MMVS 2017 Spring Schedule

Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Registration Deadline for Group Classes & Open Mic (see below)

Saturday, February 25, 2017
Open Mic, Karaoke & Cupcake Party @ MMVS
6pm – 8pm
MMVSers Only
* Please RSVP by 2/14/17


Saturday, March 4, 2017
Group classes begin!
Creative Songwriting Challenge
Vocal Boot Camp: Performance, Range & Tone
* Register by 2/14/17


Friday, March 31, 2017
Open Mic Night at MMVS
6pm – 8pm
Artist of the Year Nominees Announced 

Saturday, April 1, 2017
Tickets go on sale for MMVS Red Carpet Spring Showcase & Awards

Friday April 28, 2017
Showcase Rehearsal for ALL Performers
6pm – 8pm @ MMVS

Saturday, April 29, 2017
Program ad submissions due

Friday May 5, 2017
Showcase Rehearsal for ALL Performers
6pm – 8pm @ MMVS


Saturday, May 6, 2017
MMVS Red Carpet Spring Showcase & Awards
12pm doors & photos
1pm show & awards
FTC’s Stage One, Fairfield, CT



When You’re on the Swing

There are times when you must not choose.

You have been swinging, back and forth, back and forth, between who you were and who you are becoming. Your stomach flips. You are dizzy. You can’t breathe. And your heart. You canimages-1.jpeg not feel your heart for all its churning.

Everyone asks you:

What is next? What do you want? What’s the latest? Any updates?

Suddenly How are you? makes you feel like throwing up, even though you are so, so, so grateful that you have someone checking in on you (the silence from those who’ve stopped coming around is a heavy weight on your lap as you swing, and you doubt, and you berate yourself for not being able to choose, dammit, choose a landing spot and be happy).

You try to pray. You try to vision. You try to connect with your feelings (Well, how do you FEEL?). There are no pretty collages of beautiful blues and sandy beaches. There are no words or mantras. There aren’t even any tears. And then there are so many. And everything is just so blurry from all of this swinging.

You eat a lot of string cheese. At night.

You eek out a little bit of surrender each time you go to sleep. You aren’t sure what you’re holding on to or what you still need, so it’s hard to let anything go.

You simplify your prayers:

May I please enjoy the peace inside of my sleep tonight?  Just remind me I’m okay.

You remind yourself that there are lovely surprises inside of every day, and you remember, for roughly 0.7 seconds, to look for them when you get outside. One day, you see a dragonfly and actually remember to say thank you.

And then you swing again between memories and fears, memories and fears, memories and fears.images.jpeg

Push, pull, push, pull, back and forth, back and forth…

Until you are mercifully thrown, or maybe you actually leap, untethered, into the space between here and there, what was and what will be.

And now… you must. not. choose.

Why is this the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

You don’t know.

How will this make you happier? Better? Stronger? Safer?

You don’t know.

How long do you have to be suspended here? Unsure of who or where you are?

You don’t know.

But this is what is next, this is all you want, this is how you are: You are off the damn swing.

What looks to the world like constant indecision is the biggest choice you’ve ever made: to be where you are, untethered, ungrounded, all options unnamed and yet unseen.

What do you want?
Right now you don’t want a thing other than to spend a moment unburdened from decisions and action plans. Right now you want to celebrate being off the damn swing.


Blending #AllTheThings

What if this is the year of blending?

My beautiful friend Hannah Marrcotti‘s birthday is one week ahead of mine and I love watching her make her birthday wish. It usually takes her about… oh… twenty minutes. The candle wax runs on the cake. Our phones run out of battery. We are crying with laughter (and possibly hunger).

She begins her wish-making process locked in gratitude. And this year, as she was processing all the things (#allthethings) our gorgeous Ruth Clark said What if this is the year of blending? And lightbulbs went off in all of our heads.

It felt like the idea heard around the world: Yes, we are all the things we are at once.

For me, it means that I am a woman who does a few different things. I run my vocal coaching and artist development business, MMVS. I write this blog about my life and dreams and heart’s deepest desires. I share other people’s heart songs & stories.

But maybe I don’t have two blogs, two web sites, and four Facebook groups.

What if this is the year of blending?

What if I invite you, in 2016, to receive one newsletter from me that will include some songs, some stories and some news about my beautiful clients and artists?

The blog will be here. And if you are receiving this in your inbox, you are subscribed to the new blended newsletter as well. As always, you may unsubscribe at any time. If you have joined us through our Heart Songs & Stories program, I will still run that from time to time, and I will do it… right here.

Because this is the year of blending all the things.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! Here is a little holiday heart song just for you.




No More Bullshit: Manifesting Truth

If you ask me about your career in the music business, and I give you a linear answer that sounds reasonable and reliable, I am bullshitting you.

I’m not doing it to be a jerk or to blow you off.

I’m actually trying to meet you where you are and connect with you, at least a little, before telling you the truth.

Or… nah… that’s bullshit too.

I’m basically trying to hide a little bit of myself from you.

The truth is that I do have answers, but I’m afraid if I tell you the truth you will back away, smiling and nodding at the crazy person who sees your life (or worse, the life of your kids) as some kind of magic trick you can’t control. Worse yet, you might tell everyone not to work with the unicorn lady who doesn’t think college is the right path for everyone, who calls collages “vision boards” and tells her clients that “how” is not their job.


Tonight is the eve before I enter another Magic Making Business Circle, hosted by my dear friend and guide Hannah Marcotti. The work inside of these online courses (and the communities that gather within) spark my greatest ideas both for my business and my life. I have done so many “Hannah Courses” (and IMG_0767talk with Hannah so often) that I am often a day or two ahead of her prompts. I get into the flow and know not to hold myself back from whatever unfolds.

Today I did a lengthy interview about MMVS, my vocal coaching & artist development business, and found myself telling a remarkable story. It’s my story, of course. It’s about so much more than creating the business of my dreams. It’s about a girl who loved to sing, a girl who wasn’t told “you can’t” all that often but still felt that way anyway. It’s about a young woman desperate to be responsible and independent while staying connected to her greatest passion in life.

Like so many stories, it’s about growing up, finding myself, and learning to love my life.

Telling that story today made it all so real.

I have becoming who I was becoming. And now that I have realized this iteration of myself I am free to dream again… who will I become next? It is inside of this question that I will connect with new desires, I will create new visions, and I will catch glimpses of what is next for my business.

This is the language I like to use to describe life, goals, dreams and plans.

So the next time we talk business, be ready to hear crazy talk about manifesting gifts for your next iteration.


For those who want more ~ Information on Hannah & her Magic Making Business Circle (it starts tomorrow, registration is still open) can be found here:

The Amazing Story of the Sunglasses and the Sea

Yesterday I felt brave in the Pacific Ocean waves.  They were wilder and more fierce than Long Island Sound, but the ground felt soft and sturdy beneath my feet.  I waded deeper into the water, watching pelicans do their hilarious face-plants around me.   I thought about a recent text conversation with a girlfriend in pain; in transition.  “These moments,” I had said “Are like waves.  They can be huge, and scary, and sometimes painful.  It may feel like youimagewill drown.  But you will not. Mama Ocean will not do that to you.”  I felt so in the flow and full of joy…until the water tugged at my feet and disappeared around me as a 15 foot wave swelled over my head.  Panic.  I turned my back and jumped.  What felt like bricks pelted my body and pushed me down, water filling my nose and esophagus.   We all have these stories right?  Fun until the ocean knocks us over? Yes.  I survived, got up, noticed that my sunglasses had been ripped from my face. Obviously. I should have known better.   Shit.  Okay, they weren’t my best pair.  All was fine,  except now I was afraid of the waves.  None of my woo woo “Mama Ocean won’t drown you” advice was holding up.  Waves would appear and I would freeze, unable to decide: Jump, dive, ride? I just started saying “no” and resisting before getting pummeled.  Eventually I gave up. I  literally said “I’ve had enough” to the sea and walked to the sand, defeated, knowing I had failed to learn some kind of lesson.  Mama Ocean took my joy, my r&r, and my sunglassee (which I really liked, to be honest).

Today I walked back to the beach at the end of the day, right before sunset.  My intention was just to put my toes in the water, cool off, and not fight the ocean at all.  I walked straight from the street where I’m staying to the water.  At my feet, where the ocean met the sand…

My sunglasses.

Some rust, lots of sand, otherwise in tact and undeniably mine.

More than 24 hours of tides and tourists later, she returned my sunglasses to me, sending them not to the exact spot where I lost them but to the spot where I returned.

My friend with whom I’ve been texting about this wants to know what I make of this.

All I can assume is that I have a relationship with The Universe that goes beyond my understanding.  And when the ocean rips something away from you it might actually be engaging you in conversation, alerting you to its power, and letting you know you have an intensely magical ally, after all.

The metaphor is so rich I can hardly make sense of it!  I look forward to all of your comments.



#SelfLoveSelfie – 30 Days

This is an emergency.

For too many days in a row I have woken up with mean stories repeating in my head.  You know what I mean.  The stories accuse me of not being who I want to be or maybe just saying something stupid the night before.  They convince me that others don’t love me as much as I love them; they make me wonder if I will ever allow myself to be truly happy even though I work my ass off at it, all day, every day.  I work and I strive and I achieve and I dream and I give and I give and I give…


Then I wake up feeling depleted and like nothing will ever be enough.

Selfies suck.

I am not one of those girls who made the “duck face” on myspace and thought she looked cute.  You won’t find me taking pictures of myself in the bathroom of a club, angled 45 degrees to the side with my hand on one hip.  I have almost no pictures of me as a teenager because I wouldn’t let my parents take them and I destroyed so many that were taken over the years. I am told I have a nice smile but when I turn the camera on now I see how my face crinkles up or the way my teeth seem too big or the fact that my mouth goes crooked… So I make the “Mel Face” (an Elvis sneer, really), call it a #selfie and post it to Instagram.  Really.  Why bother.

When you see me post a picture of myself that is actually nice or calm, where I’m not laughing my ass off or sneering or cropping it so only my eyeball appears, I am practicing.  I am looking at myself, holding my own gaze and waiting.  I wait for the mean stories to unfold.  The criticism and the fear pass through me in a matter of seconds or minutes but it can feel like an eternity.  I walk around the house waiting for the light to hit me the right way.  I smile, it seems forced.  I wait.  I smile a little less, a little more.  I wait.  I laugh.  I think “This is effing ridiculous.”

At some point I see my eyes relax.  My face softens.  I recognize a truth within myself.  I see my spirit start to emerge from behind the cold armor of fear and pain.  I see my heart in my eyes.  And then I take the picture.

I usually don’t post them.  But for 30 days I will.  Mainly because, like so many of us, I struggle with the idea of being seen exactly as I am.

I learned the art of self-love selfies (and self-care in general) from my brilliant friend and coach Hannah Marcotti.  She is always running outstanding online programs and live events.  I know I mention her just about every time I blog.  If you know her you know why.

If you would like to join me, I am on Instagram and Twitter as @melmulligan
I will be using the hashtag #selfloveselfie

Melissa Mulligan is the owner and head of Artist Development at MMVS: Melissa Mulligan Vocal Studio in Connecticut, New York, California and online.  Her studio offers private voice, songwriting, piano, guitar and music lessons, group lessons, workshops and online programs.  For more information visit or email







I have to tip my hat to my brilliant friends (and coaches) Hannah and Mara, who believe we need self-care Emergency Kits for days, weeks, and lunar cycles like this.



And then she said…


Through Hannah Marcotti’s 2013 Mastermind group I have been gifted a group of friends who text with intention.  I can sit with a cup of coffee, scroll through my phone’s history and shine throughout the day.

She said “I got this note from the universe that seems to be meant for you.”
And then she said “You’re doing it.”

She said “The voice that knew she had to stop breaking her own heart. I’ve been there.”
And then she said “Think of it like an antibiotic for that shitty voice in your head.”

She said “However it happens will be the right way.”
And then she said “I want to say this.  You are pretty and you are beautiful.”

She said “Day 12 you want to tell water to f*(& itself.”
And then she said “I love your morning messages!”

She said “Yes! Eyes in the dark, baby!”
And then she said “Got teary in the best of ways which means to me that this is truth.”

She said “Sending you beams of soft pink light, filled with love.”
Then she said “Asking the angels to wrap you in gentle divine light.”

She said “These are the days for sure!”
And then she said “Thank you, love. A bit of a vulnerability hangover.”

She said “I will keep peace and love in my heart.”
And then she said “Look we have live music! I didn’t even try to find it and voila, there it is!”

She said “Good morning! You are f*&(ing amazing and I love you.”
And then she said “I think there was something extra in my kombucha this morning – I’m almost giddy.”

She said “I have seen your soul and you and she are beautiful, beyond beautiful, radiant with joy and light and here on Earth you are a hot tamale.”
And then she said “Meant to be.”

She said “I choose to play the game of joy, empowerment, ease, fun and love. Shall we?”
And then she said “Good thing you have fabulous boots to ground you.”