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Meet Trailblazer Tannia Laracuente-Martinez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tannia Laracuente-Martinez.

Tannia, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I love performing arts and teaching children. I started taking ballet lessons at age 4 and after my first recital experience, I decided that I wanted to stay in the spotlight and become a performer for the rest of my life. At a very early age, I believed that it was my true calling. When I turned 7 years old, my parents decided to go back from Brooklyn, NY to their hometown in Puerto Rico. Once relocated, I continued ballet lessons but my dad lost his job and the economic situation afflicted my parent’s relationship that it ended in a separation. As an emotional outlet, I relied on playing dolls using a vivid imagination, creating storylines, making my own dolls clothes, singing my own tunes. I also spent time watching live concerts at the public TV station. That is how I learned about plays, opera music, and piano concerts. My self-expression grew and learned that by combining, arts, music, and imagination you can cross unlimited barriers.

I remembered asking my parents wanting to learn how to play piano. Unfortunately, they were not able to afford it at the time. I had to wait a few years until things were more economically stable and during one Christmas time, I finally got a tiny organ as a gift. I self-taught until my parents were able to afford private lessons and buy an acoustic piano. I was in heaven and spent countless hours practicing and improvising melodies. Later, during the middle to high school years, I joined the school’s Musical Theater and Choir Department. I was the school soloist and earned Drama Awards. I started assisting my Piano teacher at her Performing Arts Summer Camp, learned about teaching and tutored elementary level students around my neighborhood as a part-time job when I became 18 years old. After graduating high school, I earned a full scholarship in Voice and graduated with a Major in Drama at the University of Puerto Rico. I also attended the Music Conservatory of Puerto Rico taking Operatic and Piano studies.

During my early professional years, a became a young performer and a member of the Coral Filarmonica de Puerto Rico working along with various international, recognized music “Maestros”. I later moved to Miami, Florida and continued a Soprano-Lyric Spinto career and acting jobs working on movies and TV. I worked in a few Spanish Musical Comedies, Operettas, and Recitals. Other job experiences included an Event Consultant with The Miami Bach Society and the Yamaha Concert Hall Director at Hale Piano during 2001-02. I also had the opportunity to work on television as an actress at two Spanish Soap Operas (Telenovelas): “Las dos caras de Ana” and “Bajo los riendas del amor” transmitted by UNIVISION Network.

I became the Music Academy of Coral Gables Director, which later inspired me to open my own music studio. In the year 2005-07 and recorded and toured a World/Pop music CD called “Extasis” with the well-renowned Cuban Maestro Rey Casas, who was nominated for Producer of the Year at the Latin Grammy award in 2006. As a recording artist, I was exposed to many great experiences which also allowed me to understand the music industry, become a consultant, TV Judge at a Reality Show, and share these experiences to my aspiring performers/students.

After such amazing and travel experiences, I decided to start a family and finally became a mother of two precious girls. I opened my own music studio called Kendall Music Studios, which I currently teach. All of my lessons are tailored to the student’s needs (in studio/virtual coaching) in the areas of piano, vocal coaching, auditioning/performing skills, acting to all levels of studies and ages including Special Needs children. I also impart Master Classes and are a Judge-In-Residence for student’s entering exams at MAS Magnet Program Public School. I feel blessed being able to teach what I love. My mission is to continue inspiring student’s talent, imagination, increase cognitive/concentration/creativity skills by broadening, coaching and promoting the arts in the lives of children/youth through my artistic program.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
No, it was not smooth at all. I had to be creative and do research to find additional resources to expand my acting/singing career. First, the opera career is very expensive. If you do not have the funds for Voice lessons, Coaching classes (which tuition fees are quite high) and travel/logging expenses to go to audition for Opera Houses you will be limited, so I had to invest on loans from family/friends and pay them back with my work. Choosing an acting or singing career is risky. There are no guarantees that you will make it, even if you are talented. You need to be very persistent, develop a ‘tough skin’ and learn how to deal with rejections. You need to be well- prepared in your craft and keep your confidence level high. You also have to learn how to market yourself, network and meet the right people who can potentially impact your career. Hire the best coach to help you hide your weaknesses and show off your strengths.

A few years later, I dealt with the 2009 Economic Crash losing all of my investments and 3 real estate properties. I lost everything! On top of that, the IRS audited me to make sure that I lose ‘were real’. All of this happened while dealing with a high-risk pregnancy and the stress level was so high that I had an appendectomy surgery done during my 7-months pregnancy, which also leads me to have a Bells Palsy facial paralysis. I and my little infant daughter almost died. But we survived! It took me like a year (after excruciating therapies) to be able to speak, talk, eat normal again. So, if you have a dream, you need to visualize it, no matter the pain, lost, lack of resources or lack of support. You need to make it happen and do research, read books or articles related to the subject.

We’d love to hear more about Kendall Music Studios.
I specialize in piano lessons and Vocal Coaching. All of my lessons are tailored to the student’s needs. I am known to be patient, creative, inspiring, enthusiastic, flexible, knowledgeable, persistent and committed to the progress of my students. I encourage each student to find their best potential, always using positive reinforcement. I listen to them and pay good attention to details. I find innovative ways to teach my students and teach outside the box. I prepare my students to deal with this career from the inside/out so they are ready to conquer the world.

I have longevity with my students and invest all my attention and time with them. I am most proud to be knowledgeable about acting, operatic skills, and an experienced judge. I am also an experienced actor which makes me stand out from other teachers.

Finding a mentor and building a network are often cited in studies as a major factor impacting one’s success. Do you have any advice or lessons to share regarding finding a mentor or networking in general?
Yes, you need to establish sufficient funds to pay a good coach with prior experience and additional related costs. Start by doing online research on your area of study/interests. Find out about related organizations, local business workshops or sponsors, Commercial Chambers network events or how to become an active member. Try to attend to charities, performances opening nights to initial contact and network with people related to the industry.

Be ready, know your stuff, history and current social/economic aspects. Try to have an outgoing personality, know about the event you are attending to and the people involved so you are knowledgeable and may be able to start an intelligent conversation. Learn how to listen, maintain a good conversation and know when is the perfect moment to brag about yourself. Never leave a place with potential contact information.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Professional Headshot by Goksun Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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