Memphis Downtowner July 2011 : Page 15

“This job allows me to do what I love to do,” says Myla, a senior accoun-tant for a commercial real estate management company. “If you have a job that gives you resources and no time, you can’t make music. But if you have time and no resources, you can’t make music, either.” sic. But if you have time and no resources, you can’t make music either. “Now I am a time manager and really take charge of my schedule,” she says. “When I started my current job, I set my boundaries, and I have to be very defensive about those boundaries.” This past September, Myla released her second album, White/Gold , her most am-bitious and critically acclaimed project to date. The cover art shows her in her mother’s wedding dress, looking out two tall church doors — a very appropriate photo for the young bride, who married fellow musician Richard Thomas the same day she released White/Gold . Richard, an apartment sales representa-tive, also juggles two careers. Who better to understand the needs of a business profes-sional passionate about music than another business professional passionate about mu-sic? Myla’s family is proud of her work on both fronts. “They wonder why I would spend so much of my free time making music when I have a good job,” she says with a laugh. “If you don’t have that drive, you may not understand. Whatever you love, you make room in your life for it. For anyone whose love is musical, they have to get it out. It is not an option.” Gospel and country music have long gone together, but for singer/songwriter Myla Smith, so does accounting, and she plays all three. Her music promotions show farms, pickup trucks, country churches, horses, and cowboy hats; her East Memphis office shows a study in contrasts: an eleva-tor ride up from a marble-floored lobby, cu-bicles, and a super-orderly desk with a view that stretches down bustling Poplar Avenue toward Downtown. “Some people go to college for the ex-perience or to become more learned,” says the Millington native. “For me, it was for a job, and most of the people getting jobs were accountants.” She received her un-dergraduate degree and M.B.A. from the University of Memphis and has been a C.P.A. since 2004. “This job allows me to do what I love to do,” Myla says. “Some of my friends who have put all their eggs in the music basket are stressed because it is so hit or miss. Music is great money when you’ve got the work, but you don’t always have it, so you need a cash-flow stream. Being financially stable has en-abled me to make music on my own terms without having to com-promise my product.” But there are stresses in balancing two careers, too, which Myla learned the hard way. Her first accounting position re-quired 60-hour weeks. “It was totally incom-patible with creating music,” she remem-bers. “By the time I got around to writing, I was so drained and out of energy.” Little wonder it took her almost two years to finish her first album, All the Things That Go Miss-ing , in 2006. “If you have a job that gives you resources and no time, you can’t make mu-Devin Greaney Myla’s gospel and country music also makes her a favorite in Nashville, where she performs in a variety of venues, including The Bluebird Cafe. Marketing is one of her challenges, but her M.B.A. from the University of Memphis helps her manage the business side of music. Thanks to her other career in accounting, Myla has “the luxury to do what I want to do. I would feel very guilty if I were not making music.” JULY 2011 MEMPHIS DOWNTOWNER 15 Brenda Mills

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