on you and helped you to thrive? Can you share a story about that with us?
As far as books go, I would say Eckhart Tolle’s popular ‘The Power of Now’ read is a good example. It’s a great reminder to “stop and smell the roses”, as in live in the moment and enjoy everything in front of you. Life and business can be so fast paced and insane, so it reminds you to appreciate and take in the little things. I also enjoy the Tim Ferris podcast and some of his books, he shares some great ideas and much growth comes from seeing what others did right and wrong throughout their careers. Being candid and vulnerable is an awesome thing, and sharing is even more rewarding.
Do you have a story about the strangest, most bizarre or funniest wellness treatment that you’ve ever experienced?
I tried cupping once after moving to LA, it’s an interesting approach to alternative treatment but was curious to try it. It basically leaves a circular bruise in multiple spots and almost looks like a tattoo. While many don’t subscribe to this treatment, I’ve heard about the many benefits to trying it. I don’t think I’d do it again. I prefer eating healthy, going on hikes, walking the dog, dancing and getting to the oceanside for clean air and some playtime.
You’re a high achieving creative authority and leader, and yet, you may have family and loved ones that require a different side of you at home. How do you leave the high powered executive at the door, and become a loving caretaker at home?
I honestly don’t leave anything at home or work, my Betty Moon game is the same across the board. I enjoy being equally full of love, passion and drive and give that to both my family and business. I think it’s important to be a badass at what you do, but you also have to be a badass and give 100% with your friends and family. I’m not the kind of executive or business owner that asks like a stereotypical hollywood music exec, so I don’t walk around with a big ego. My confidence and willingness to be present in all that I do is what makes a healthy balance.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂
It would be wonderful to have breakfast with Richard Branson, not only is he goal-driven like I am, but he has so much passion for business and life. I visited his new start up in Long Beach a few months ago and I’m thoroughly impressed with him. There are very few that publically come off like they have the perfect balance of business and leisure, and make the process look so fluid and easy. I think we are all looking for the secret to a life well lived, and how to build the biggest, most profitable business possible at the same time.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Please follow me on these channels
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!
Thank you so much, I had a blast doing this interview with you!