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Nashville’s Most Inspiring Stories

The heart of our mission is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our communities. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some incredible artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with the incredible group below. Check out our favorite stories from across the Voyage family.

Katie James

From a young age, I always knew that I loved music. I’ve been writing songs since I was in first grade and singing ever since I can remember. Growing up I tried to get involved in as many musical opportunities as possible and ended up joining many choirs. However, everything really changed for me when I decided to move to Nashville for college. Ever since then, I’ve been playing 2-5 shows a week just around town. The support I’ve gotten has been incredible, and every day I feel like I learn something new that I can put toward achieving my dreams. Read more>>

Alyssa Block

Chef Alyssa has had a lifelong passion for art & cooking. As a young child, she would watch the Food Network’s Alton Brown in her mom’s kitchen. Experimenting with cooking techniques and recipes, she would turn her mother’s kitchen into her personal science lab. As a kid and throughout her whole life, she held a talent for painting, drawing, cooking, and sculpture. She went on to graduate from Columbus College of Art and Design in 2013 with her BFA and a yearning to go back to cooking. This is when she went on to invest every cent she had in starting her own food cart business. Read more>>

Tyrek Saunders

If there was one word to describe me, it would be creative. Even at a young age, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to perform, I wanted to make people laugh, make them feel good. I would run around the house recreating scenes in movies, regardless of what the story is. I always knew that if I could play a character like those people I was watching on tv, I could do the same thing and tell my story. Read more>>

Karen Johnston

Knowing and not knowing, doing and undoing, choosing to trust then gently letting go – these are the opposing forces that uphold my work. Painting is a keen, intuitive balance of choices and chances. No matter how far I ever stray from my art, the blank surface unfailingly lures me back. As soon as I clear my mind to center on intention, acceptance, and truth, the canvas stands tall with purpose and we cross the creative threshold together. Sometimes within this process, nothing happens, and at other times it’s impossible to walk away. The more passion I give, the more I reveal, the lighter I feel, and the richer the layers become. Read more>>

Hector Urdaneta

I was born in Barquisimeto in 1985 in his childhood he began to show concerns about drawing, in his free time at school, he drew the comic cartoons that he saw at home, it was a hobby that he maintained throughout his childhood, and adolescence, at one point He would tell his mother to put him to see classes at the Martin Tovar y Tovar art school in Barquisimeto where he began drawing and painting with the artist Ramon Lizardi for a year. Read more>>

Kaderick Jones

In 2008, I felt impressed by god to bring 10 young adults into my home to conduct what I thought was a mentoring program. However, I learned a year later that what I was actually doing was group coaching. This was before life coaching was an industry. This coaching program (known then as G-Shift), was spiritual, practical, and life-enhancing. so much so, that midway through the program one of the participants, Jae Nicole, had to drop out because she was applying the principles and getting promotions in Corporate America. Read more>>

Nick Mullikin

I grew up in Madison, WI, and started dancing at the age of 2. I was an incredibly clumsy child, so movement classes helped me build coordination. I was fortunate enough to have additional movement classes in pre-school where the teacher recognized my ability. She suggested that I take more formal training classes, and I began the process of dancing more seriously. I was in my first Nutcracker when I was about 8 years old and just kept going from there until I needed to be exposed to other opportunities. Read more>>

Olivia Tardiff

It all started in high school actually. My school required that we take multiple courses in a field we were interested in and I chose the Digital Arts and Design track because I have always loved creating. I fell in love with photography and was constantly watching Youtube videos and experimenting with my camera. When I graduated I decided to go to Ohio University to major in Commercial Photography with a minor in business. That’s when I truly fell in love with photography and developed a love for videography as well. Read more>>

Sarah Alliston

I am a California native and a few years back, my husband and I made the decision to move to the beautiful state of Tennessee for a better life for our two children. I have 12 years of experience in the Insurance Industry, beginning in claims and adjusting to now owning my own Farmers Insurance Agency in the heart of Brentwood. I love what I do and not too many people can say that. It’s fulfilling in so many ways to see how often you can really help someone just by simply explaining their insurance and that makes coming to work, for me, enjoyable. Read more>>

Jessa Pacheco

I’m a fiber artist who lives and works in Southern Vermont. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Photography and a Masters in Elementary Education. I grew up on a small peninsula north of Boston in a home environment that promoted creativity. My father, a finished carpenter/woodworker, and my mother, a painter, and writer, instilled a love of the arts and encouraged and inspired my own strong sense of self-expression within me from a young age. Read more>>

Chad Combs

As a small child, I was always interested in what was happening in the kitchen with my grandmother, great-grandmother, and countless aunts as most of us, I started out in a pizza joint. From there, working in a few corporate spots, learning the business behind it all. I moved to Nashville where I could work in more refined establishments. The idea was always to go learn what I can and bring it back to my small hometown. Read more>>

Elodie Wright

My name is Elodie Wright. I’m born and raised in Nashville, TN. I began in 2021 by influencing online and collaborating with brands. That is when I knew I wanted to start my own company. I grew up in one of the worst neighborhoods and never really had that helping hand growing up. I had to study and learn on my own. Read more>>

Chloe Halpin

I knew I wanted to move to Nashville in 2008 when I saw Taylor Swift’s performance of “Picture to Burn” at the CMT Music Awards. I know it’s not a unique thing to say, but I wouldn’t want it to have started any other way. I had been a drummer most of my childhood, so I started learning guitar and writing songs around age 12. My dream came true in the fall of 2016 when I began my freshman year at Belmont. I graduated with a BA in Songwriting from Mike Curb College in May of 2019. Read more>>

Herbert Ndeki II

I was born in Douala Cameroon, a small coastal town in Central Africa. When I was in my junior year at the University of Douala where I was studying Economy, a friend told me about an immigration program the US government had called Diversity Visa, set up as a lottery, and every year winners were awarded green cards and permanent stay in the US. Read more>>

Jodi Salerno

Tudaloo is a fashion brand that specializes in creating memorable and bespoke items that have sentimental meaning. Tudaloo was created on New Year’s Eve in Pasadena. Jodi has a tradition of attending the Rose Parade with her family as her father was the President of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses in 2009. In 2015, she made rose-themed totes as gifts for her friends and family who were going to the parade. While staying at the Langham Hotel in Pasadena, the manager saw her tote and asked if they could buy a few to sell in the hotel’s boutique. They sold out on New Year’s Day and Tudaloo was born.  Read more>>

Anthony Craparotta

My background is a mix of traditional marketing agencies and music artists. As I grew in both fields I built a perfect niche for myself that is a blend of both. In 2015, with my partner Jess, I launched We’ve grown to become the leading animation studio in the music business and have worked with some of the biggest artists of all time. It’s been a fun ride! Read more>>

Joshua Sellers

So 2014 was the year that puppets came into my life. I was touring children’s theaters across the Upper Midwest and saw that a new biography of Jim Henson had just come out. I, of course, had always been a fan of the Muppets (who isn’t?) and I needed something new to read so I entered my shipping info and two days later I’m learning all about this Great American Genius. That set off a sequence of events that led me to where I am today. Read more>>

Bri Bagwell

Howdy! I started singing as soon as I could, with my first on-stage performance at the age of 3. I have a very musical family, with aunts and uncles on both sides playing instruments and singing. My mom played a little piano and lap steel, and my dad some guitar. I taught myself how to play piano on a dusty old keyboard I found in my parent’s garage. Read more>>

Austen Tosone

Hi! I’m Austen, a content creator and influencer educator based in New York City. I love helping creators, influencers and business owners show up authentically online, communicate their unique value to their clients and customers, and make consistent income from their social media presence. In 2012, I started my blog Keep Calm and Chiffon as a way to document my outfits over a summer where for once in my life I had nothing to do. I graduated from Barnard College in New York City with a BA in art history. Read more>>

Benjamin Wilson

I’ve been interested in the musical process since I was in middle school when I started songwriting. I remember the joy of putting words together in a specific way in order to allow the listener to think about things they’d never thought of before – or to think about them in a way they’ve never thought of them before. There was such a power in songwriting. And it really fit with my character, because it was (and is) not always easy for me to verbally articulate the ideas I’m trying to get across. Read more>>

Marla Faith

Art has been my language since I was a child, bringing the inner world out, and getting out of my own way to SEE. It has been a healing journey and my skills and clarity have grown through playing in the land of color and form. I have taught studio art and art history to people of all ages in public and private schools and in museums in Chicago, New York, and since 1990 in Nashville. I love sharing stories and guided meditations to help people enter and grow their own artistic expression. I have also published 3 books on my art and poetry, and I love to dance, walk in the forest, and practice yoga and meditation. Read more>>

Drew Kohl

I moved to Nashville in 2014 from Athens Ga. I got a job teaching music and started working as a freelance guitar player, playing long gigs in bars downtown on Broadway but my goal has always been to write songs. Cold Equations is the moniker I used to release my first album of indie rock songs ‘Ghost Town’ in 2021. Ryan Dishen joined the band on drums and John O’Brien on Bass. Read more>>

Elizabeth Howard

Nashville Women’s Resale was born over lunch. We were commiserating about clothing and accessories we needed to sell. We saw a need for a reliable resell network in Nashville. Read more>>

Marlene Ssebulime

In 2004, I was serving a church in California as the Children’s Minister and I met my new neighbor, David Ssebulime. David was not like anyone I had ever met before. In our first conversation standing in the street, I learned he was from Uganda, and then he said, “Have you ever heard of the African Children’s Choir?” I said, “yes, of course!” And he proceeded to tell me how when he was a boy the African Children’s Choir was formed in Uganda as a sponsorship program to help poor and orphaned children who could not afford to attend school and he was chosen to be in the choir and tour Europe and North America. Read more>>

Patti Baldini

One Sunday afternoon, my Mother and I were driving home from an auction in her yellow two-door Cadillac. The car was packed so full that our noses were practically pressed against the windshield. We joked about how people will do anything to get their stuff home; including us. We loved attending auctions! I was going through a divorce at the time, with two small children and I knew my job as a ballet teacher was not going to put my girls through college. I needed a new career with the ability to earn more income and I also needed flexibility in my schedule so I could manage my time as a Mom. Read more>>

Elijah Leavens

Originally from Upstate New York in 2021 I traveled down to Tennessee for Bonnaroo. After getting into the area and settled in right up the road my friends and I got the news that Bonnaroo had canceled. After I got the news I felt the show must still go on! Springing into action to get a video out onto social media I wanted everyone in town to still get together and celebrate what was bringing us together – The Music! After getting multiple messages and people contacting me I found out many others had the same heart and got linked up with some amazing forward-thinking individuals. Read more>>

Chandler Powell

My name is Chandler Powell lead singer of Three Years Apart and I want to mention my band in this as well. Three Years Apart is a four-piece Alternative Rock band that formed in 2019. Our members include Hayden Minton (Drums), my brother Cooper Powell (Bass), Camden Skidmore (Lead Guitar), and me Chandler Powell (Vocals and Rhythm Guitar). The band was formed with our Drummer Hayden Minton, Bassist Cooper Powell, and me, alongside two other members that are no longer in the band. Mine and Cooper’s grandfather Bill Brummett, is one of our songwriters and co-writers. My grandfather and I always collaborate lyrically, which I am blessed to say I can do. Read more>>

Mrs. Shockley

Hello! My name is Mrs. Shockley, and I started my blog called “A Home for Elegance” back in 2014. I have always loved home decor and fashion and wanted to begin to share it with like-minded people. I have consistently published 3 blog posts a week sharing my travel adventures, wardrobe finds, and antique purchases for the last 9 years. I have loved every minute of being a blogger. Last year I decided to add another element to my website by adding a dress boutique! I now sell a curated collection of dresses that are for the classy everyday woman! I love finding clothing and want to encourage women to enjoy being women. There is nothing like it! Read more>>

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