Thriving With: Joanna Yu of Humm.ly
If you know us, you know that we LOVE music. There are so many parts to a song, from the lyrics to the production, and we’re able to tie so many songs to certain memories. We even have certain playlists to convey a feeling like our “Calm Down” one that we play when we’re feeling stressed. Music can be so incredibly healing and it’s right at our fingertips.
Humm.ly is the first and only app to provide content created by board-certified music therapists that can be used for mood enhancement, for anxiety and stress relief, and as a sleep aid. We recently spoke with the founder, Joanna Yu, about her journey to starting the app and her best tips for entrepreneurs. Learn all about it below:
Sabine & Carine: Tell us about what led you to Humm.ly. When did you first feel inspired to create it?
Joanna Yu: The first time I came across the idea was when I witnessed amazing healing power music had with my Alzheimer's patients two years ago. I was doing my practicum for a music therapy master's degree. [My patients] were able to reorientate and become more mobile during the music therapy sessions. It can also help with sleeping problems and anxiety around public speaking.
S & C: How did your time at University of the Pacific, studying music therapy, help you in launching the app?
JY: I actually dropped out after the workload became way too heavy after couple of months. I realized that time I needed more focused time for my venture.
S & C: Did you have any fears in making your decision to drop out of the University of the Pacific?
JY: No, at the time I didn’t feel any fear but looking back I can see how it was a very risky move. I was so determined to build a successful product and I didn’t even think about all the possible consequences of dropping out.
S & C: Did you always know you wanted to do this? If not what did you originally envision for your life and when did that change?
JY: I have always wanted to pursue music. I did acting, singing, and worked at entertainment companies in the past. I am still working towards my mission - impacting people through music at a higher level, and using music for healing; not just for entertainment.
S & C: Where did you even begin when you knew you wanted to pursue the app? (Did you find collaborators? Did you find meditation experts? etc.)
JY: Since I went to a music therapy program, I naturally connected with a great number of board-certified music therapists as well as AMTA (American Music Therapy Association). I was lucky enough to get mentored by the president of the AMTA at that time. The narrator and core producers of Humm.ly right now are my best friends from the Music Therapy Program.
S & C: What do you most want people to experience when they use Humm.ly?
JY: It is Humm.ly's dream to see that anyone who uses our app can achieve positive responses from body and mind, and get to the state they want to be as a result. I am heavily involved in the entire production process, so I probably listen to each track at least five times. Every time I listen, I feel rewarded and proud of how much potential this has in impacting other people's lives.
S & C: Outside of the app what are other ways you practice self-care?
JY: I go hiking, go to church, and snuggled with my cat. When I feel overwhelmed, I try to calm my thoughts and let my sensitivity speak to me so that I won’t act on my emotions.
S & C: Do you have a go-to affirmation? If so, share why it's so important to you.
JY: "I love myself unconditionally." It is simple and most effective for me to boost confidence immediately. It encourages me to reach my health goals, career goals through doing good things to myself. Self-compassion may be the key motivation.
S & C: What's your best piece of advice for people looking to start their own company?
JY: Tenacity is key to the success of a company. It might not turn out the way you envisioned it would be, but at least you will try everything and your best to achieve it.
S & C: What helps you thrive in your career?
JY: Truly putting in faith in the things I do.