Currently: In the comfort of my Spanish apartment
I really had high hopes of blogging more often, but this year has been so crazy. In a good way! Since I’ve last posted an update, I’ve traveled to Scotland, got hired at (what I consider to be) my first real adult job, finished my first semester at Berklee, wrote a song that I LOVE, put on my first holiday concert as a music teacher, spent Christmas with my family in Valencia, road tripped around Spain, and cut my hair short! Yeah, that last one was big for me. So, no I haven’t had a lot of time to sit down and write about it.
But I’m trying something new. Getting my priorities straight. So! I am challenging myself to spend 5 minutes a day devoted to my blog. Yes, that means it’s going to be a really slow process but in the past week, I’ve made more progress than ever before. So in lieu of that… here’s an update on what’s going on over here on my end.
I have completed my first semester at Berklee! I never thought I would ever say that. Not that I didn’t think I would make it through but that never in a million years would I predict that I would be a student at Berklee College of Music, much less in Spain. I remember about a year and half ago just tossing around the idea to my mom and my aunt as just something crazy that MAYBE I would apply for.
In my first semester, I wrote so much music. I can’t believe how much music I’ve written. Most of it, not so good. But that’s not the point. It feels so good to allow my musical creativity to flow, something I really didn’t have time for in the last four years of undergrad.
The new software I’ve learned along with the collaborations I’ve been doing and the techniques I’ve acquired have totally transformed my music. But it hasn’t been that easy. Some days are good days, where the music just flows out of me and it’s amazing and I can’t look away for hours before I finish creating. Other days, are frustrating, where nothing works and I feel like I’m going backwards. But I never get discouraged enough to stop trying.
I’m in this transition period, going from completely acoustic songwriting to producing entire acoustic/electronic tracks on Ableton Live. I’ve shifted my method of songwriting completely. And with each song, I get a little closer and closer to where I want my music to be. The very last song of the semester, which I wrote for one of my final projects, was a huge step for me. I actually hated writing the song. I had come up with this amazing intro and some good production, but then I had no idea what to do after that. It was a new sound for me and it kind of made me stop in my tracks. But, seeing as the project was due two days after I had finished the production and I hadn’t even recorded vocals yet, I really needed to push through and write some lyrics.
So I stayed up late writing a melody and woke up extra early the next day to finish up the lyrics. Later that day I recorded the vocals and the next day I submitted the project. That’s kind of my style.. unfortunately. I cut it really close to the deadline but with something that’s really good. But because I was so rushed to finish this song, I wasn’t really thinking about the fact that it was actually sounding really good.
When I finally sat back in class and listened to it played over the speaker, I felt like I was on to something. I was finally getting into this new groove. That song, along with four others are going to make up my second EP that will be out summer 2018.
It’s going to be written, produced, and recorded by myself with help from my colleagues as co-producers and engineers. As of right now, I am fusing elements of soul and electronics into my music to create a more developed original sound and, in turn, to shape my voice as an artist. It’s really difficult to describe the direction I’m going in with this EP. In reality, I know exactly what I want it to sound like. But I don’t think I’m ready to say it out loud quite yet. However, I’m really excited to share sneak peaks of what I’m working on along the way. So stayed tuned to my Facebook artist page or to my Instagram!
Another huge thing that has happened recently is that I have been hired for my first real adult job, which I’ve been working at since November. Back in August, before classes began, I interviewed for a few on-campus positions. I was really hoping I would be chosen for one, since I had no idea how I would possibly find any other type of work while I am here. But unfortunately, I wasn’t granted any of the positions, and I was really lost as to what to do to make money. I haven’t been without a job for a decade probably.
But one day I was scrolling through, looking at job postings, and there it was. “Native English speaker needed to teach music at Valencia Montessori school. Application due at midnight.” I could not believe this miracle. So I had my application in by midnight on Wednesday, was called into an interview on Friday, and had the job by Monday.
So as much as I was upset that I wasn’t granted one of the on-campus positions, it’s almost like that happened in order to leave room for this amazing opportunity that I have stumbled upon. Life has a funny way of working itself out sometimes.
And you’re probably wondering about this language barrier thing, because, no, I am not fluent yet. Not even remotely close. The school is an English school. Yet, at least 60% of the students are Spanish and their level of English varies WIDELY. I was a little surprised, to say the least, when I went in to teach on my first day and got the feeling that most of the students only understood half of what I was saying, if even. Luckily though, we do more music making than talking in my class.
As of right now, the biggest things I’m focusing on are writing songs for my EP and figuring out my plans for next year. There’s definitely a strong possibility that I’m going to stay in Valencia just one more year. However, it hasn't been the easiest decision to make. Being away from home isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. On the one hand, I am living my dream. On the other hand, I’ve never really known being away from my family until now. Missing them is the hardest thing about living in another country, but what’s worse is the thought that they’re missing me. This is all to say that I am so incredibly blessed, to have an amazing family that misses me AND to be living out this dream. Really, how can I complain?
Sometimes it doesn’t even feel real. Looking back on photos, it feels like a lifetime since I walked across the stage and received my diploma just less than a year ago. But, what an adventure this past year has been?
Writing, writing, writing
Producing, producing, producing
Recording, recording, recording
Late nights in the studio