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Creative Careers Interviews : 2009 : Jill Allison Bryan Interview

Creative Careers in the Arts Interviews

Singer and Songwriter
Jill Allison Bryan

By Molly Anderson-Childers

Jill Allison BryanAfter years in the field of advertising, Jill Bryan decided to jump ship, sell everything she owned, and move to the Virgin Islands. Now, she is a singer/songwriter and creative lifestyle coach. Jill is an accomplished musician who is currently recording her first solo CD. Working with Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach Jill Badonsky helped Ms. Bryan rediscover her love of writing and performing music. In fact, she found it so helpful that she decided to become a certified coach herself, and founded Creative Oasis Coaching.

Jill writes: "Creative Oasis Coaching inspires, encourages, and supports individuals who desire a more satisfying and meaningful life. I deeply believe that all women deserve to create and revel in their own Mid-Life Oasis™ — a space of deep personal fulfillment — in their day-to-day lives. As a singer/songwriter, performer, and writer, I live by this belief. As a creative lifestyle coach, I help others learn to do the same." Welcome to Creativity Portal, Jill — it's great to have you on board!

Q: After several years in the field of advertising, you took a huge leap of faith and left the corporate world behind to pursue the life of your dreams. What prompted this shift? Was it something you did on a whim, or had this storm been brewing for years?

A: Even before I had ever heard of Kaizen Muse Creativity Coaching, I was using several important precepts they teach. This ultimately led to my leap. First of all, I listened to my intuition. I felt the need to make a change, and allowed myself to dream big! Secondly, I was open to following a decidedly non-linear creative career path. Having graduated from college with a degree in advertising journalism, I felt fortunate to land my first job was as an advertising copywriter, and enjoyed the work.

But then, a family vacation to the Virgin Islands introduced me to the experience of island hopping by sailboat. After that, I played the "what if" game. By asking "what if," we open the door to possibilities that might otherwise never exist. So I began asking myself: What if I quit my job? What if I sold all my belongings? What if I moved to the Caribbean? What job might I find? What experiences might I have?

One serendipitous moment in particular had an enormous impact on me. I had gone out to dinner with a friend to tell her about my plan. I remember saying, "I wish there were some sort of book, like How-To Move to the Virgin Islands, that I could read." We both laughed at that, and then walked next door to a bookstore to browse the travel section. A book sat eye-level to me, pulled about half way off the shelf, as if it were going to fall into my hands. When I pulled it out it was titled, "The Settler's Handbook for the U.S. Virgin Islands — Everything you need to know about moving to St. Croix, St. Thomas, & St John." I felt like the universe had given me a big thumbs up and I knew I was really going to do this.

I dreamed, planned and saved for about six months before the big move. One thing the book taught me, was that no one would hire you over the phone. You just had to move on down. So with my guitar and one enormous duffle bag I set off for St. Thomas. I landed a job on a private sailing yacht purely on the basis of a creatively written resume and a good interview. (I had very little previous sailing experience, but I didn't let that stop me!) I ended up living and working on that boat for about nine months, and experienced many islands from the US Virgin Islands, to the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, St. Barths, St. Martin, St. Kitts, Saba, and more as far down as Antigua. I got to know a few of those islands very well, and gathered enough interesting stories for at least one good book and several songs from that experience.

Jill Allison Bryan playing the piano.

Q: When and how did you first discover your passion for music? How did music lead you to the pursuit of other passions?

A: I've been singing and songwriting most of my life, and grew up playing the piano. In college I performed in various acoustic duos and bands. After returning to the states from the Virgin Islands, I felt empowered, like I could do anything I put my mind to.

I picked up the guitar again and began writing and rehearsing. Soon, I was performing quite a bit in Dallas. That's how I met my husband, Doug. He had a band, and we became mutual fans of each other's music. Eventually, he asked me to join his band, Big Boss Groove. While we were in the studio recording our CD "Moontown Street" we fell in love and the rest is history. We've been making beautiful music together for more than 15 years! Our daughter is our greatest creative collaboration to date!

Music also led me to creativity coaching.

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