Artists, muscians, actors, writers, photographers, animators, and other creative types are often driven by passion, desire, joy and an undeniable need to unleash our creative spirits to the world. We want to and often do succeed,  despite,  and often as a result of the big and small obstacles thrown into our paths along the way. It’s just the nature of who we are.  Those of us lucky enough to be a part of this creative community, often find a special kinship and a common bond with our fellow inspired colleagues. We rejoice in their successes. We console in their disappointments. We encourage their journeys.  And we stand together when their artistic expressions are thwarted. Their struggles become collectively, OUR STRUGGLES.

Amanda Zelina - The ₵oppertone - Living Passionately and Enthusiastically for Life!
Amanda Zelina – The ₵oppertone – Living Passionately and Enthusiastically for Life!

There are many, well-intentioned, and well-meaning agents, managers, promoters and others who help creative people find success. At the same time, there is no shortage of horror stories where an artist, a band, an author, an animator or other kindred spirit is used and abused while someone else reaps the financial rewards and benefits of their success.  This happens often absent of malice, in a transaction where one side, the creative dreamer, is young, naive, uninformed and under-represented.  And to the other party, it’s just business.  The Media Pro highlights people who are living enthusiastically and passionately for life and we’ve chosen Canadian Singer/Songwriter, Amanda Zelina  AKA The ₵oppertone to feature in this installment of LEAPforLife for her resilience, integrity and her unwavering belief that her passions are going to see her through a rough patch.

Amanda Zelina AKA The ₵oppertone

She’s on a mission to end a contract she signed, but now understands it leaves her without the creative freedom to do what she wants with her music career.  It’s a burden she’s not willing to live with, but it comes at a high price — $20,000! That’s what it will take for the sultry singer to buy back her past material, as well as retain ownership of all new songs/demos for her next album and future ones. “I chose to terminate the contract early knowing full well that there would be repercussions,” Zelina said, “I am not one to sit back and feel sorry for myself or accept my current situation, if it is unfavorable. I believe in pro-activity and progression, so with my integrity in hand, I chose to leave.”

She’s launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise the funds to buy out her contract called  Help Free The ₵oppertone – Claim Yourself

“This campaign was a way to help me pro-actively move forward in my career faster than I could on my own. It also was a way that I could aggressively raise awareness to my fellow industry [musicians] that we all need to be more educated and more cautious when signing contracts. Additionally, if you are being taken advantage of in any industry, you can change your circumstance and you should speak up for yourself. Claim Yourself is about being accountable, taking responsibility for yourself and living authentically; Claiming your worth.”

Zelina says that the campaign pushes a greater message about integrity and beliefs. “Once you claim your worth, your whole life will act accordingly. You will attract situations, people, and circumstances that match that worth. If you are in an unfavorable situation that you got yourself into, there is a way out no matter how bad or how big the risk of getting out is. Never give up on who you are.”

If she reaches the $20K goal,  she says “I am going into to record the best album I have ever written. I have the most incredible people around me now, and I am doing the most remarkable things. I am just so excited to share all of it! The last time I released a full-length album was close to three years ago. I have grown so much as a woman and as a musician. I have the right people around me and I am educated in my industry to make the right move and shop this record properly. Once I find a contract that honors my art and my worth, I look forward to signing it and forging ahead in my career.”

And if she doesn’t raise the funds, well she’s pretty grounded on that, too. “One way or another I will get the money to pay off this debt. I have no doubt in my mind that within the next few months I will be free and clear of this debt and moving on with my life and my career.” {Note: The Claim Yourself campaign ended July 3, 2013. And I am pleased to announce that the Claim Yourself campaign raised $22,150. Amanda Zelina, AKA The ₵oppertone, is well on her way to getting her material back and is happily working on releasing her next album.}

When asked what she’s given up to follow her passion, Zelina laughed. “What haven’t I? she asked, “Everything, I think. The good and the bad. Now, I am at a place in my life where I know what I will sacrifice and what I won’t. That is truly the answer, the gift.”

The Coppertone on Fears

Zelina says being able to inspire others is one of the greatest rewards 

she’s received from following her passions. She was first inspired musically by John Lee Hooker.  Today, her muse is life itself. “I wake up and I have learned to find inspiration in just that. Being able to wake up and the ability to hold my head high knowing I like the woman I’m becoming. I am inspired by everything – colors, the breeze, the country, the way my boyfriend smiles at me with a look behind his eyes that lets me know he loves me, books, old soul and blues music, a great documentary, an animal I see walking down the street or sitting on a tree in my backyard. I am so blessed with so much around me to be grateful for, that inspires me.”

The ₵oppertone – Copper, the name her sister gave her because of her hair and her slide and Tone for her music and sound – urges everyone to dream big. “Life is meaningless without dreams. The fire that burns within us to fight to achieve them should feel like a means to survival – a hunger to survive. Our passions, when ignited are the nourishment to our bones and the work to achieve them are what make them grow.”

She knows following your heart and your dreams can be hard at times, but worth the struggle. “No, if our dreams and passions were easy to follow, we would have no reason to pursue them. Without the fight, they become inactive. If they were easy, they wouldn’t be big enough; bright enough; bold enough; exciting enough; and inspiring at all. Inspiration comes from the magic of achieving something or pursuing something so grand it brings bliss to your heart and tears to your eyes.”