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Meet Trailblazer Klaudia Kudełko

Today we’d like to introduce you to Klaudia Kudełko.

Klaudia, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started playing piano when I was seven years old and I really wanted to try because I just loved music. I didn’t even know that I was going to do it professionally.

I started getting recognition and prizes from international piano competitions when I was 12 and thought to myself that maybe I could do this. I moved from my family home at 16 to study at a better music school in Warsaw, Poland. Music started bringing me places and I gained the ability to combine the two things that I love the most – music and traveling.

When I was 21 years old, one of my biggest dreams came true – I won a competition with my piano trio and we were invited to perform at the most prestigious concert hall in the world – Carnegie Hall. Three years later, I performed there again but this time as a solo performer. It was there that I won first prize for best live performance solidifying in my mind that not only could I do this but this could be and will be my career. I am now performing around the world from the United States to Europe consistently.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Obstacles are necessary, it’s a part of the journey. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s easy. For me, it was difficult to understand how important it was to be disciplined. It was and still is the key to my successes. It is up to me if I practice or go out with my friends, but If I want to achieve my goals I have to make good choices. I still want to live life, but most people don’t understand why I don’t have free weekends.

When it comes to people, that’s another difficult thing to deal with. I met and I still meet so many toxic people who make me feel like I shouldn’t believe in myself too much. Paradoxically, sometimes these people might be the ones who have been closest to me. It took me a while to recognize that and I am still learning how to be responsible for the energy that I let around me. People that believe in me and inspire me are very helpful, but let’s be honest – failure and rejection are the biggest obstacles we face.

I applied to the music school first time when I was six, they didn’t accept me. My parents are non-musicians, so they didn’t push me at all. However funny that sounds I decided as a 6-year-old child that I won’t give up. That mindset stayed with me. It doesn’t mean I don’t feel bad sometimes, but I accepted the fact that it’s a part of the process. I had to learn how to deal with rejection, as a musician or actor it happens more often than anything else. Failed competitions, auditions, sometimes even performances – nobody wants to talk about it, but it’s real and part of the many struggles we all face.

Please tell us more about what you do, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
My calendar for the next year is very exciting. Starting with concerts domestically in New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, but also in Europe and Dubai.

As a classical pianist, I am trying to break the stereotypes that classical musicians can not work in other genres of music. I am currently producing for an independent label in Hollywood.

Do you have any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general? What has worked well for you?
Finding a mentor is very important. Inspiring people that bring good energy to life are the most valuable mentors a musician can have. At some point in my life, I felt like I always needed one person that I trusted to tell me if I am going in the right direction or not. At the end of the day, I needed to trust myself the most.

Not all “good advice” is good for you. Listen to your intuition. People who are your mentors can help you but sometimes even hurt you. That’s why musicians should trust themselves with finding mentors and also trust themselves first with their own process of improvement. What I have learned and was always very helpful was that I need to inspire myself with other people constantly. Inspire myself with their wisdom, habits, and attitude.

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Image Credit:
@shotbydister, Kamil Wasiluk

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