We had the good fortune of connecting with Rochelle Sloan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rochelle, why did you pursue a creative career?
From a young age, I loved to dance, draw, paint, and make music. Honestly, my spark for a career in music ignited as soon as I found out it could actually be a real job. I am blessed that my parents and educators encouraged me to audition for music schools and scholarships to make my passion for the arts more than a hobby. The faith of a few people and my natural love of all things creative was the perfect formula for pursuing a career as a freelance musician. And now, the unique opportunities I get to make a living expressing myself with other humans is what brings me (and hopefully those around me) harmony and unity in this chaotic and divisive world.
Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about.
I think the thing that sets me apart is that I am a tough woman. It is something that a lot of people notice first in a heavily male-dominated field. I cannot even begin to describe the complications that have come from that… but to look at it in a positive light, playing such a bold instrument and continuously putting myself out there musically has helped me to speak up for myself and become a more confident woman in general. Changing peoples’ preconceived notions of what women can and cannot do has always been a goal of mine, so I hope to inspire others to break all sorts of stereotypes as well.
Something that I am excited to share is that even though the pandemic brought challenges, it helped to open up a new chapter in my musical journey. At my lowest point in 2020, a few magical things happened. I was awarded grants from The Houston Music Foundation as well as The Mid-America Arts Alliance, after all live music came to a halt. Out of necessity, I switched over to teaching online lessons and started working with electronic music and won The CompUDopt Talent Show with my first electronic composition that I wrote with Sergio Vazquez. Shortly after, I was awarded for “Exceptional Musicianship in Houston, TX” from Broadcast Houston. My strengths have always been resiliency and passion, but these recent lucky breaks have helped tremendously to keep my spirit lifted, food on the table, and my musical diversity expanding. So I would like to give a special shoutout to everyone that helped me to somehow get through and thrive in 2020 and the first part of 2021!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There is always something interesting going down here, so this is a fun question! I know I will probably miss a lot, but here are my favorite venues and places that come to mind first: White Oak Music Hall, Buffalo Bayou Park, Avant Garden, Last Concert Café, The Menil, Axelrad, Satellite, Double Trouble, Discovery Green, The Rustic, House of Blues, Cafeza, Darwin’s, Warehouse Live, Agora, Prohibition, Sunset Houston, Seismique, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Space Center Houston, Herman Park, Houston Zoo, and of course NRG Stadium, The Toyota Center, and Minute Maid Park. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The earliest person that I credit, besides my parents, is my brother. He picked up trumpet first and I got his hand-me-down instrument. After proving that I would stick with it, I got my own. Not many people know this, but I still play that same trumpet! I am positive that hearing his sound, borrowing books and CDs from his collection, and seeing how hard he worked had a profound impact on my sound, style, and work ethic. At the same time, I had a number of great educators and mentors that helped to carve out and refine my playing enough to obtain a bachelor’s degree in music, which gave me a strong foundation to call myself a musician. The next category of people I would like to thank is anyone that has ever hired me, performed with me, or encouraged me as I branched out to grow a sustainable career. There are way too many amazing people to name, but you know who you are if you are reading this, and I owe everything to you. There are many things one does not learn in college, so soaking up the knowledge and experience of everyone I have the privilege to work with is something that I strive to do every day.