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Meet Latanya Lockett of San Diego Jr Glee Club in Chula Vista

Today we’d like to introduce you to Latanya Lockett.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am a singer, songwriter, and performer. The first band I started performing with was with my buddy Karlos Paez and B-Side Players. He heard I could sing, asked me to record a couple of songs on his first album, and I have been recording and performing with them ever since! I sang with lots of amazing local bands including Psydecar, The Revelations, and Inside Straight until I was brave enough to start my own band. Once I was brave enough to do that, I was brave enough to start booking gigs, promoting myself, and producing my own shows. It was a lot of work and a lot to learn!! Being a full-time musician is quite the hustle. You have to always be on top of your game, always networking, constantly trying to evolve. I was lucky enough to constantly be surrounded by the best musicians in San Diego, and lots of amazing people that helped support my musical journey. I was able to be a part of a small label, tour and travel the world with my music.

When I wasn’t performing, rehearsing, or touring I would teach dance and sing at schools all over San Diego. I was lucky enough to get to pursue both of my passions. I love kids, and love sharing my passion with them. Unfortunately, the arts have not been a priority with our educational system and my programs were always cut. In 2010, I decided to take things in my own hands and start a unique program for young singers and dancers. San Diego Jr Glee Club is dedicated to kids who were like me, putting on shows for my family and singing in a hairbrush at the top of my lungs!! Shortly after I started SD Jr Glee, I became a founding faculty member of High Tech Elementary Chula Vista. I was given the opportunity to create my own performing arts program!! That was so exciting to me! I put my personal music goals to the side while I started building a performing arts program and San Diego Jr Glee Club simultaneously.

When I teach, my first thought is what did I wish I had when I was a kid, and then I go from there. I spend a lot of time working to make sure students have representation in their culture, they experience as many styles of dance and music as possible, they work with professional singers, dancers, and musicians, they have real-world experiences such as recording in studios, performing at multiple venues and locations and of course having fun! My motto with San Diego Jr Glee Club is “Building Self-Esteem through Self-Expression” All of their experiences help them build confidence, express themselves, become risk takers and become team players. I absolutely love what I do! I recently decided to get back into songwriting and performing and it has been a totally different and new experience! I love collaborating with other singers, musicians, poets, and emcees and I am having fun working on new things. I am hoping to perform every other month this year and I would love to see some new faces in the crowd! You can also catch my Glee Club performing around town. Follow me and the Club on Instagram to stay up to date with what we are doing! @latanyalockett and @sandiegojrgleeclub

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Getting divorced was a huge obstacle for me. Going on the road was tough once I became a single mother. I had a ton of support with friends and family, but being a full-time musician was not the most stable career in the world. But touring and selling merchandise are the number one ways performers make their income. Also, being a teaching artist was very tough with budget cuts happening left and right. Every month I could not really tell you how much I was going to actually make. That was super stressful! Of course, there were friends and family who would try to encourage me to get a “real job” and I would think, what does that look like for me? I had spent my entire life teaching dance and singing. I mean I worked at the Gap and Hot Dog on a Stick, but I was fine taking my chances with music, lol. It really shouldn’t be so hard to be an artist. Aside from that, my experience has been extremely rewarding and I am so grateful for every opportunity to continue to follow my passions.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about San Diego Jr Glee Club – what should we know?
If I speak about myself as an artist, I would say Latanya Lockett is known for collaborating with different musicians, having fun on stage, and putting on a fun show! You may have seen me on stage with some of my amazing musician friends or gracing the stage with fun groups like B-Side Players.I’m known for singing Neo Soul music, but I love all types of music and one of my favorite things is to take songs you would never expect me to sing and make them my own.

My group San Diego Jr Glee Club is very unique. I noticed that there are several dance classes, but not very many options for young kids that wanted to sing. There are a few choirs, but the ones I have seen are very traditional, which is absolutely wonderful, but I wanted to put a new spin on choir for kids. I was in a show choir when I was in high school, and that experience changed my life! We had the opportunity to sing, dance and perform! I wanted to give that same opportunity to as many kids as I can. Our kids learn stage presence, choreography, vocal technique, and teamwork. They sing music from today and they have several chances to grow as singers, perform solos, experience working with professional singers and choreographers, make music videos and record in professional studios.
With my experience as a performer and singer, I feel great about being able to coach the kids on how to discover their inner voice and to let them shine. Our motto is Building Self Esteem through Self Expression!

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Oh my goodness, I have so many people to thank!! I am so blessed to know and work with some of the absolute best musicians in San Diego. I have learned something from each of them, and there are way too many to list here. I do know that when you are doing anything related to children, nothing can get done without the help of parents, so I would like to thank all of the moms and dads that have been loyal and continue to support Glee Club and myself. I am so blessed for the chance to see all of these kids grow and become confident. I have former students now assisting me to teach, our community keeps growing and coming full circle. Thank you to all of my friends who have also believed in me, and supported our Glee Club.

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Image Credit:
9pointfive, Heidi Hart

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