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Meet Grayson Villanueva

Today we’d like to introduce you to Grayson Villanueva.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’m a storyteller in multiple mediums, but it all started with music. I started playing guitar and singing in high school as a hobby and when I got to college, I decided to take music more seriously and started voice lessons. Soon I realized a career in music was something I wanted to pursue, so I decided to go for it after I graduated.

I started a professional a cappella group #FOURTY4B where I honed my skills as a vocalist and beatboxer and learned how to be a vocal arranger and audio engineer. I was hired to perform at Universal Studios Hollywood as a featured singer/beatboxer for the Grinchmas Boyband and as an original cast member of the Harry Potter Frog Choir at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Soon I started performing for commercial-level projects, such as Gap’s 2017 holiday ad campaign with Janelle Monaé and as a background singer for Keala Settle on international TV.

Being in the entertainment industry for a few years, I started to meet artists looking for video production services, so I started learning video production and providing services for my peers, turned clients. I started working with independent artists who were my peers in the a cappella and performing world and today, I run my own business providing music, audio, and video services for all types of clients, from independent artists to major brands in various stages of production.

I am currently a video editor for Warner Records’ Acapop! KIDS, a children’s a cappella brand from the creators of Pentatonix and businesses looking for video production services, most recently VocalMist, Popshop Live, Facebook and Instagram.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My journey has never been a straight path. Or a single path, for that matter. I feel like most people decide on one thing that they want to do for their career, and when they figure it out, they usually can rely on a path that others have taken before. For example, if you want to become a doctor (like my parents wanted me to be), you take the MCAT, get into med school, pass your boards, choose your specialty, complete your residency, and then pass your final boards to become a doctor. I’m not discounting the work that goes into it, but there are plenty of examples of single career paths like this that lead to a successful career for ‘specialists.’ I knew I was built differently.

I’ve always been fascinated by many topics and could never choose one thing. I had a natural curiosity and knack for everything that caught my interest. For a while, the pressure of feeling like I had to choose one career would give me anxiety because I felt like I was bouncing around seemingly disparate fields of interest. I studied cognitive psychology, education, and linguistics during my undergrad at UC Irvine, but I also pursued a music career while learning how to be an audio engineer and video producer. When people ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” why can’t you have more than one answer?

I came across Emilie Wapnick’s TED Talk, “Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling,” and it changed my outlook completely. I finally found examples of people wired like me—people who pursued multiple interests professionally and were thriving. In this discovery, I realized that the one thing that ties all my interests together is a passion for great storytelling. It’s the reason why I love all the aspects of my business. I can fuse ideas from the different areas of my expertise to create something new and also provide unique solutions to complex problems at the intersection of these fields. Not only that, but I am also able to help many different types of clients in various parts of the production process because I am versatile and adaptable to fit their needs.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
My business (Grayson V LLC) encompasses all of the skills I’ve acquired over the years to help artists and brands tell the story they want to tell. I specialize in doing this through music, audio, and video production. I’m known for being a reliable and adaptable content producer because of my experience and skills in several stages of the production process. I’m also known for being organized and process-driven. Everything I do has a method and I am constantly improving it with every project. As a business owner, I’m most proud of this because it is what keeps my clients coming back and helps my business grow. What sets me apart from others is that I bring a variety of experiences to the table that allows me to proceed with my role confidently. Depending on what I’m hired for, whether it’s directing, recording, mixing, or editing, I know what comes before, during, and after my phase of the process.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over, I wouldn’t have done anything differently. I believe this was always the path I was meant to take and all my experiences led me to where I am today. If I could talk with my past self, however, I’d give him words of encouragement and let him know something great is up ahead and although there may be hardships and tough lessons – it’s 1000% worth it.

Who else deserves credit – have you had mentors, supporters, cheerleaders, advocates, clients or teammates that have played a big role in your success or the success of the business? If so – who are they and what role did they play / how did they help.
My biggest supporters are my parents. I am the product of immigrants, and I have the same passion and drive to achieve my fullest potential. If they hadn’t moved to the US from the Philippines, pursuing the career and life I have now would not be possible. We may not agree on everything, but I know that they love and support me in everything I do. For that I am very thankful.

Much of the credit of the origin of my success goes to my vocal coach, mentor, and long-time friend Glenn Clancy. He convinced me that I had the talent, skills, and work ethic to pursue a career in music and entertainment.I wouldn’t be here today without his words and support. Not only did he teach me about music, but he also taught me the importance of being a well-balanced person in order to be great in all areas of life.

Angela Huang, my girlfriend, has been emotionally supportive and instrumental in helping me navigate my business toward success. From connecting me with some of my clients to being understanding of the occasional late-night project, she is always there to lift me up and encourage me to reach new heights. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner.

All my collaborators and clients deserve credit because they’ve given me the opportunity to collaborate and bring their stories to life, but special thanks go to the people behind Acapop! KIDS, Warner Records, Entertainment Central Agency, Universal Studios Hollywood, #FOURTY4B, m-pact, Business Casual, Top Shelf Vocal, Vocal Mist, and Popshop Live, as they’ve been especially significant in my journey so far.

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Image Credit:

Angela Huang, Kristine Slipson

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