Category Archives: Uncategorized

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:

#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.”


Every Song

Every song is an offering to our awakening, our spirit guides, our home, our angels, each other, our vulnerable hearts, our past iterations, our now.

Every song is a gift, sung to us and through us from our longing, our bodies, our mystical truths, our opening hearts, our inner knowing.

Every song is a prayer, a celebration, a reckoning, a release, a yes.

Every song is SoulPartyShowevery one of us.

We are birds perched in a circle, gathering for this offering.  It is now our moment to arise.

Crazy. With Gratitude. And I’m Hungry.

When I’m this busy I must eat.  And be grateful.

I sent this text to a musician friend last night:

“Let’s enjoy this adventure.  It’s a great one.  It’s kind of crazy, definitely not normal and not straightforward.  It’s not typical or secure.  But it’s fun.  And it’s magical.  And that suits you.”

I am learning, over and over again, that it suits me too.

Photo on 2012-10-16 at 12.36Look, I am aware that I am crazy.  When I tell people my schedule for this month most of them rub their temples in confusion.  My Mom still worries I’m going to get sick.  My best friends have learned to just send me texts that say “BREATHE.”  I’m not home much.  I work until my eyes are crossed and I have hunger pains every day.  I’m with my students and clients on afternoons, nights and weekends and do “businessy” computer work on the mornings and Sundays.

And here is what I want you to know about me: I like myself this way, and I like my life this way.    My creativity is always on overdrive.  My mind runs a mile a minute, and my heart dances to that rhythm, perfectly aligned.  I am surrounded by people and we are doing amazing things not just as musicians, but as people.

Last night my vocal studio announced the nominees for our Artist of the Year award.  In their videos all three of them were asked a variety of questions, including “What have you learned at MMVS?”  Sam jokingly added “Do what Melissa tells you” to his answer, but I know that this means he trusts me.  It reminds me of when I met him five years ago and he was too shy to talk to me during our sessions for about a year. Sarah talks about how she has learned she can be fearless. I used to see such doubt in her eyes during lessons, and now I see fierce joy.  Danny talks about what it took for him to stop comparing himself to others and be comfortable being Danny.  Watching him own his value as an artist brings tears to my eyes.

What you may not know about me is that I am learning these lessons, too.  I am learning to trust that my business is here, and it’s growing, and it’s meant to be a great thing for all involved.  I am learning that I can be fearless; I can take a leap of faith, rent this new space and fill it with new students who work with Nicole, Chelsea and Skippy when I’m not here.  I also am learning to be comfortable being “Mel” (or “Melskers” or “Melskis” or “Melfred” or…);  being this crazy woman with a whacky life who gets teary once a day for joy and at least once a week out of fear, fatigue or hunger.

I encourage you to meet and congratulate our three Artist of the Year Nominees:


Sam http:


Part of my journey in 2013 included connecting with an amazing online circle of fiercely talented (and supportive, like whoa) women through my life coach (yes, I have a life coach) Hannah Marcotti.  She just announced a new program for 2014.  I recommend it for all women looking to love this life now.  xoxo

Ode to a Laughing Fit


It rolls like waves then explodes like a clap of thunder.  My uncontrollable “HAAAAHAAAHAAA”  that sounds like a seal’s bark to you.  So you clap your hands like fins and I am completely undone.

Now we are engaged in that silent earthquake laughter, eyes shut, lungs desperate for air, gasping “I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.”

You need water but you can’t walk.

You rest your head on the wall, clutch your stomach and try to say “Make it s-s-s-stop.”

I imitate you.  We’ve gone mad.

You try again but your voice cracks.  I make a goose honking sound.  Someone snorts.

Cracking open in hilarious pain.

The world is still.  I am present with my seemingly elusive breath.

This, the most obnoxious form of meditation, is my favorite.

I Want This For You

When you giftare told you are a gift to the world, and you believe it.

I want this for you.

When your eyes take someone’s breath away, and that doesn’t seem strange to you.

I want this for you.

When you see yourself in the mirror and get knocked sideways, just for a second, that you’re here, on Earth, being magical and miraculous.

I want this for you.

When you can sit with your own pain, or the pain of someone you love, and feel your heart expanding into more feeling rather than shrinking, or numbing, or struggling to fix it.

I want this for you.

When your gifts are something you express gratitude for without judgement or comparison or fear of losing humility.

I want this for you.

When the love you feel for your awesomeness matches the awesomeness I see.

I want this for you.

I want this love for you. 

Inspired by my beautiful friends, family, students and guides, as well as a song by my gorgeous friend, Nicole Thompson, which has the refrain “I want this for you.”