The Heroine’s Journey of Toni Jannotta

What is the best thing that I love about my work? I think what I love best about my work is the connection I feel with a greater authority, as if I am simply there to honor what is blowing through me.  It makes me feel loved and lighter than air.  And it brings
me peace.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? Perfect happiness to me is when we are all so busy helping each other that everything on earth is easy.

What is my greatest fear? My greatest fear is the belief that I haven’t done enough yet.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? The trait I most deplore in myself is my lack of confidence.  It comes and goes but it always returns.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire? I have great admiration for Bobby McFerrin, Chick Corea, Annie Ross, Dave Grusin.

What is my greatest extravagance? I haven’t had much time or money for extravagances in the last four years because I have been writing and producing a project.  But if I were to dream, I would buy great wine and throw lavish dinner parties where I make all the food.

On what occasion would I lie? When it comes to saying “no” to someone I don’t want to hurt, I might lie about why I’m saying no.  I’ve also been known to embellish the truth when I’m feeling competitive.  I always feel idiotic afterward.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? What I dislike the most about my work is promoting it.  After the song has been written or the session has been produced, now I must take the project and promote it.  I really can’t stand this part but it is every bit as important as the work itself, so I have to do it.

When and where was I the happiest in my work? I was the happiest in my work very recently, when I performed my new project in front of an audience and got a standing ovation.  I had it videotaped so I was awfully glad I liked it.

Here it is:

If I could, what would I change about myself? First of all, I would be taller.  Next I would be smarter.  I would have an easier time with music theory.  I would understand difficult concepts, like things you find in math or physics or science.  Yes, I would be
taller and I would be smarter.

What is my greatest achievement in work? I think my recent project is my greatest achievement.  It is a storybook of healing for adults and kids and it comes with music.  I wrote the story rhyme and the musical suite.  My goal is to remind those who have suffered at the hands of another that #itwasneveryourfault.  I am very proud of this project.  I hope it helps people.  Here it is:

Where would I most like to live? Hawaii.  I have been there three times and every time the humid breezes hit my skin, I am in heaven.  Every time I jumped in Hawaii’s ocean, I
felt healed.  I love how I feel in Hawaii.

What is my most treasured possession? My violin.  I am not a very good player but it was my first musical instrument.  I am a far better singer.  I am a far better writer.  But my violin came first and, like a first love, my violin will always be special
to me.  And even though it is a low cost school violin, I know I will own it forever.

What is my most marked characteristic? I never give up.  It is a blessing and a curse.  Like a dog to a bone, even when I am quiet in my pursuit, I will never give up on something I love.

What is my most inspirational location in my city? There is a park on the side of the hills in Ventura, California, called Cemetery Park.  People take their dogs there.  It gets its name from gravestones going back to the 1700’s.  But what is inspirational about
Cemetery Park is the 120 degree view you get of the Channel Islands from anywhere in the park.  It’s magical.

What is my favorite place to eat and drink in my city? There are too many favorite places to eat and drink in Ventura/Santa Barbara to come up with just one.  So many vineyards are within an hour of where I live.  But often, my favorite place to eat and drink is at home .. . because I love to cook.

What books influenced my life and how? My all-time favorite book is “Wuthering Heights” because of its deep passion and its enduring and imperfect love story.  A book, which was not at all fun to read but very informative, was “This Business of Music.”  It
is a must-read for anybody trying to make money in the music business, especially if they write and want to understand (to the best of their ability) Copyright Law.

Who are my favorite writers? Composers: Chick Corea and Dave Grusin.  Novelist: John Grisham.

You Only Die Once.  What music would I listen on my last day? “Windows” by Chick Corea because it is a waltz (I love everything written in three, especially jazz waltzes).  It would lull me to sleep while I envisioned where I might be going.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? I loved the cartoon team of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties.  They were heros on so many levels.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? Pat McLean and Scott Campbell, both of Ventura, California.  Pat founded Family to Family, an organization that feeds the homeless and hungry in my city, and Scott runs one of the many groups that serve lunches through this foundation.

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime? Well, this movie might not work for everyone but if you are a dancer as I am, then I highly recommend “The Red Shoes” starring Moira Shearer, the movie adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale.

What role does art play in my life and work? Art plays all the roles in my life.  It is everywhere.  I see art in my vegetable garden, in my home, when I look out at the sky.  It is what I rely on.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? I’m not sure I have a greatest fan.  I am a sole practitioner so that takes care of the partnership part.  And, other than one excursion into crowd funding, there is no sponsor.  But I have wonderful friends and from time to time, they have offered a supportive ear when I’ve needed to talk, or an authoritative voice when I’ve needed advice.

Whom would I like to work with in 2018? Ernie Watts is on my first vocal jazz album.  I’d love to work with Ernie again.  I’d love to work with Scheila Gonzalez, another amazing saxophonist.  I’m going to work with a killer keyboard player in January.
I can’t wait for that.  His name is Mahesh Balasooyia.  These guys are all so good and they make me work so hard.  They also help me attain that feeling of flight.

Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2018? Well, I’d love to meet Chick Corea.  I’d love to meet Bobby McFerrin.  I am a little worried, though, that I might turn into a geek if I do.  When I met my hero, Annie Ross, I almost started crying.  She asked me if I was OK because I couldn’t put my words together.  It was so embarrassing.

What project, in 2018, am I looking forward to working on? 2018 is the year that I will be hitting the ground hard with promotion for “My Little Heart, Ruthie.”  I released this book / album project in October 2017, but 2018 will be the toughest year.  It will be a full court press because I will submit for a Grammy nomination for my musical suite.

Where can you see me or my work in 2018?

OK, here come the links.  Here is the landing page to my website:

Here is where you can listen to snippets of my vocal jazz recordings:

This is where I have my performance schedule:

If you’re at all interested in my documentary where jazz improvisers
helped the homeless, you can watch it here:

And again, this is the page for “My Little Heart, Ruthie” my current project:

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? Passion Never Retires means that it’s OK that I am not the retiring type. I don’t think we decide to have passion.  Passion decides to have us.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?

Seay Delgado Harshaw
Kathy Sanborn

How can you contact me?

Here follows a message of Peter de Kuster, founder of The Heroine’s Journey 

Spring Journey

eatpraylovebigstill (2)Wednesday 14th March – Sunday 18th March

The best of The Heroine’s Journey condensed into a single, unforgettable week.

The Heroine’s Journey is a global organisation dedicated to teaching skills not covered by the regular education system – skills that develop storytelling intelligence and encourage psychological well-being for creative professionals.  The Spring Journey brings together the very best in our storytelling.

We will cover such themes as how to make money doing what you love, how to promote your business, which is you, how to choose our partners more wisely, how to make relationships last, how to find and create your dreamjob by meeting your rolemodels and making testdrives, how to manage your time and organize yourself creativitely, how to focus on our creative goals, how to have the financial freedom to create and how to more regularly experience creative flow and happiness.

You’ll embark on a rich and enlightening voyage, discovering how to make lasting, meaningful change across every aspect of your creative life. By working within a fixed group led by Peter de Kuster over the week, you’ll dive deeper than would be possible in any single daytrip. You’ll be challenged to think deeply about the issues that matter most, and provided with a space to share your thoughts, ideas and experiences.

The Journey is ideal for those seeking a more meaningful, transformative vacation; for attendees of our daytrips who now wish to take a structured journey through our expertly curated material; and for those wishing to save time in the long run by working through the dilemmas of creative life, business, passion, and your own story in a single, high intensity week.

Blending tuition, exercises, meeting with stories of rolemodels, and discussion in journeys in a world city, each day of the Spring Journey will equip you with tools and strategies to help you find answers for your creative life’s big questions.

Join us for a truly transformational vacation for the mind in Rome

Ticket costs Euro 1250 excluding VAT per person, includes all teaching, materials, light refreshments & additional activities.

You can reach Peter for a skype meeting about questions you have by mailing him at 


09.40    Tea & Coffee on arrival

10.00     Morning Session

13.00     Lunch Break

14.00     Afternoon Session

17.00     Drinks

Read on for a detailed breakdown of the Spring Journey itinerary.

“You are the Storyteller of Your Own Creative Life. You can Create Your Own Legend – Or Not” – Peter de Kuster

EatPrayLove1 (2)

Spring Journey Itinerary

Day One: The first day of the Spring Journey is designed to equip us with the core skills of The Heroine’s Journey and Storytelling. We will learn the power of the story we tell ourselves, why our minds have a hard time understanding themselves, how to map and understand our passions, and how and why we characteristically respond to them.

Day Two: The second day of the Spring Journey takes us on a structured journey around the power of your story as creative professional.  Creative flow is always in essence a mental phenomenon, it is a result of ideas- and a story you tell yourself therefore relies on having to hand a raft of enriching stories about your business, your money management, your self promotion and your time management that can be called upon in moments of truth. The day begins with a Heroine’s Journey Breakfast – considering what three of the greatest creative heroines of all time have as story about the art of creative living wisely and well.

Day Three: The third day of the Spring Journey teaches us how to choose our clients and business partners wisely and make our relationships last. One of the gravest errors we make around business relationships is to imagine that they aren’t things we can get wiser or better at. On this day we will learn to practise and rehearse our skills at working with the people who can help you further your creative business (clients and business partners like agents, publishers, marketing professionals etcera). In the evening, we will attend a Storytelling Dinner in a local restaurant – learning to overturn small talk and master the art of opening up our deepest stories.

Day Four: The fourth day of the Spring Journey teaches us how to achieve our creative career potential. We will employ storytelling tools to be better able to understand our creative talents and to move forward using the opportunities that are open to us.

Day Five: The final day of the Spring Journey explores new business opportunities and markets for you to as creative professional. Many of the challenges we encounter in modern life require us to develop creative solutions to complex problems. And even when we’re not tackling big problems, continuously improving the way we live using invention and imaginative strategy is deeply important.

You can reach Peter for a skype meeting about questions you have by mailing him at 


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