My side hustle: International Opera Singer

Something really interesting happened to me during the pandemic.

When all the theaters started opening back up again, and I was lucky enough to have a few gigs here and there, I noticed a change in the Opera community.

Almost every leading Opera Singer I worked with had a side hustle.

And not just that, because I know many singers had side hustles before, but there was a change in tone about our side hustles.

Having a side hustle before the pandemic, in my view, was very hard to talk about.

Many of us who were coming out of young artist programs weren’t getting enough work for a full-time singing career. A side hustle, was almost a scarlet letter, telling the world that we still haven’t quite made it yet.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think anybody ever frowned upon having a second job. As a matter of fact, we all wanted more money, and I was straight-up jealous of some jobs. We all taught voice lessons (still doing that btw), but that didn’t count.

I had many friends doing clerical work, website building, driving Uber, and even one who breeds French Bulldogs!

However, for every gig I went to before the pandemic, most of the lead singers seemed to be busy enough that they didn’t need a second income.

I recognize that this could very well be from people who had a two-income household, or maybe they have very rich parents, so they didn’t need a second job. Those are the kinds of questions I never asked, thankfully.

But since the pandemic, it’s actually been fun for me to talk about what people’s side hustles are now. Finding out what people did during the pandemic makes a great conversation at the dinner table after rehearsals.

But now I found myself in a really interesting place.

During the pandemic, I started working for my older brother, Ryan. Ryan had worked for himself fixing and finding leaks in swimming pools.

Pretty quickly, I learned that his company could be very profitable.

I convinced him to trust me to become partners with him, so instead of him, working Freelance by himself, we could hire people and grow the business.

I won’t bore you with the details, but the business has grown immensely. We are now one of the biggest, if not the biggest, pool leak detection companies in Texas. (there are bigger companies than us who do pool leak detection, but as far as I can tell so far, we are the biggest one who specializes in pooling detection only). Hey Dallas… Check us out…

This company has allowed me some freedom in my artistic choices.

I’ve loved that I can be pickier with the gigs I choose to take because of the extra income. And that has allowed me to spend more time at home with my family and be a better husband and father.

But it dawned on me today… 

I spend much more time working on my company than I do traveling these days and singing. And that made me realize that I might have the coolest side hustle of all…

An international Opera Singer.

How cool is that?

I’m home at my computer this week, but next month, I’ll be making my European debut at the Greek National Opera, singing a world premiere orchestration with catapult opera.

The only crazy thing is, when I get back to my hotel, I’ll probably have to run payroll for the detection company. And those guys are going to be so jealous of my view.