I first met Teneia Sanders and Ben Eichelberger, two musicians, at a private party in Palo Alto, California. It was an intimate gathering, with Teneia and Ben performing, and it soon turned into a move-your-body, clap your hands, feel-good event. I was captivated with them, realizing how special this duo is and wondering why I had never heard of them. I bought their CD. The more I listened the more I understood their unique style of folk soul with a pop twist; I was hooked.
Recently the pair were in town and put on a show highlighting songs from their current ‘No Fakes’ album. I knew, this time, I wasn’t going to let them get away before learning their story. What I discovered was that their inspiring tale applied not only to struggling artists but to any entrepreneur starting out. The stage was set to have a Spirited Conversation.
Teneia and Ben knew they were headed for something great the moment they met. Both aspired to travel the world and connect with people through their music. Coupled with their dedication and persistence, they quickly established a fan following that resulted in funding through IndieGoGo. The stage was set for the team to hit the road with their message of love and equality. With no blueprint or roadmap, they bought an RV and started driving across America.
Like many start-ups, the initial excitement of following a dream quickly gave way to the realization that passion alone isn’t enough. You need a plan. Through trial and error, they found the best way to maximize their funds, optimize their choices of routes, venues, etc. and validate their worth. Slowly they started to network in an effort to build their brand, online and offline. Word-of-mouth and thousands of miles later, Teneia Music has grown considerably, with an expanding global fan base and new partnerships and collaborations in the works.
As Teneia and Ben find their niche and continue to stabilize costs against their operations and brand presence, they are first and foremost - husband and wife. And with any close relationship, personal or business, they know the importance of carving out time from busy work schedules to kick back; time to reflect and recreate. They know it can’t be work all the time. They take time to remind themselves...it's about the music and the message.
With a firm grasp of how to better anticipate bumps in the road (pun intended), they are equally committed to furthering their cause of love and equality. They will be headed back to Teneia’s home state of Mississippi soon. They will meet with the Mississippi tourism board to film a video that showcases the state's diversity and promotes an atmosphere of equality.
This comes in response to the "religious freedom" laws recently passed by the governor that allow discrimination if it's religiously founded. Teneia Ben will share their experiences and show how their music can help bring people together. Considering their bootstrap to blockbuster success so far, I’m sure they will make an impact.
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