“I always refer to myself as an accidental entrepreneur,” said Richardson resident Brianna Ruelas as she reflected on where she started years ago. “I had no idea when I quit my job that five years later it would turn into owning three restaurants, having a full-on music business consulting company, being an author and speaking at music festivals.”
After graduating from Richardson High School in 1997, Brianna attended Pepperdine University as a musical theater major. She stayed in Los Angeles for five years doing radio voice overs, music gigs and even made it into the top 100 of “American Idol” season four, the same season Carrie Underwood won.
Brianna married her husband, Victor Hugo, in 2005 and moved back home to Richardson in 2008. She worked at XM Radio and ABC for a while doing advertising and sales, and then decided to quit her job to be a stay-at-home mother of three, maybe picking up a few vocal coaching gigs here and there.
The first big plot-twist in Brianna’s story was in 2014 when she and her husband opened their first restaurant, Victor Hugo’s, in Oak Cliff. She refers to herself as the “Queen of Operations,” handling all the marketing and accounting. The two are in the works of opening up the second Victor Hugo’s location in Richardson before the holiday season, pending city permits.
Helping Guide Performing Artists
Since getting plugged back in to the local community, Brianna has accrued vocal coaching clients ranging from ages 13 to 63. One of her goals through mentoring and coaching is to teach her artists to take more of a business approach to their music career.
“A lot of artists, rightfully so, are very focused on the creative side, whether it is recording or songwriting, and they skip that really basic business foundation that they need to actually market themselves as artists and market themselves in music,” said Brianna. “I like to give them the foundation and lay down the groundwork so they can look at themselves as a business and a brand.”
Brianna says she wants her clients to gain confidence from having a business mindset and a plan. She helps create a strategic plan for the artist’s vision so the client doesn’t feel overwhelmed and knows how to move forward in a productive and efficient way.
“The thing I am enjoying most right now is being the music mentor for other artists that I never had,” said Brianna. “I wish there was a ‘me’ when I was in my early 20’s, as I was venturing out to pursue my dreams.”
In 2017 Brianna wrote “Performing Artist Pathway,” outlining her journey and encouraging other artists to create a healthy and productive musical journey for themselves. In the book, she discusses how each artist can define their own personal success and provides helpful tips for artists to reach their goals.
Brianna recently launched the “Performing Artist Pathway” online course all about business strategies for independent artists. She says that one of the things that sets her course apart is the coaching component to it. Clients not only get the course and all the resources, but they also get access to one-on-one coaching with her.
While Brianna is encouraging other artists, she still makes time for her own music. She describes her sound as “soulful rock with a Texas twist” and says she has plans to release new original music during the first quarter of 2020.
Working with Communion Neighborhood Cooperative
In August Brianna and Victor joined forces with other Richardson locals Tim and Amy Kahle of Communion Neighborhood Cooperative in Richardson to to help expand the coffee shop and execute a full-force restaurant operation.
Brianna not only brought her restaurant background to Communion but is also implementing some of her music knowledge through the Communion Unplugged program. She says both couples love to support the local community so this new music program is an extension of those passions.
“The monthly Communion Unplugged program is basically taking the concept of music and stories and creating a platform for local independent artists,” said Brianna. “The artist will not only get to play their music but also tell the intricate backgrounds about the songs and their journey on how they got there.”
With every different hat Brianna wears, she says she works hard at what she is doing and is satisfied with where her unexpected journey has led her.
“Your level of personal success might be ‘making it’ with a record deal and selling out national tours, but that was actually never my level of success,” says Brianna. “My level of success was finding a way to make a living doing what I love in music on my own terms, and that’s what I’m doing.”Brianna Ruelas Music >