Andrew Goren is a 20-year-old entrepreneur from Montclair who has created a unique app, just launched in October, that helps performers in the musical theater industry. A theater performer himself, Goren developed a solution to a problem he saw first-hand in the industry.
Johnathan Grzybowski interviewed Goren, who since the app’s launch has been featured in several industry publications, including an article in Playbill.com, about how Broadway performer Rob McClure helped him develop the app and was its first user. The app was also vetted at the Paper Mill Playhouse (Millburn).
How did you start the company?
The idea for Harmony Helper first came about when I was 13 years old. My background is in theatre, and when I was younger, I performed in local shows across New Jersey. When I was 13, I booked my first professional show at the Walnut Street Theatre [Philadelphia]. I learned I would be opening the show singing harmony with someone else. In the rehearsal process, I was on stage right and the other person was on stage left. When we began the final rehearsal before the show and added music and tech, I could hear the other person singing for the first time and I completely fell apart. It was like I had forgotten how to sing. As a performer, this was an embarrassing moment, to say the least. From there, I searched and searched for a solution on the market that would help teach me how to sing harmonies, but I couldn’t find anything. After I realized there wasn’t a solution to help me and other singers address this major challenge, I set out and started to create the framework for Harmony Helper.
When I was about 16 years old, I met with seasoned technologists, music directors, well-respected entrepreneurs and music experts to put this idea into motion. By partnering with a talented group of individuals, I was able to bring my vision to life and start helping singers across the world. Now, we are fully launched in the marketplace and are looking forward to continued success in the future.
What funds did you have to start with?
We are a privately funded company and do not disclose financials. However, what I can say is that we have a healthy amount of funding and are not currently seeking outside investment.
What does your company do?
We help singers of all skill levels up-level their next performance. Whether they are preparing for a professional show or their first rehearsal with a show choir, we have them covered. Our goal at Harmony Helper is to help any singer feel confident and prepared before their next rehearsal or performance. In an industry where singers have little to no control, we are filling the void by putting that control back into the singer’s hands.
Our app is complete with patented layered technologies that mimic a live rehearsal experience. Users can simply snap a photo of any piece of sheet music, practice and record their part of a song, get real-time feedback, and make adjustments accordingly.
How does your tech help others?
As I alluded to previously, Harmony Helper allows singers of all levels to practice any song anytime, anywhere. This removes a significant challenge that many singers across the world face. Typically, singers are restricted to the amount of time they must practice and learn a new song before a rehearsal or performance. They may be told by the music director to learn a new piece of music within less than 24 hours. If that singer doesn’t know how to read sheet music, which more often than not this is the case, they will need to find an accompanist, schedule an appointment, and hope they have time to squeeze them in to practice the song. This leaves the singer with countless hours of waiting and less time is spent practicing the song they need to learn.
With Harmony Helper, we are removing all of the barriers singers often face. Aspiring singers that can’t afford to hire personal singing coaches and rehearsal rooms can now utilize this effective low-cost tool to practice and perform to the best of their abilities. The economical and convenient access to effective rehearsal time and valuable feedback affords all singers the advantages of game-changing rehearsals.
Give us a case study on how your business has helped someone:
During the developmental phase of the app, we worked closely with the Paper Mill Playhouse, a New Jersey-based not-for-profit arts organization that enriches the national theater community. Students from the Paper Mill Playhouse Summer Conservatory — a rigorous program designed to help talented performers enhance their skills on the stage — tested the app over a five-week period to prepare for their final show. They leveraged features within the app like real-time feedback and vocal part isolation to learn new songs quickly and perfect their pitch. Throughout the program and after, we received overwhelmingly positive feedback. In particular, the music director of the program reached out to our team and said the app helped her students learn their music quickly and effectively before walking into the rehearsal process. We’re pleased to have had the opportunity to work with such a talented group of performers.
What is your strategy to scale your business?
Our strategy as a B2C company is to continue to stay in close contact with every branch of the singing community, and integrate features into the app that will make a lasting impact. It’s important for us to ensure that we are delivering quality and enriching experiences for each customer that interacts with our app. In the future, we would like to expand our services to reach singers in different countries across the world and add additional capabilities that automate some components of the rehearsal process.
How do you plan on acquiring your initial customer base?
We are working to acquire our initial customer base, which breaks down into a few different categories. Currently, we are targeting Broadway singers, opera singers, theater performers, and solo singers. Within the next year, we will be launching Harmony Helper for groups, and our customer base will open up to choral and singing groups. This feature allows music directors to easily upload music and share it with their groups to streamline the rehearsal process. It saves time for the performer and the music director.
How did you obtain your 20,000 downloads?
Our 20,000 downloads in preview mode can be attributed to our strong relationship with the singing community. We have been in contact with different members of the community from the start to identify specific pain points and create a solution. For the past few years, we’ve also had a strong presence at industry conferences, where our team has networked with important and influential members in the community. In particular, our presence at BroadwayCon, a three-day expo focused on Broadway stars and trends, has helped us gain exposure among a specific section of the singing community.
How can the NJ Tech Weekly community help you?
The New Jersey Tech Weekly community can help us by downloading the app, trying it out, and sending feedback our way. We are constantly looking for ways to improve and better address the common challenges singers face.
You can download the app here: