What inspired you to sing?
I actually moved here sophomore year, but I began singing only my freshman year really. I was doing musicals throughout middle school. That’s where I really started gaining an interest because musicals are awesome. I loved playing this whole other different character. I actually played the saxophone for nine years, and I actually started in grade school. But then I had two friends that introduced me to singing, which was great. I was in two different choirs in my old school, and I loved it. Then I moved here and I kept singing.
Have you had any struggles in terms of finding your place in music?
I had personal struggles in sophomore year, and it set me back so much, so I wish I could take back that time. I wish I had that time to improve more as a musician. I wish I had seen past that time in my life and thrown myself back into music, but at that time I felt like nothing could help. When I got back into [music], I realized that this is what keeps me going. This is what distracts me from anything bad that’s happening and helps me through that. Honestly, I’ve changed so much since sophomore year and I’m such a happy person now. I’m just so happy with how things are going and how I’ve built myself back up from that kind of dark place in my life. I know I’m making it sound kind of dramatic, but I think everyone goes through those kinds of struggles where you’re trying to find out who you are and … when your surrounding environment isn’t supportive of that. Music helped me so much to improve in singing and acting. I just want to talk about [Patricia] Wray, because I had her during sophomore year for drama, and that’s how I got into the musical theater program. She was such a help for me to break out of my shell of being a person who is upset with how everything was. By being in her drama class, I opened up and became that kind of happy person that I was in freshman year … Now I’m in musical theater, and she’s the only teacher I’ve been with [the past three years]. She’s someone I couldn’t be more thankful for to have in my life and she’s been such a great inspiration to me. Acting in her classes, and being in musical theater, was helpful for me to understand how I want to act in the world and how I want to go about my future. If anything, the choir directors, Ms. Wray, and Mr. Bongiovi altogether have helped me come back to the happy person that I was … They’ve meant so much to me, as mentors and teachers.
How would you summarize your musical experiences over the last few years, and what advice would you give to someone following your steps?
All of these experiences have had such an impact on my life, and given me such joy and happiness. Having a passion for something and pursuing it is the best thing that you can do in life. Nothing can stop you from having something you work for and want. The best kind of thing is to have that kind of focus in life. No matter what you do in life, whether it be physics or math, history or English, or [any kind of subject] … the amount of dedication that you have to put in teaches you how hard you should work in life. And how you should live in every moment and put every ounce of focus and effort in that moment. If you’re going to do something, then you have to do it with everything you’ve got.