Bryan Stacy (LITE) - Co-Founder & CEO of Biem

Bryan Stacy's an expert on sexual health and having tough conversations, and he's making it easier with the world's first virtual sexual health clinic, Biem. Today, he discusses his battle with testicular cancer, the app that's helping to make awkward conversations easier and behavior better, a new mindset about masculinity, and the importance of connecting with others.
***More at - including ways to be more authentic and attract what you want in life, how to break the ice on having awkward conversations, the importance of rituals and being alone with your thoughts, and more. 

Show links:
Biem -
Bryan on Instagram -
Bryan on Twitter -
Bryan's blog (primarily focused on his chemotherapy journey) - One Big Nut -

For the extended episode and a full description of Bryan's episode, or just to support the show, head over to our portal on Patreon at

If you enjoyed this episode, take a minute to share us with a friend or review us on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, or Imdb. Every share and review – or even rating – helps new people discover our show. Also, if you know anyone who's extraordinarily and genuinely happy who has had some success in their lives, if you think they'd be a good fit for our show, let us know at

Thanks, and we'll see you next Thursday on The Peace of Persistence.

Michael of Michael Chadwick Photography (LITE)

Michael of Michael Chadwick Photography joins us for a great interview in his studio about his long journey from selling plasma to survive to owning his own home and award-winning business. Subscribe to our show at for the extended version, where we also discuss the importance of focusing on the vast majority of things going right in our lives, Mike's surprising involvement in Deborah Voigt "little black dress scandal," carrying each learned skill through life, what marathons teach you about life, and more.

Show links:
Michael Chadwick Photography:

Find Michael's book, Balancing the Art and Business of Wedding Photography, on Amazon:

This episode comes to you today from South Jersey, where I first met Michael Chadwick at my high school, where he was my student teacher. If you're reading this, you've found the LITE version, where even today's bio is shortened. That said, Mike has had an amazing life, and if you feel so inclined to check out the longer version on Patreon ( by becoming a subscriber and supporting the show, I highly recommend it.

Michael Chadwick went from music education to the Interactive Voice Response industry and formed his own company.  From there, he moved to Dallas, and formed his own artist opera company in the Dallas area called The Living Opera, which provided many opportunities for young opera singers in the region.  He also stage directed and sang opera. He then moved to Manhattan, where he reconnected with his longtime friend Suzanne, and they were married.

He then took a job performing database administration for an arts fundraising and marketing company in Brooklyn.  He continued to sing and direct opera, but began taking photography more seriously whenever time would permit it. When he pursued it persistently, it provided him more and more opportunities to take it from being a hobby to a full time job.  After Michael and Suzanne moved to their first owned home in Medford, one year later, in 2013, Michael gave notice at his day job and took his photography business full time.  Finally, at just over 40 years old, Michael is fully in control of his own life, and he feels he's finally achieved the goal that so many people seem to strive toward: Happiness and Success.

He believes that happiness doesn't always come easily, and it doesn't always come quickly.  Persistence and patience, belief in one's self, and surrounding one's self with the right people are all keys to finding that happy place.

Show recap:
Let's talk about the moral to your story in your extended bio – that happiness doesn't always come easily, and it doesn't always come quickly. What does happiness mean to you?
Of course, this is different for everyone. For Mike, it's being in charge and in control of his life. Having that control gives him the ability to use his time to create and to do things for others to affect someone in a positive way. He feels fulfilled and satisfied and has the support system of his family and his wife Suzanne and her family. The safety net, he says, is invaluable. The same control gives him success, and he enjoys the luxury he has of being able to work harder and have it directly impact him and his finances.

I'd love to go back and explore the topic of control for you. In particular, a lot of people will talk about studies about internal versus external locus of control - the internal being that you believe that you have some kind of influence on the outcomes in your life. The external locus of control - those are the people who believe that other circumstances are responsible for the outcomes and events in their life. It seems to me that you've had a bit of a shift in your thinking in your life... Have you moved from a place of an external locus of control, believing that other things influenced your outcomes, to a place of internal locus of control, believing that you are in control of your life?
Absolutely. That change contributes to his happiness almost more than anything else. Because he's no longer blaming his lack of a degree, or giving up too much of himself in relationships, he can exert his own will over his life. Before he went to Westminster Choir College, in the late eighties in Louisiana, he remembers having no bed in a decrepit house, eating peanut butter sandwiches, and donating plasma twice a week so he could afford to survive, and realizing he needed to make a change. That big change of leaving everything, starting over, and working five jobs to afford school was the beginning of his long journey toward finding control in his life. Failing at the end of that time made him feel like he wasn't in control, and he didn't want that to be his life. Failing at his first marriage made him realize he could never give up that control again, and at that time, he shifted the responsibility back on to himself.
Mike wanted the opportunity to take responsibility for his life. He discusses the quote that is often attributed to Einstein, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." So many things in his life (in Dallas) were not working for him all at once, and he decided it was time to go. Immediately, he was able to be himself and excel at the things he did well. It was a long path from selling his blood for peanut butter money to having a successful, thriving career that allows him to support himself and his family, and to decide what he wants to do, even down to the wedding clients he chooses.

And you've won a bunch of awards from different places for your photography business as well?
Several awards from WeddingWire and every year from The Knot, he wins "Best of Weddings" because of reviews from his customers. He credits this to the realization he had when he and Suzanne honeymooned at Disney, where they went above and beyond everyone's expectations. He applies it to his wedding photography, knowing the names of the wedding party and family members, carries a bag with bobby pins and safety pins, knows how to help with bustles of wedding dresses and boutonnières - he says these are the things they remember.

What is your book called, and how can we find it?
Because artists often don't make good business people, he wrote Balancing the Art and Business of Wedding Photography. It's designed to give people the business foundation they need in order to succeed. It's not only the photography, but social dynamics, crowd control, relating well to the people, pricing, costs, equipment, etc. It also introduces them to many different types of weddings and what to expect from them - as well as surprising pitfalls.

Do you have any habits or traits that you'd attribute to your success and happiness?
Persistence. Belief, which he sees as a snowball effect, where the more you achieve, the more you believe you can. "Little victories over the years created a monster, where I really believe I can do almost anything." He jokes that his wife is an enabler, because she also believes in him and tells him so, and each success helps him achieve the next success.

Do you have any advice for us?
"Especially in this Internet age where we have such access to each other, be careful not to spend so much time minding other people's business that you let your own business go bankrupt."

Thanks, as always, for joining us on The Peace of Persistence. Please take a moment to share this episode or review us on Apple Podcasts, or come on over to our subscriber channel at We'd love to have you join us in supporting this great show about happiness and success. Have a great week! We'll be back next Thursday with an amazing episode with investor and world traveler Wempy Dyocta-Koto.

Tricia Alexandro (LITE, Part 2) - Playwright, Actor, & Personal Trainer

In this second part of a two-part episode, our host Abigail Wright sits down with playwright, actor, and personal trainer Tricia Alexandro to discuss the power of community and dance, living a life of diligence, the lasting effects of inner work, and more. More at

Show links:

Tricia Alexandro on Facebook -
Tricia Alexandro on Instagram -
Tricia Alexandro's website (for anyone who wants to help manage it!) -

Show summary:

What do you like to do outside of the theatre and film world and personal training?
Tricia loves to dance and feels that swing dance in particular was life-saving for her. After her experience with rape, she felt disconnected from and afraid of the attention her body could attract. A co-worker took her swing dancing, with a 40's big band, and he taught her how to swing dance. It was a safe, joyful and exuberant expression that she finds gets her out of her head into a great sense of surrender and creativity. She's also done African dance and loves any kind of dance. Because African dance encompasses African American history, there's joy, pain, suffering, a rooting in the earth, and community. Dance has been a way for her to shut off her brain, get in touch with her body, and express her femininity in a safe way.

You've been involved in a lot of different communities for both actors and playwrights. How do those communities enhance your life?
They're sort of miniature families, and families for her were always safe. Her family was very strong and loving, and she and her siblings were all in a community theatre together growing up. Community isn't always easy, but the sense of creating something together and bringing beauty into the world is life-giving. The Barrow Group was the first company where she really felt at peace, where everyone still makes her feel welcome, seen, heard, and valued. She talks about Seth Barrow and Lee Brock and how they were almost like second parents for her. The Naked Angels, The Shelter Theatre Company, and The Labyrinth Theatre company have all helped her in allowing her to be seen and heard, and acknowledged and celebrated for being enough as she is today.

Do you have any other habits or traits that you'd attribute to your happiness and success?
Journaling and writing gratitude lists. She says she sets up her whole life as an act of diligence. She wakes up, puts on coffee, and meditates for 10 minutes. She journals right after that. She reads a lot of self-help, philosophy, and spiritual books. When she's online on social media, she tries to make sure she's feeding herself positive content. Glennon Melton, Elizabeth Gilbert, Brene Brown, Rob Bell, and Martha Beck are all heroes of hers, and the Facebook pages and Instagram pages she checks on regularly. She believes that allowing yourself to just scroll without thinking can leave you open to too much negativity in the "group think," non constructive conversations. You can be dissatisfied with the world and constructive at the same time. She looks for positive media.

If there were one thing you'd like the world to see differently, what would it be?
A sense of us all being one, that we're all spirit, and that we're all intrinsically worthy. We're seeing the inequity right now in our country's culture, the narrative about minorities that we've been fed, the inequities between genders, and the ways people are treated differently. Tricia wishes we could have a more even playing field, holding space for each other and celebrating one another. When one person is treated better, we all benefit.

Do you have any other advice for us?
To go inward before going outward. Tricia thinks we're taught that the answers are outside of us - making our appearance better, acquiring things and people. Although those things can enrich our lives, the lasting work is the inner work. If you're not ok inside, nothing else matters. Your wisdom and peace are inside you already. Let that be your "jumping off" place.

Special thanks to Tricia for joining us and sharing her wisdom today – and last week!

And thank you for joining us today on The Peace of Persistence! If you enjoyed this episode, take a minute to share us with a friend or review us on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, or Imdb. Every share and review – or even rating – helps new people discover our show. Also, if you know anyone who's extraordinarily and genuinely happy who has had some success in their lives, if you think they'd be a good fit for our show, let us know at

In the meantime, subscribe on for full access, or find our lite episodes on YouTube or wherever you listen to podcasts. We'll see you next time on The Peace of Persistence with great conversations and content to help all of us find more happiness and success in our lives.

Tricia Alexandro (LITE, Part 1) - Playwright, Actor, & Personal Trainer

In this first part of a two-part episode, our host Abigail Wright sits down with playwright, actor, and personal trainer Tricia Alexandro to discuss the importance of family, her survival story, and how to work on happiness. More at

Tricia is a native New Yorker. She studied creative writing and public speaking at Binghamton University, and, following college, moved to Los Angeles to study the Meisner Technique at Playhouse West Acting School. When she returned to New York, she studied scene study, script analysis and Shakespeare at The Barrow Group School with Seth Barrish and Lee Brock. She is a longtime member of the Barrow Groupʼs master class and has appeared in numerous productions at their theater, including two one-woman shows that she wrote. She also studied on-camera acting with Bob Krakower and attended The Manhattan Film Institute. She is a member of the Labyrinth Theater Companyʼs Intensive Ensemble. She has written two plays, both of which had readings at The Bank Street Theater, home of the Labyrinth Theater Company. In addition to her many film and  theatre credits as an actor, Tricia performs her writing the third Sunday of every month at The Bowery Poetry Club as part of The Symphonics Live Show, hosted by Shawn Randall. She also performs her writing at the Naked Angels' Tuesdays at 9 monthly reading series. She's currently working on her next one-woman show – a compilation of monologues based on urban women – and she intends to perform it by early 2018.

Show links:

So - which came first, the scriptor or the ham? No, no, seriously - did you see yourself more as a writer or an actor growing up, or both?
Tricia says acting came first but didn't realize it could be more than a hobby until she graduated from college. She previously thought she'd be a teacher, like both of her parents. When she moved to LA, she gave herself the space permission to go after it, after struggling with her desire to be liked and have her parents approve of her choices.

How did it work out with your parents, were they supportive?
Tricia's brother paved the way for her when he decided to become a comedian, and her parents have been very supportive. His advice was also invaluable.
Is he still a comedian?
Yes - he opens for Jim Gaffagan, has been on the Letterman Show and with Conan O'Brien.
What's his name and how do we find him?
Ted Alexandro - find him at
Does he live here? So you have that support.
Yes, he lives in Astoria, and she's so happy to be back to the east coast and to be able to see him all the time. When she moved back here, it initially felt like a failure to her, but that has changed a lot, and she's thrilled to have that support.

You're clearly very prolific as a writer and an actor, and you're  constantly creating more content. What drives you the most in your work?
Absence. If Tricia sees that women, urban women, and minorities especially are under-represented, she feels a fire to right that wrong.
She comes from a family of stories and talks about the joy of watching her mother teach. Her mother was a religion and sex ed teacher who had a  passion for staying and changing things within the catholic church. Tricia really admires people who recognize the need for change and work within institutions to change them. Her mother wrote letters to a catholic magazine called "The Bulletin" and taught her daughter that she has a voice and that it can be powerful. When she focuses on competition or winning awards, that cripples her. When she focuses on the joy of saying the important things that need to be said, then she can't wait to write.

What attracts you the most about the theatre experience?
Tricia says it's a high that you can't replicate anywhere else. There's an instant gratification and response, a communion that happens between  the audience and the performers. It's a reminder that we're all actually connected, experienced in the moment, riding a wave of spirit and what feels like love to Tricia - "a hugeness that I don't experience anywhere else."

How can people find your upcoming shows?
Instagram or Facebook - see show links above.

Have you had any big obstacles that you've had to overcome, and what have you learned from those experiences?
Her earliest obstacles involved being a very sensitive person in a messy world that tries to compact sensitive people. Acting was her salvation, after having a bully in grammar school that toyed with her sense of self and made her believe she wasn't good enough. Tricia shares that she was raped by a guy in her acting class at 23, which was part of her unraveling. It forced her into intense suffering and caused her to burst through, coming out more fully herself and less afraid of owning her truth.
So you would say you're resilient? Yes.

So often, people who are happy have always been happy. Have you had to work on your happiness then?
Tricia tended more towards melancholy and thought it was just who she was. Her younger sister would wake up with a smile every morning, where Trish would feel overwhelming anxiety. She often felt like she wasn't in  charge and didn't know what she was doing, not smart enough to make her own decisions.

How did you overcome that?
Therapy. Tricia is a willing student of life, open to many different  modalities - including physical bodywork, hypnotherapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy, which has helped her to question the automatic thoughts and create the space between experience and reaction.

Thanks so much for joining us for part 1 of this amazing episode with Tricia Alexandro. Tune in next time when we'll talk about everything from swing dance to grit, to equality, happiness, success and so much more. She even tries to rename the show! Thanks for joining us, and thanks especially to Trish for a really wonderful interview. 

A Winter Solstice Thank You

Happy winter solstice!!
Today, in honor of the season, we are taking a brief pause on The Peace of Persistence to say thank you for a truly transformative Fall season. In case you're wondering, that's our season 2 guest Tommy Wazelle and his adorable daughter Blanche singing you into a new winter season.

First and foremost, thank you to our amazing guests: Camille, Charity, Samba, Shannon, Tommy, Wendy, Mukund, Rachel, Louis, Brian, George, and Craig. Thank you for inviting us to share your stories, yourselves, and so many insights about authenticity, creativity, intuition, mindfulness, parenthood, humor, struggles, consciousness raising, racism, accepting  ourselves and others, breaking through ceilings, addiction, healing,  community, happiness, success, and believe it or not, so much more! I'm just so grateful to know these wonderful and inspiring people and to have the opportunity to introduce them to this beautiful audience. 

To that beautiful audience, if you've missed any of these episodes, now's the perfect time to surround yourself with these uplifting people while you're packing, traveling, preparing your Christmas feast, relaxing after Hanukkah, or just enjoying a winter break. Click on any of the names above that you missed, or find all of our episodes right here on, ITunes, YouTube, or wherever you find your podcasts.

Secondly, a huge thank you for our Patreon subscribers (Did you know you can help support the show?)! I'm so grateful for all of you, most recently for our newest subscriber, Mark Coats. Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart for believing in and supporting the show. Because of you all, I can start to replace some of our broken equipment, starting in January with a new tripod and then saving up to replace our mics. One step at a time, you're helping us to keep this great, positive content going and helping us to continue to provide high quality interviews. You're my heroes.

If you're still listening to or watching our LITE versions, consider supporting our show by going to and becoming a subscriber. You can always set a monthly limit, and we appreciate all the support no matter the contribution level.

Thanks again for all of you who've enjoyed The Peace of Persistence, no matter how you find the show. Next season is going to be amazing! So far, we have Snoopy, an incredible voice-over artist, a playwright, an insanely talented actor and coach, a wedding photographer, and the founder of the world's first virtual sexual health clinic. I cannot wait to see what else this winter season will bring. 

Happy holidays, and we'll see you back on Thursday, December 28, for a fantastic interview with Judy Sladky, former competitive ice dancer, and actress of Snoopy and Alice Snuffleupagus!

Abigail Wright, host and founder of The Peace of Persistence

George Walden (LITE) - Retired FDA & Pfizer Staff Member

In this LITE episode, host Abigail Wright talks with retired FDA & Pfizer staff member George Walden about the importance of friends, family, and activities, his views on the world today, and appreciating the differences in humanity. For more, visit to hear about his experiences with the FDA & Pfizer, the value in a single life, George's key to happiness and much more.

George Walden was born in Washington DC and was raised in Upper Marlboro, MD. He and his two brothers and two sisters still get together for family gatherings a couple of times during the year.

George completed a Bachelor of Science degree at Morgan State University in Baltimore in 1972. Following he graduation, he was hired by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Newark, NJ and worked for the FDA for 25 1/2 years as a Consumer Safety Officer. He was fortunate to take an early retirement with the FDA in 1997 and begin a career with Warner Lambert (later known as Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) as a Corporate Quality Auditor.  George worked for Warner Lambert/Pfizer, Inc. for 17 years and traveled to nearly 40 countries around the world. He retired from Pfizer in April 2015.

Now he spends his time practicing Aikido, Yoga, playing golf, reading, and spending time with family and friends.

Show summary:
I don't think we've ever talked about this, but I got my master's degree at the University of MD in College Park, so I'm very familiar with DC and Prince George's county. What was it like for you, growing up in that area?
He remembers a fun upbringing with what he needed as the second of five children. Both his parents worked until George was born, when his mother agreed to stay home and take care it and them. Communal family dinners played an important role in keeping his family together. Although the community was quiet, without much to do, the children all found ways to keep themselves busy with sports, sledding, go karts, and other activities with friends.

It seems like growing up, in your jobs, and in the sports that you do, community is very important to you. How has that enhanced your life?
It's helped him see people differently, and as valuable. George tells us about experiences where he'd speak with people on the phone as part of his job helping other companies comply before meeting them in person. He might have a conversation where the person would complain about minorities or women or the government, and then meet the man in person. As the man met him and got to know him, he treated him incredibly kindly. "There's a lot of hatred and fear and animosity in the world, but people are people... Once we learn a little bit about each other and get to know each other, we find out, we're all the same." He believes his community upbringing contributed to his perspective on that.

What's your perspective on what's happening today in our culture? Between the current political climate, the extreme polarization of different viewpoints, and the recent resurgence of overt racism... is any of this new?
We discuss how it's not really new, but that now with the statements made by current leadership, people feel that they can express their extreme viewpoints.

How have you reacted to it, and what do you think we can do better as individuals to help improve society in general?
Let people have their space. George goes back to his story about the people he met in the FDA. If you give people space to get to know each other beyond biases and appearances, there's really no reason for people to hate each other.

What does happiness mean to you, in your life?
Happiness, for George means being able to do the things he wants to do, especially Aikido, golf, and being social and around people. His father's life consisted of work, the family, and the house. On forced vacations, he'd work on the house or visit family, or fish. When he retired, after a year or two, he had to go back to work. George believes you have to have something to keep you going.

Have you always been a pretty content person, or have you had to work at it?
George has been pretty content most of his life because he's always done things that keep him interested.

If there were one thing you'd like the world to see differently, what would it be?
More respect and more acceptance of each other. Everyone doesn't have to be the same, and that makes the world interesting.

Thanks for watching! For more, visit to hear about his experiences with the FDA & Pfizer, the value in a single life, George's key to happiness and much more.

Louis Levitt (LITE) - Artistic Entrepreneur & Chamber Musician

In this LITE episode, host Abigail Wright talks with Artistic Entrepreneur & Chamber Musician Louis Levitt about the value of close-knit ensembles, flexibility in parenting, envisioning things never done before, and more. 

For full, un-cut access, including discussions on what children know that adults sometimes don't, learning about learning, the devaluation of recorded music, and more at

Intro: Intro
Louis is an artistic entrepreneur and internationally renowned chamber musician with an uncanny talent for performing, creating, implementing and maintaining groundbreaking musical ventures of the highest caliber.

As the double bassist of Sybarite5, Louis Levitt was the first ever double bassist to win the Concert Artist Guild Competition. Since then, he has performed with Sybarite5 in hundreds of concerts nationally and internationally, his debut EP with them cracked the top ten on the Billboard charts, and their follow up LP Everything in its Right Place was released at Carnegie Hall to critical acclaim. Their next album, Outliers, will be released later this season

In addition to performing with Sybarite5, Louis Levitt is currently an Artistic Director of Bright Shiny Things, a music collective for mezzo soprano and double bass. He is also in demand as a soloist and lecturer.  He has given masterclasses around the USA from Penn State to Fairbanks AK, has presented at the International Society of Double Bassists, and has spoken on the art of engagement at the APAP arts conference and the Curtis Institute, New England Conservatory & Mannes School. He's also currently a professor at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.

Louis lives in NYC with his wife, mezzo-soprano and actress Blythe Gaissert, and their two children.

Show notes:
You can find all Sybarite5 concerts at and Bright Shiny Things at You can find their music on iTunes, Google Play, on Bandcamp (their favorite), and at their fan pages on Facebook.

Show summary:
How did you get started with Bright Shiny Things, and what's your vision for it?
A composer and performer Gilda Lyons, hired Louis and his wife, mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert-Levitt, to sing a concert for the Phoenix Concert series in NYC. She wrote music specifically for them and commissioned music by other composers. They're able to add and subtract various instruments with a core of double bass and mezzo, and Louis is excited to be able to add words to the music in order to add a greater level of expression.

Sybarite5 is having their 10th anniversary!
To celebrate, they're releasing Outliers, with 10 new works from 10 new composers.

What has being a part of such a close-knit community added to your life?
You really get a chance to delve deep into the music, with more time spent on the music and discussions about the music.

What do you envision for your musical and professional goals going forward?
For Sybarite5, a lot of new music and collaborations, and a lot of new touring. He's also excited to see what he can do with Bright Shiny Things that he can't do with Sybarite5. Finally, he's thrilled to build the double bass program at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.

Louis discusses parenthood. No matter what you do to plan for it, you can never know how it's going to be, because everyone's situation is unique and individual. Sometimes, it works out well when one is touring and the other is home. Sometimes, it's difficult when they're both touring. Flexibility is key. Because he really wants to spend time with his kids, it helps him to hone in on what is really important and how he truly wants to spend his time, because it's so much more precious.

Looking back, do you have any advice for other freelance couples considering having kids?
Just have them. Start there. If it's something you want, you'll find a way to make it work. If you live somewhere where your family can help you, that's great. If not, you'll need a lot of help and money, but those things shouldn't stop you from having them.

What's your favorite accomplishment so far?
There was no precedent for Sybarite5. It took him 5 years to decide that it was a good idea to make something so new, despite the lack of historical data for it, without the validation for it. He's proud that they helped to tear down the wall for other ensembles in the classical music world wanting to form a new group. Memorable experiences include winning the Concert Artists Guild, premiering an album at Carnegie Hall. He loves the moments where they break through something and are able to challenge people's perceptions.

Have you always been happy, or was it something you had to learn?
For Louis, being unhappy is what helps you find happiness. He searched for happiness in an orchestra and then he went to a string quintet, and now he has Bright Shiny Things and teaching at a university. He finds happiness to be something not so easily defined, but his kids help him to be content. He talks about how musicians and artists are constantly pushing themselves to do more, because the possibilities with music are endless.

Other advice?
Focus on continued artistic growth. For anyone? Focus on self-growth. We have a lot of choices in our country, so you have to educate yourself on the choices you make.

Mukund Marathe (LITE) - Part 2! - 2x Jeopardy Winner, Tenor, & Teacher

This is part 2 of a two-part episode. If you haven't already, check out last week's for part one.

Lite version - for full, un-cut, ad-free access, visit

Mukund Marathe discovered Beethoven at age 8 and the Beatles at age 9, and the resulting pleasant confusion has remained with him all of his musical life, as evidenced by the fact that he has performed almost every kind of music imaginable, from early music to modern jazz.  His favorite musical activities include the Evangelist in the Bach Passions, Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess, Lyle Lovett songs in church, and being what he calls a utility infielder (meaning he sings tenor or alto in various groups). Mukund was a member of the New York City Opera company for 27 years, toured with the Gregg Smith Singers, and has sung with jazz legend Dave Brubeck, on The Letterman Show, on South African television, and literally all around the world. He spends his free time reading science fiction, practicing calligraphy, dancing, making his garden grow, recently becoming a two-time Jeopardy! champion, and explaining to his two sons why people say such Awful Things about Tenors.  He says his wife, Mezzo-soprano Mary Marathe, already knows.

Mukund gets a lot of satisfaction out of performing and from helping his students make breakthroughs. One of his favorite breakthroughs is helping them realize how human emotions haven't really changed much in the hundreds or thousands of years that music has been written.
Passing along his expansive view of the universe, he thinks nothing happens in a vacuum and likes to keep in mind a greater understanding of culture and knowledge for his students.

Being a freelance musician has been Mukund's greatest struggle. "The only reason you become a musician is because there is no choice." Despite his love of music, the financial struggle can make things difficult, and he's grateful that his spouse understands because she goes through it too. His family has always been there for him, and he's at peace with the life he's chosen but knows that he'll miss it when he transitions into mostly teaching.

Mukund defines success as being able to do what he loves. His family is a success, especially his two children who are some of the nicest people he knows, and he believes the world is a better place because they're in it. Jeopardy! and Carnegie are things that happened to him; whereas his family and what he does are who he is, and he considers himself incredibly lucky.

Habits or traits that contribute to Mukund's happiness or success?
Stubbornness! It helps him to keep striving in a tough profession. His ability to look at the world with humor, in a "kind of cockeyed fashion" has helped keep him going too.

Although he carries a high-energy performer persona, he has doubts and struggles just like everyone else. He believes it's more important to be kind than to be right, and he wants people to remember him as a kind person above all else.

If there were one thing you'd like the world to see differently, what would it be?
Mukund wants people to get along and finds humor to be a great peacemaker.

Life is too serious to take it so seriously.

Thanks for joining us on The Peace of Persistence Lite! To hear what Alex Trebek said about Mukund's wife, his surrealistic riddles, and how he learns motivation through his students, visit for double the content and zero ads... or just because you love the show and want to support it. See you there!

Mukund Marathe (LITE) - Part 1! - 2x Jeopardy! Winner, Tenor, & Teacher

Lite version - for full, un-cut, ad-free access, visit

Mukund Marathe discovered Beethoven at age 8 and the Beatles at age 9, and the resulting pleasant confusion has remained with him all of his musical life, as evidenced by the fact that he has performed almost every kind of music imaginable, from early music to modern jazz.  His favorite musical activities include the Evangelist in the Bach Passions, Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess, Lyle Lovett songs in church, and being what he calls a utility infielder (meaning he sings tenor or alto in various groups). Mukund was a member of the New York City Opera company for 27 years, toured with the Gregg Smith Singers, and has sung with jazz legend Dave Brubeck, on The Letterman Show, on South African television, and literally all around the world. He spends his free time reading science fiction, practicing calligraphy, dancing, making his garden grow, recently becoming a two-time Jeopardy! champion, and explaining to his two sons why people say such Awful Things about Tenors.  He says his wife, Mezzo-soprano Mary Marathe, already knows.

Show notes!
Upbringing - Mukund grew up with his Indian parents, who had an Indian shop in Rockefeller Center and insisted on him having a more American experience in a very multi-cultural Astoria, Queens. Half-jokingly, they said he'd either grow up to become a singer or a comedian, and he shocked them all when he did.

Mukund discusses how his travels have broadened his outlook. On one trip, a sextet in which he sang toured South Africa for a month, landed in South Africa the day they ended Apartheid. He describes the feeling of hope and trepidation and optimism throughout the country. On another, he went to Japan to sing Bach arias and discovered how much the Japanese loved classical music, and he believes they shared with the culture ways in which Bach can be fun.

Mukund sees himself as very lucky for being able to sing for so long already, compared to dancers and professional athletes, but he knows that eventually he'll have to retire or transition. Thankfully, he really enjoys teaching, and he discusses how he fell into teaching.

Jeopardy! He watched it every day as a child and loved that it was a rare show that rewarded you for being smart, and he's always wanted to be on the show. Mukund tells us about the audition process, from the online exam to the written test, mock game, and recorded interview, to being put into their contestant pool.

Mukund had a really enjoyable time because of the staff and coordinators and the wonderful job they did trying to keep everything fun during a stressful time. It went by fast, but he loved hanging out with his fellow contestants and had an amazing time on the show.

This is a two part episode! Stay tuned next week to hear more from Mukund in a really honest conversation about his struggles, humor as a great peacemaker, his advice to the world, and so much more.

Thanks again for joining us on The Peace of Persistence Lite! To hear more about how Mukund and Mary raised two children as musical freelancers, culture shocks, exercise, and how Mukund learns by teaching, visit for double the content and zero ads.

Tommy Wazelle (LITE) - Tenor, Dad, & Voice of "Pig" (Peg + Cat)

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Host Abigail Wright talks with Tommy Wazelle, tenor, dad, and the voice of Pig on the popular PBS Kids Show Peg+Cat about staying active, gratitude, accepting each other + more.

Tommy is the voice of Pig on the Emmy award-winning PBS Kids show Peg+Cat. He also has performed around the world as a tenor, performed in shows such as The Who's Tommy, Phantom of the Opera, Showboat, the Rothschilds, Ragtime, and more, and he has appeared in television, radio, recordings, and on an Italian cruise ship. Dedicated to the development of new works, he most notably performed as Paul in Paul's Case with American Opera Projects, a role that was specifically designed for his voice. He and his wife and two children live on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

Show notes!
Tommy discusses his family's musical background, including his own musical background in shows and also playing trumpet as a kid.

Tommy talks about his experience with Peg+Cat! He was referred to their creators by the director of American Opera Projects. He loves it, and is excited that he never knows what Pig is going to do next. He discusses the process of getting the material, the liveliness of the character, and how Pig and Tommy both like to quietly observe the room.

Tommy's incredibly active, with his wife and children and in his own life. It started as a young age, with his mom as his soccer coach, he and his dad played baseball. He ran track, played basketball. He wishes his kids could just run around the yard, but they scoot with them, fly kites, take them to Super Soccer Stars, and he tries to play tennis in the summer. He works hard to stay active so that he feels good and not low in energy.

Tommy's always been happy and sees the benefit of gratitude for life and all that he has. On the other hand, he attributes a certain amount of discontent to helping him want to achieve more, adding to his overall contentment.

Tommy discusses his childhood, difficulties with being accepted when moving from place to place, and how he wishes the world could accept one another as they are without judgment.

Closing advice: Be kind to one another. Show some love! 

See and hear more about Tommy's wishes for his children, his battles with his ego, the important balance between contentment and discontent and more by visiting

Find Tommy on Peg + Cat at and at

Samba Schutte (LITE) - Comedian, Writer & Actor

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Samba Schutte is an actor, comedian and writer born in Mauritania, raised in Ethiopia, and schooled in Holland at the Utrecht School of the Arts. His comedy shows have spanned the globe, and he's known as the star of Watch Dogs: Amazing Street Hack, The Tiger Hunter, starring Danny Pudi, and Haleema, which premiered at the 2013 Berlinale Film Festival.

Show notes:
Samba discusses his birth and his love of Ethiopia, of his birthplace in the Sahara, and the desert. He moved to Holland at age 18 to study theatre, and he learned to speak Dutch when he moved there. As a shy child, he never thought of being a comedian, until his friends pressured him into trying it at an open stage in Holland - he loved it.

Only when moving to Holland did he realize what he had in Africa, and it taught him to always be grateful for who he is and what he has. He sees perspective as a key to having any kind of happiness or success in life.

"Laughter is key to getting through life in a joyful and sane way." He discusses how his sense of humor helps him to connect, cope, and heal in life.

Samba highlights the importance of accepting struggle as a part of life - and chocolate cakes. Clearly, he understands the importance of honoring and connecting to his inner child, and he shares that as a key to connecting with others.

Social media has a good side and bad side. The danger rests in comparing yourself when others post. On the other hand, it helps people connect, and Samba tries to use his social media platforms to post positively and help others laugh.
He follows the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote, "To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."

Any advice for us?
Laugh, every day if you can. Remember your inner child, play, and dare to be who you think you are.

Find Samba at and @sambaschutte

Season 2, Episode 1 - Camille Zamora

For the next 2 weeks only, enjoy this free preview of the extended versions our subscribers will enjoy on More details to follow soon!

In this week's extended YouTube episode, host Abigail Wright sat down with soprano Camille Zamora, co-founder and co-executive director of Sing for Hope. Here's what she had to say:

Show Notes:

Sing for Hope is a group of over 2,000 artists who bring their talent and "a shot of hope" to those who need it most. Abby and Camille sat among some of their annual street pianos, designed by local artists, that went out among the NYC parks this summer and now are being used by local schools. Sing for Hope placed their 400th piano this summer, and they bring the community together, support artists, and allow artists to give their gifts to schools, hospitals, AIDS hospices, veteran hospitals, senior centers and more.

Through Sing for Hope's channel of giving through the medium of art, Camille shared that she has found her most authentic self. Community volunteerism and performing are parts of her balanced diet, as she feels a calling to share creativity in social justice work, perform as a singer, and enjoy parenting her son.

She discussed how Sing for Hope evolved out of a need to respond to tragedies such as 9-11, AIDS, and Hurricane Katrina. Their long-term dream is to own a space - a centralized hub to support all of their activity. 

Her goals? To continue to support her son's dreams (from whom she learns so much), to continue to sustain and support Sing for Hope, and to further her goals as a singer - including classical Spanish repertoire, such as her touring pops show, Tango Caliente, featuring bandoneon and dancers.

After speaking about her mentors and how they've taught her about the power of artistic habits of mind, she discussed her role as a speaker at this changing moment of the arts and culture landscape. Some people question arts volunteerism, and to them she said that art is an enormous currency. "Like any currency, you should earn some of it, and you might enjoy giving it away," Camille suggested - a different kind of stretching one's talent. She believes that arts and culture should be included in the conversation surrounding social change, especially for large scale systemic change and educational revamping.  

As an artist, Camille discussed success as achieving authenticity of communication, whatever the medium, and how she found her artistic authenticity from a young age until now.

What habits and traits lead to her happiness and success?
Exercise, a love of good food and friends, simple pleasures, and mindfulness of the innate joy that can be found in the simple moments.

What would she like the world to see differently?
We all sell ourselves short. Access to creativity and expression is one profound way to allow our potential to bloom, to allow ourselves to be greater, and "to excavate the imagination." "Live bigger," she says.

Any other advice for us?
Nobody gets through life unscathed. Know that the wounds are part of it, but also the beauty and the humor of the everyday can allow you to generate joy.