Lisa Kelly’s New Normal: A Small Business with Small Cients
Written by: SeKoixa Gonzalez
There is excitement in the air as the pitter-patter of shoes walks across the concrete and onto a boarded floor. Children line up and try to stay six feet apart. After months of only seeing each other on screens, however, it becomes difficult to do so. A slight hush falls as the keys begin to play and tiny voices ring out in unison. This is the new normal that the artist Lisa Kelly must face.
Stay-at-home orders were issued in late March, as the states closed their economies temporarily to change the curve in the number of cases found for the COVID-19 pandemic. Georgia Governor, Brian Kemp, issued the order on April 1 that was originally meant to stay in effect until April 30. This left many locally owned businesses scrambling to come up with safety solutions for their employees and guests while others had to budget up to two months’ worth of furloughs and unemployment checks. Concerts and local venues were shut down and artists began to struggle and search for new solutions to make money and discover their new normal.
For Lisa Kelly and her husband, Scott Porter, the shutdown allowed for a slow-down in their lives. Kelly said, “I’ve enjoyed this time, I know it sounds bad, but for me, I’ve liked things slowing down…Our life is always go-go-go all the time…When the kids are in school we’re up early and in bed late….It’s been the first time in our lives where we’ve been forced to slow down and really evaluate who we are and how we cope as a family. It’s a time I will never forget and I’m glad to have taken advantage of this family time.”
While things slowed down in the house, Kelly grew a bit concerned about her children’s online classes: “Some of them have already had
online classes so I wasn’t as worried about that…The local education system is always a struggle for me [to understand] because I didn’t grow up here. With the kids getting older, college applications have been challenging as well. I rely heavily on my kids to let me know what’s going on. And my youngest Harry is only eight…It was hard on him. It took a lot of self-discipline and he missed the social interactions…I was on him every day. I had to get more involved when he was online.”
Lisa Kelly is not only a mother of four, but she runs a voice academy as well. When the stay-at-home order was issued, Kelly said she was able to quickly adjust to online vocal lessons since she has previously completed online lessons. Kelly said, “Most of the classes weren’t too difficult; some worked a little better than others. The classes ran smoothly and there often was not time to chat. You could also mute yourself and that gave time to allow for others to practice while I was working with someone else.” However, there were still challenges she had to face. “The younger kids couldn’t cope. There were a lot of mishaps. I spent a lot of time telling them to turn their mics on and off…It worked well for the most part…I really missed their little faces…The human element, I missed.”
Many musicians can relate to each other when it comes to sharing their love for music. The need to share their passions and who they are can be almost soul-crushing during these times. Lisa Kelly shares her feelings:
“A huge part of teaching singing is helping people trust in you and you knowing how they tick or knowing why something is difficult for them, not just your scales and singing a solo…It’s deep down in your soul and sharing a little bit of that with anyone who will listen.”
Kelly even faced some surprises that brought joy and hope to her and the students at her academy. “There is this scholarship, run by a couple in Florida. They raise funds for it every time I do a concert. This year, I wasn’t able to do one. Anyways, we end up with loads to help with summer camps. We weren’t behind this year, but the couple insisted, and it was a huge turnout. This is the most support we’ve gotten, even during such times in this pandemic.”
With hope in her heart, Kelly began to look up towards the future. Due to the stay-at-home orders, Lisa Kelly was unable to plan a spring concert. However, she said she is looking to do a Christmas special this year. Since the stay-at-home order has been lifted, Kelly said she has many plans to keep the students and her family safe as well as bring new and exciting things to the summer camp program.
“I’m so lucky that this has been a self-sufficient business. It’s been helpful during these times. We recently re-opened our doors on June 1. We marked out every six feet. We are stocked with hand sanitizer and soap and pushing for everyone to be washing their hands. We’re also taking temperatures as they enter the building. Since we have two entrances, we have the students come in through the front, go out the back, and as they’re leaving, we sanitize behind them. We’re only allowing 20 people in at a time.”
“The summer camp is going to be four weeks long. I’m going to be working for about nine to 10 hours every day. This will be the first time I’ve done these hours. I love summer camp and really enjoy the intenseness of it. I kind of love the adrenaline rush of tech week. I love getting things done quickly…I love having the kids seeing the hard work that goes into it…”
“I look forward to human interaction. I feed off their emotions, it’s the best way to teach. Those kids, ran into the studio, during Scott’s lessons, couldn’t stay six feet apart because of how much they missed each other!”
As the country begins to adjust to a new normal and discover how to handle new situations every day, Lisa Kelly hopes her friends, family, students, and fans can learn one thing from her: “Just be kind. You never know somebody’s struggle…Be kind, tolerant, and listen. Try and learn something new.”
For more information about Lisa Kelly and The Lisa Kelly Voice Academy you can visit https://m.facebook.com/TheLisaKellyVoiceAcademy/ or call 770-371-3262.