Whitney Coleman's many gifts 

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Indianapolis is lucky to have the talented Whitney Coleman. She's been a basketball star and launched a musical career, all while working on her doctorate.

Coleman combines soul, R&B and jazz to create a sound that is uniquely her own. We've been digging "Free Love," one of her standout songs; it begins with jazz piano and then opens up to hip-hop vocals.

NUVO spoke with Coleman about her inspirations, her interest in music and her advice for musicians who want to break into the business. If ever there were a superwoman, her name would be "Whitney Coleman."

NUVO:You're a talented basketball player, as well as a musician. Have you found any of the lessons you learned in one can relate to the other?

Coleman: It's funny how many things you can get from one sport. I learned leadership, adversity, [and] going through obstacles. It is very interesting all that can actually apply to music. When you are performing, like when you are on a team, just because a teammate doesn't like you doesn't mean you stop playing. It's just like an audience, where I have to figure out ways to make them like me without stepping out of what I know and losing myself. Really, I think the challenges were the best things I could have gotten from basketball.

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NUVO: How did you get interested in piano, jazz and soul?

Coleman: My dad is the one that I want to give a lot of credit to because he was actually a professional musician. My dad was a man of very few words, but music was a way for me to connect with him. We didn't have to say anything.

In high school I tore my first ACL. After I tore my ACL, I had to sit out for the recovery process. During that time, I actually ended up teaching myself how to play the piano. That's when my music started maturing, because I started playing whatever felt good; it was healing.

My dad would listen to the recording [I made] and [say], "Oh my God do you even know what you're playing?" and I would be like "No, it just sounds good."

It wasn't traditional, because I was just playing it by ear, and that's what I get compliments on.

NUVO: What would you say to anyone who wants to pursue a career in music or in entertainment? It's hard to break into the business at all, so what would you recommend for anyone trying?

Coleman: I'd say, be your business. I did my website, I do my own flyers. Don't just expect people to do things for you and don't get mad if not everybody is on your team. I have learned that when I do things myself, they get done the way I want them to. You just have to have the willingness to keep learning things.

Record companies aren't just going to spend a lot of money on someone. They are going to look at your Twitter, they are going to look at your Facebook and see how many fans you have. All those little things that you think might not matter show [record companies that] this person is worth a shot. It's like a package; you need to show people that you are a standout.

What makes you stand out are those little things, like having a nice website. Rock out and enjoy yourself and try to show people you have that energy.

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