Katie Zaccardi is a songwriter, artist, music industry professional, and certified yoga instructor. She is a wellness coach for women in music and the host of The Out To Be podcast. Through her work in both music and wellness, along with her own experience with a generalized anxiety disorder, Katie discovered the urgent need for a conversation surrounding mental health and self-care within the music industry.


Hello and welcome to episode #40 of Sing! Dance! Act! Thrive!

Katie Zaccardi is a songwriter, artist, music industry professional, and certified yoga instructor. Through her work in both music and wellness, along with her own experience with a generalized anxiety disorder, Katie discovered the urgent need for a conversation surrounding mental health and self-care within the music industry.

Realizing the music industry’s demand for an honest discussion on such topics as mental and physical wellbeing, Katie established Out To Be. Out To Be advocates a balanced path to personal and professional success that is grounded in wellness. At its core is the idea that what you set out to do, you turn out to be; that no matter where you begin, you make your own way to the most authentic you.

The Out To Be Podcast invites listeners to engage with insightful dialogue on all things wellness and their relation to working in music. Through the Out To Be Coaching platform, Katie supports artists and professionals with a personalized approach centered on cultivating positive actions & attitudes.

You’re a singer-songwriter and you coach artists and people in the industry on health and wellness?

Katie Zaccardi 2:40
What, you got it. Yeah, exactly. So I help women in music just to be able to reach their career goals without stress without burnout basically, through taking care of themselves.

Diane Foy 2:52
So how did you get into this?

Katie Zaccardi 2:54
So I really started with this when I was in college, because I had my own experience with an anxiety disorder. And I kind of, at that point had to learn all of the tools to be able to cope with it to be able to deal with it and still do my schoolwork and still have some semblance of a social life. And I really saw the toll that stress was taking on me and anxiety is taking on me. And so after that, after I graduated from college, and I was working in the music industry, I got to a point where I was like, I was so stressed out on the job. I had migraines every day. And I knew I wanted to share what I had learned. So at that point, I just decided, you know what, like, when I needed help the mental health resources and the wellness resources that there were, there were practically none. So I want to create resources to help other people and then it’s sort of grown from there.

Diane Foy 3:49
If I and especially music industry or entertainment industry, there’s no days off. There’s no there’s no sick day because you know, things need to get done. People think of it as well, the world’s going to end if you don’t get this done today, or if you don’t answer an email today and wouldn’t really you know you’re not a doctor.

Katie Zaccardi 4:09
Yeah. So true up so many people think that and I actually, I remember when I interviewed for my very first job out of college in the music industry, they asked me like, what makes you different from other candidates? And I think I straight up said to them, yeah, here’s the thing, nothing is urgent. People lose their minds in the music industry, because they think that what they’re doing is literally, like you said, like, life changing in the sense that like, if I don’t figure this out, now, as a doctor, this person is going to die like it’s life or death, death, and it’s just not it’s just not, and I love the music industry. And I love music wholeheartedly, but in order to really deal with problems and think things through and not lose, make bad decisions because you’re so stressed out because everything is like has to happen now. You need to operate from a different space because that space does not serve you. And it allows more mistakes. It allows for decisions you don’t actually feel confident about. It allows for you to be in a more reactive state than a proactive one where you’re in control.

Diane Foy 5:15
Right. And has that go over to where they for it?

Katie Zaccardi 5:19
Oh, yeah, I mean, they’re like, huh, yeah, I like that when I got hired. So, make it work.

Diane Foy 5:25
Make it different from everyone else who says, I will work 24 seven for you.

Katie Zaccardi 5:31
Yeah, exactly. And I did a frickin excellent job in my job. And I didn’t have to, I mean, yeah, of course, there’s some times where you like I really need or want to get this project done by this deadline. And, you know, stuff happened and tech went wrong, and I’m working a little bit overtime or whatever. But normally, if you are prepared and you know what you’re going towards, and you change the kind of outlook that you’re approaching it from, it’s actually quite simple and easy to get things done and not have to even dip into that place of stress and of urgency.

Diane Foy 6:04
How do you manage your time? Like when there is way too much to do with the amount of time you have? How what kind of time management skills do you use?

Katie Zaccardi 6:18
Yeah, so I use a system that I call brain dumping system. And it really comes down to three main things to kind of be all-encompassing with time management, the first thing is getting super clear on what your goals are. Because if you don’t know what you’re working towards, then you’re just going to spend your time on a bunch of meaningless tasks and hope it all kind of strings together to be successful. So if you are, let’s say you are a singer, and you want to get more gigs, or you don’t even know what you want, but you’re actually spending time like reaching out to gigs, you’re spending time practicing this, that and the other thing you’re spending time trying to collab with people or you’re spending time doing this, just like a million different things. And we’re not really focusing in on one thing, then you’re going to waste a lot of time. And you’re also going to waste a lot of time questioning what it is you even should be spending your time doing. So it really comes down to first getting clear on your goals and then secondary getting clear on your priorities. Because your priorities are the tasks that you need to reach your goals. But they also are things that mean a lot to you like, wellness being a priority of like I, a priority for me is getting like eight hours of sleep a night that is like a non-negotiable. A priority for you might also be in your social life, like you want to grab coffee or grab dinner with a friend once a week or once a month or whatever it might be.

So it’s basically setting like what are the things that are non-negotiables for me, what are the things that I’m not going to waver on that I need in my life in order to create the life that I actually want because it’s super easy as someone in the music industry or actors or dancers or whatever it might be the entertainment industry to really just be so so committed to what they’re doing because they love it. And they don’t actually live the rest of their lives because of it. They kind of forget to do everything else they forget to have fun, they forget to take some time off, they forget to relax. And so it’s about really asking yourself, one, what are my goals? Yes, in my career, but two what is what is the life I want to create look like and what are my priorities based on that. And then once you do that, it’s a lot easier to actually manage your time, but those are kind of the two pre-recs that you need.

And then when it comes to actually mastering time management, I use a brain dumping system and I go much deeper into this with my clients and in my course from stress to success, but we basically do what we kind of like take it to do list and turn it into a brain dump so you can kind of add on to your to do list. Whatever comes to mind with things that you want to do things that you need to do things that you feel like you have to do things that you’d really like to get done or that you Oh, somewhat whatever comes to mind taking that list, and we’re gonna we organize it a little bit and then we put it into a calendar. I’m a huge, huge fan of Google Calendar. I think it’s really necessary. These days, we’re always on our phones. We’re always moving, everything’s so fast paced to utilize a calendar. If you don’t do that you are missing out that way you know, that everything you have to do is on that calendar. And then you don’t have to question anymore. Is this going to get done? When is it going to get done? What am I doing today? What’s happening? How do I figure this out? But instead you take time at the beginning of each week to sit down and just plan it all out. So then as the week progresses, you don’t have to question you don’t have to wonder what’s happening and when.

Diane Foy 9:52
Yeah, I coach on that as well. It’s changed the way I work, because I used to be very go with the flow and try to do a million things at once. One thing that I’ve started doing is instead of saying I don’t have time for things, it’s like, that’s not a priority for me right now.

Katie Zaccardi 10:09
Exactly. Yeah, exactly. Because this is the thing, you always have the time for the priority for your priorities. Like if you know, your dog is a priority, and your dog gets sick, or your dog needs to go out for a walk, you’re going to do the things you need to do to take care of your dog. If you get free tickets to something that you really want to go see like your favorite artists or something, and that is really fun to you, you make time for that somehow you make time for that to happen, right? So you always have the time. It just depends on what you want to spend that time doing. And that’s where you have to be really intentional with it. And it also makes it a lot easier to say no to things I see so many of my clients, so many musicians out there and other people in the industry out there who are feeling so guilty. They’re so they feel so guilty because they don’t know how to say no to things. And they feel like I feel bad. I don’t want to say no to this opportunity.

But at the same time, they feel insanely overwhelmed whether they take it or whether they’re even just thinking about taking it. And we have to get rid of that. And the easiest way to get rid of that is to know your priorities. Because if it’s not aligned with your priorities, then you can just say, No, thanks. I’m good. I don’t need that right now. It’s not aligned. But if it is that in the future, I hope you keep me in mind. And I think the other thing that kind of comes into play when we’re talking about saying no is like coming from this place of scarcity of people believing that if you say no to an opportunity, or to a gig that is just not aligned, then you’re saying no, and nothing else is ever going to come your way. And that’s also not true. Because when you say no to things that are out of alignment, you’re just making room for more things to come in that are in alignment.

Diane Foy 12:03
Yeah and if you don’t know what your priorities are, it’s like you’re, you’re always gonna be busy, busy, busy, busy on a million different things, but are they are the things that are going to move your career forward?

Katie Zaccardi 12:17
Exactly. Busy is such a key word here too, because it’s like you could be busy. You could be spending your day doing all of these meaningless tasks that aren’t actually moving the needle forward. Or you could be busy doing things that are meaningful to you. Or you could have time and not identify with being busy and still move your career forward. So it’s like you have the choice for how you’re going to play this but you probably don’t want to choose the option where you’re super busy and your career is not moving forward.

Diane Foy 12:49
Yeah, how would someone go about it if say, they are stuck in that hamster wheel of non stop working they don’t have time for anything but okay, I need to add some self care into my life. What are some things that you suggest?

Katie Zaccardi 13:08
I suggest that they start small. So these are the two biggest places that I recommend people start with a morning routine or a nightly routine. So these are great because you already have habits likely that you’re doing in the morning, you might wake up and brush your teeth, take a shower, do your makeup routine, whatever it might be. In the evening, you might maybe you shower again, brush your teeth, maybe you have a glass of water you get in your pajamas, whatever those kind of small small rituals and or habits that you already have in place. That is a great opportunity to build upon them. It’s much easier to keep a habit when you attach it to another habit that you already have.

So it’s kind of like building out that routine that you do already have in place even if you don’t acknowledge it. So a morning routine is great for someone who is waking up super stressed, who feels like immediately when they wake up, they’re like reacting to stuff. They’re on their phone. They’re really overwhelmed by the day, they feel like they check their email and they owe people a million things. It’s great for anyone who has a busy day ahead of them and knows that once they get going, they’re not really going to be able to fit anything else in and I’ll say this, too, it’s really easy to say, Oh, I actually have space this afternoon. I’ll just do it in the afternoon, whatever. Usually, when you say stuff like that you don’t actually do in the afternoon. I know so many times when I would do yoga at home, which I did really, really frequently, especially when I was in college. I would always say to myself, I don’t need to do it right now in the morning. I could just do it later because I have a window. Then I always always got caught up doing something else and I never ended up doing yoga. So a morning routine is also great because you kind of get that wellness in first thing And then in a sense, you don’t have to actually worry about it. You don’t have to do anything for the rest of the day if you can squeeze it in, because you’ve already set that foundation.

So and then a nightly routine is great because especially for anyone who maybe does have anxiety or just is really stressed and kind of goes to bed with that, like running to do list of things and can’t shut their brain off and feels really stressed going to bed and then they don’t have a great night’s sleep and then they wake up tired, and then it ruins the whole rest of the day. A nightly routine is great because the goal there is going to be to reduce your stress levels, get you ready for bed, get you into a parasympathetic nervous system state and be able to get a good night’s sleep, you know, get away from your phone, turn your phone off and turn electronics off a little bit before bed, maybe read a book, do some things that just calm you down. So that before you get into bed, you’re already relaxed and then you can sleep better. So those are the two biggest places to start. And those are Why you might start either in the morning or in the night you can pick which resonates best with you based on what I just said. And based on what your scheduling your lifestyle generally looks like.

And then in that, pick one thing that you want to start, there’s no right or wrong answer here. You could start meditation, yoga, reading a book, taking a bath, literally anything going for a walk, anything that you know, relaxes you, that you can do for five minutes, minimum, but five minutes to start, try it and try it out. Add it to your morning or your nightly routine. Start with one thing, get good at that one thing, be consistent with that one thing. And then once you feel like this is working, I enjoy it. It’s not you know, it fits in with what I want to do and it’s serving its purpose because there are times of course where we try something out and then all of a sudden, we’re like This is like not working for me, I don’t actually like it. I don’t feel like it’s working, you know, like, maybe you try yoga or you try kickboxing or whatever it might be. And you’re like, actually, this is not vibing with me, Don’t force yourself to keep doing it, you you have the permission to change it up. But you do want to give that habit, a fair chance, like a couple weeks, I would say at least, to make sure that you get it and you stick to it. And then you can start to add another thing on to that and then from there, just keep building out your routine.

Diane Foy 17:31
Yeah, and I think, you know, health and wellness is often the overlooked thing. But also like physical wellness as to if you could even take five minutes to break away from the computer and stand up and do a little walk. Do a little dance break. I sometimes do little dance breaks.

Katie Zaccardi 17:51
Oh, I love the dance break. Oh yeah. I mean, I will have dance parties all the time to be honest with you and just like singing and jamming out whatever it is. I mean, mind and body are so connected and totally like I kind of mentioned when we first started talking, I used to have migraines every day. When I was working full time in the music industry at my corporate job, and it was important because I wasn’t getting up and moving my body. And because I felt sick that just made my mental health and my general wellness way worse off, right? So it is all interconnected, right? Stress can cause physical ailments. physical ailments can cause stress. So you do want to make sure that you’re taking care of your whole body, and really doing what feels best.

Diane Foy 18:38
I spend way too much time on my computer. So I have to dictate the little moments to like, Okay, get up. Take a little dance break. Take a little walk. How did you get into music? Like, how long have you been doing that? Like your singer songwriter? Were you doing that as a kid?

Katie Zaccardi 18:58
Yeah, I mean, I was performing a musical theater since I was probably in the first grade, I started playing piano and then playing guitar when I was in middle school. And then I started writing songs. Basically, since I was in the eighth grade, so all through high school and I did musical theater, I play piano, guitar, I wrote my own songs. And then I went to NYU for music business. And there was where I really really stepped into the indie artists thing. And I really recorded an album a recording EP, I released it, I played gigs around New York City. And that was where I really built up that career, as well as working on in the industry and kind of like, internships and jobs doing other things in the music industry, besides being an artist, but it’s really been my whole life that I’ve been in music and then finally, I after working in a job that I just wasn’t happy with, I decided to go out and do my own thing and start my own business.

Diane Foy 19:58
And that business is coaching and what else?

Katie Zaccardi 20:03
Yes, so that business is called Out to Be it is the business that I do my coaching under. And I also have a podcast called the Out to Be Podcast which focuses on mental health and wellness in the music industry. And then my coaching, I do one on one coaching with clients and I have a brand new course out right now as well called from stress to success. So that’s where I work with music industry, professionals, artists, musicians, anyone in the entertainment industry really to be able to further their career without stress. Without burnout. It’s really important for me to spread the message that you don’t have to hustle. You don’t have to do all this crazy, crazy stuff and work yourself to death and burn out in order to be successful. In fact, burning out is only going to set you back so you really, really want to make sure that you are doing things to prevent that. It’s almost like I do help people course with getting out of burnout, getting out of self doubt and feeling like they have no time and getting clear on their goals and things like that.

But once they are at a solid place, then it’s really making sure that you are preventing burnout and you are creating a life and you are consistently working through the obstacles that come up, so that you don’t get so far back that everything is just so stressful. You can’t deal with it physically, mentally, whatever it might be. And then you end up needing to take a break, your body forces you to take a break because you just can’t do it.

Diane Foy 21:36
And I am finding that lately, the music industry, especially is adding more mental health services, at least in Canada. I have noticed it like there was a record company that decided that they would give each of their artists like thousand bucks or whatever to for mental health services. And then there’s also an organization, You Listen, where if you do need any counseling or anything like that, they’ll provide it.

Katie Zaccardi 22:07
Yeah, I do think that now people are starting to make some changes, which is amazing because it really is a full cultural shift that we have to make and changing the culture that allows and rewards people hustling. Like, I hate that word. But, but really like hustling, like working so hard day night, never taking a break and things like that, because it is not sustainable. I mean, you see actors all the time, who you’re like, oh, Where’d they go? What happened to them and they burnt out they had to take a break and stop working because they couldn’t do it anymore. Or you know, singers even like Justin Bieber, who recently kind of came back. He was out of the game for a while because he just could not take it anymore. He burned out. And it I think it’s easy to brush it off and be like, No, no, but this person they hustled and they got here or this person, they did it. That might be true. And let’s say that they are there now, chances are if they keep going at the pace they’re going at, they will burn out if they haven’t already, and you just don’t know about it.

Diane Foy 23:13
Yeah, and a lot of times at that level, like the Justin Bieber level, it’s like the whole machine puts the pressure on.

Katie Zaccardi 23:21

Diane Foy 23:21
It’s like well, you’re the moneymaker. You know? We need to you’re on tour for a year and with hardly a day off and

Katie Zaccardi 23:30
Exactly and and that’s why it’s so cultural. Like we really just have to, everyone you know, who’s working with artists. They need to be mindful of the artist mental health because and physical health because if the artist burns out, guess what, you’re not getting your money anyway. You’re not going to be a success anyway. You’re not allowed to push this anyway because they can’t work.

Diane Foy 23:49
Yeah. And it could be worse because you have to cancel a whole tour.

Katie Zaccardi 23:55
Yeah. So it’s both and the artists if you are an artist or a musician or an actor or dancer performer out there anywhere and you feel and you are so stressed if you feel like you are on the road to burnout Speak up. I mean, I create, I have a community for a reason so that you can know that you are not alone going through this so that you can get the support you need. But also, do not be afraid to speak up or set a boundary when needed, so that you do what you need to do to make it doable for you to lessen the stress to lessen the burden so that you don’t burn out or take a break if you need to just take a brief break. And then, of course, for everyone who’s on the industry side, like I said, Be mindful of your artists. Be mindful of the people you’re working for and know that like, if they’re overworked, this whole thing is not going to last as long as you want it to we have to be more conscious of how we are treating ourselves and the people around us.

Diane Foy 24:52
Yeah. And so what made you start the podcast?

Katie Zaccardi 24:59
Well, I love to Talk, first of all. And I wanted to initially starting the podcast, by sharing some stories like we were kind of just talking about, we need to feel like we’re not so alone. I think there are a lot of people out there who they don’t know how to get out of the situation they’re in. They don’t know how to set boundaries, they don’t even know if it’s possible to create another way. And so the podcast started as a way to really showcase people’s stories, people who are going through it people who are dealing with mental health issues, people who are prioritizing physical health or who have gone through burnout or who have made changes to really sustain their career. And that was kind of how it began. And we do still do that. Now it’s also a lot of solo episodes with me, talking about really specific things that I teach on that you can do to create a sustainable music career without burnout.

Diane Foy 25:58
Right and what kind of guests do you have on the show?

Katie Zaccardi 26:01
Oh, it varies. I mean, we’ve had a ton of artists, people who are artists themselves. A lot of the people that we have on even if they are mental health professionals, or because you know, wellness professionals or anything like that are also artists, which is so cool. So we kind of have people who are in the music industry, either sharing their story, or people who are experts in a specific field around health and wellness and mindset as well to even dive into some like money mindset work and things like that, because I know that’s a huge stressor. And mindset is a big factor of what I teach on, because I think that’s kind of a hidden stressor that we don’t always address when we talk about wellness in general.

Diane Foy 26:45
Anything else that you want to talk about?

Katie Zaccardi 26:50
I think we covered so much. This was such an awesome discussion. Yeah, I think the last thing is just make sure like I alluded to earlier set boundaries where you need to take time each day to really check in with yourself. So that’s going to be whatever you create in your morning or nightly routine. Make sure that it’s just a time for you to be present with yourself because that’s also where you can really be aware of how your body feels, how you feel mentally, you feel overwhelmed, you feel stress, do you have limiting beliefs or are these negative thought patterns that keep coming up. And if you do, that’s going to be an indication for how and where to start working on yourself so that you can better yourself and therefore better your music group.

Diane Foy 27:36
Right and where can people find you online?

Katie Zaccardi 27:39
I am online on Instagram @Katiezaccardi that’s where I’m hanging out the most you can go ahead and message me there. I’d love to hear from you. And then my website is katiezaccardi.com that has info for the podcast and coaching and things like that. And yeah, I think and the podcast is The Out to Be Podcast and you can find that whatever you look in a podcast.

Diane Foy 28:00
Cool, and I always ask my guests. What is your WHY?

Katie Zaccardi 28:06
Oh, that’s such a good question. Oh, man, okay. My Why is to show people that they’re not alone. And that being successful does not mean that you lose touch with every other part of you. But being successful actually means that you are aligned with everything you’re doing and you are living your life to the fullest.

Diane Foy 28:32
And why is that important to you?

Katie Zaccardi 28:34
Oh, man, it’s because it’s the truth. Because there is no need for people to go through this life alone. And there’s no need for people to go through their careers in this industry, feeling like they have to be something that they’re not or act in a certain way that doesn’t feel aligned with them.

Diane Foy 28:54
Right. Wonderful. Well, thanks for joining.

Katie Zaccardi 28:58
Thank you so much for having me.

Diane Foy 29:04
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