I’m always trying to give back in some way, however small. Back when I was doing the pageant thing, I always said if I ever placed in the Miss America Pageant, I would honestly answer the question about goals with: “I’d like to see world peace.” As corny as it sounds, I’ve always cared about others around the world. I used to have the Josephine Baker dream of singing around the world and adopting children from various countries like she did.
As a part of our series about stars who are making an important social impact, I had the pleasure of interviewing Temperance Lancecouncil.
As a polk-salad picking, red dirt playing, Bible Belt Southerner, Los Angeles-based country singer Temperance Lancecouncil, has come a long way.
Like many, the singer-songwriter sang in the youth choir at church, and in her high school’s concert choir, before jetting off to L.A. where she once formed and fronted her own band.
After years of struggle, the ex cheerleader, homecoming queen and pageant girl, suddenly finds herself with a hot, new song that encompasses her country-girl roots; as she sings about emancipating and empowering others from unhealthy ‘entanglements.’
Thank you so much for joining us on this interview series. Can you share with us the backstory that led you to this career path?
Per my mother, I began singing and dancing at age 3, so she got the bright idea to teach me 3-part harmony. I can remember learning to play vinyl records and singing my little part with her. I remember that we had to put a quarter on top of the needle-holder to hold the arm down to balance it, to keep the vinyl spinning properly. When I reached 1st grade, I was cast as the lead in the Christmas play. Even at age 6, the joy that I felt from the standing ovation instantly hooked me, because it made me feel like I existed, as strange as that sounds. I felt so alive and I can still feel that intoxicating exhilaration, even after all of these years!
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career? What was the lesson or takeaway you took out of that story?
While actually working at a record label in Los Angeles, I sat in a small room where an iconic, genius superstar played his new songs impromptu for the people in my department. Because I was in such awe and disbelief, I was speechless and almost zombie-like. If I could have a re-do, I would have spoken up, and at least said something with subtle overtones to pitch myself … you know, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. And, yes, I do have receipts, as they now say. Even with the chance of a firing, this superstar would have been well worth it, but I was so young and reserved then. Takeaway: Speak up for yourself because that Southern-bell, demure training will get you nowhere!
What would you advise a young person who wants to emulate your success?
It goes back to having a voice and speaking up. Don’t be afraid to go after what you want. Go after it really hard; that way, you won’t have any regrets about “coulda-shoulda-woulda.” It’s important to know that shyness gets you nowhere. In the South we were raised to not ‘toot your own horn.’ Obviously, that’s no longer the case, because if you don’t toot your own horn, you’ll get left by the side of the road while the parade marches right by you.
Is there a person that made a profound impact on your life? Can you share a story?
That would have to be my saintly grandmother, who is the very reason that I’m even here. As a 2nd-grader, I became afflicted with scarlet fever. Apparently I was in bed dying and my grandmother came over right in the nick of time and got me up and dressed me. She persuaded my mother to get me to the pediatrician, who said that I wouldn’t have made it through the night. The kicker is that I had just seen the doctor that morning, but I guess I rapidly took a downward turn after returning home. It also could be that the illness had been all but eradicated then, and the pediatrician simply wasn’t looking for a disease like that. His office was directly across from the hospital and he told my mother to rush me right over and he’d call everything in. I spent nearly 2 weeks in the hospital. I do remember that the local health department got involved and my case apparently was an isolated one. What a mystery?
How are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting causes you’re working on right now?
While this song is about empowering all people, especially women, around the world, my last song was also about giving hope and strength to every human on the globe during the global pandemic. It was called, “Globally We Sing; Erase 19.” It’s a good one to Google when a little world inspiration, unity or cohesiveness is needed. Currently I’m working on a song about peace and world consciousness.
Can you share with us a story behind why you chose to take up this particular cause?
I’m always trying to give back in some way, however small. Back when I was doing the pageant thing, I always said if I ever placed in the Miss America Pageant, I would honestly answer the question about goals with: “I’d like to see world peace.” As corny as it sounds, I’ve always cared about others around the world. I used to have the Josephine Baker dream of singing around the world and adopting children from various countries like she did. Many years ago, I ran the Los Angeles marathon — in a loin cloth, no less — to protest Apartheid.
I also used to sponsor events to raise funds and other items for domestic violence shelters here in Los Angeles.
I’ve been working to try and become a U. N. Women Goodwill Ambassador.
Can you share with us a story about a person who was impacted by your cause?
I get feedback quite a bit from individuals stating that my songs helped them out through a rough patch. Right now, my songs are my messages. I try to uplift others via music. With my current song, “My Restraining Order (Won’t Do),” I’ve even had radio hosts say the song has made them realize that they are not alone, in that these things have happened to them. Some have said that they can identify with particular details in the lyrics. That makes me feel great, as others realize that they are not alone in dealing with these unfortunate incidents. I want people to feel strengthened and empowered. Empowering others is my mission.
Are there three things or are there things that individuals, society, or the government can do to support you in this effort?
YES, THE GOVERNMENT. I personally believe that a class on domestic abuse and self-esteem should be taught in the public school system. Before the pandemic hit, I’d been in the early stages of drawing up a 401(c)3 plan to attract funds to hire folks to conduct such classes in the L.A. school system, sort of like the Big Sisters of America. Then, the pandemic hit and well … everything came to a halt.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started”
#1 — Again, go after what you want and don’t fear rejection.
#2 — Never let egos destroy your band.
#3 — Put yourself 1st, because humility gets you nowhere fast in Los Angeles.
#4 — Don’t let opportunities pass you by because you’re too busy being the “good guy.”
#5 — Play to win.
You’re a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
The movement would be called “The Civility & Health Movement.”
#1 — It would be a movement modeled after AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), but the focus would be on weaning folks off of incivility and unhealthy lifestyles. The focus would be on re-learning to be civil to each other on social media and in the real world, as well as how to make and achieve healthier lifestyle choices.
#2- Referrals would come from administrators, courts, social services, etc. In a group setting, participants would be required to work to overcome their struggles that have adversely affected society. They would then take those principles that they’ve re-learned and share them with those in their daily lives as well as on their social media. The movement could then spread around the globe, thereby making it a better world in the process.
WHY? Because, as a society, we have gotten away from both, and I think the world would be a healthier and happier place if we could get back to some semblance of both things. HEALTHY MIND, HEALTHY BODY, HEALTHIER SOCIETY!
Can you please give us your favorite life lesson quote?
‘It’s better to try and fail, than fail to try.’
I used this quote in my 1st radio commercial back when I was a teen.
And can you explain how that was relevant in your life?
It has been the motto of my entire career. Most relevant is when I first ventured out to Los Angeles. I stayed for a total of 24 hours because I was so despondent over where I was expected to live after the taxi dropped me off from LAX. I booked a flight home and got right back on the next plane out. It took me a year to figure out a new plan, and the 2nd plan worked. Even while sitting in the airport all night long in some connector city waiting for a flight, as sad as I was, I never thought about failing. I knew I would try again because failure wasn’t an option for me.
We are blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
Yes! Lunch with Elon Musk.
Why? Because I love how he tries to help those in turmoil around the world. I bow down to that kind of service to humanity. In my opinion, that deserves the ultimate honor, respect and praise.
Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was so inspiring, and we wish you continued success!
Stars Making a Social Impact: Why & How Temperance Lancecouncil Is Helping To Change Our World was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.