Ever since a young age, I had always wanted to be different from everyone else. Going through middle school and high school, most kids probably just wanted to blend in like everyone else, but I had a different mindset. It’s not that I tried to be different; I just was, and I liked to be known for it. I dressed a bit differently, never following whatever fashion trends were going on at the time. I had different interests and hobbies than most and enjoyed sharing that information with others. I always liked to blurt out all the things I didn’t like doing, especially when they were things that most others liked. This was how I identified myself as a young teen. Although I have grown up into a different person than who I was back then, I’ve noticed that throughout my life, I’ve still always gravitated towards things that are unique or uncommon, and that quality has especially followed me into my music.
Throughout high school I started fitting into more social norms, but still felt different than everyone else on the inside. I’ve always been the kind of person who’s very sure of themselves, having direction and purpose in life, which is something that not a lot of high school kids seem to have. One of the biggest things that has given me that direction in life is music. Music has always been something I did purely out of my love for it. Music has constantly pushed me to work towards my goals, and most importantly has given me a language that I am able to express myself with in all of my entirety.
At the age of 5, I started playing the violin (thanks to the influence of my mom and sister) and learned through the Suzuki method, in which I learned everything by ear up until the age of 10 when I first learned how to read music. I am always very thankful for those 11 years that I played the violin and learned through the Suzuki method, because I now realize that it’s probably one of the biggest things that has helped me to developed my ears the most.
Upon entering middle school, it was my first time joining a concert band, which meant I was going to be adventurous and learn a new instrument. Going into it, I thought that I would play the drums, and had even gotten a drum set from my parents the previous Christmas. During the first couple weeks of band, I had the opportunity to try out all the different instruments, and the flute just happened to be the only one that I could easily make a decent sound on. I still had percussion listed as my first choice, however, I changed my mind and switched to flute at the last minute. All I can say is- I’m really glad I did! It’s interesting though, because I once told that story to a friend, they seemed to think that I initially gravitated towards percussion because I have a great sense of rhythm with my flute playing!
The longer I played the flute, the more my passion grew, and the more I excelled at it. I took part in a handful of competitions throughout middle and high school, consistently earning superior ratings and placing high in scholarship competitions each year. One of my biggest accomplishments as a classical flutist to this day was being a winner of the local youth orchestra’s concerto competition during my senior year of high school. There may have been a monetary award, but all I remember was getting to perform Cecile Chaminade’s “Concertino,” accompanied by the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra in front of an audience of about a thousand people. It was one of the happiest and most exciting moments of my life. One of the most fulfilling feelings in life is and always will be having the opportunity to share music and touch people’s hearts with it.
During high school, I always thought that I wanted to have a career as a classical flutist. However, I changed my mind over the course of the years that were to follow. After high school, I took a gap year to study at Interlochen Arts Academy in their Post-Graduate program. Although I had already been accepted into Berklee before going to Interlochen, Interlochen was also one of my dream schools, and that year was my last opportunity to attend. It ended up being one of the most musically enriching experiences of my life. During that year, I studied classical flute intensively and took voice lessons on the side. I also decided to branch out and take a beginning jazz improvisation class. This wasn’t my first time being exposed to jazz, as I had played the trumpet along with many flute solos in my high school jazz band for three years prior to Interlochen. However, this was my first formal training with jazz. By the end of the school year at Interlochen, I had completely changed my original objective, going from being a classical flutist to wanting to become a not only a jazz flutist, but also a versatile player in many different contemporary styles. Berklee has been the perfect musical environment for me, and I’ve grown to become much more musically diverse since my first semester here. Over the past several years, I’ve been experimenting with my loop pedal and have been creating many “flute loops,” as I like to call them. This has also opened up a fun and interesting avenue that I plan on developing over the years to come.
Another big musical aspect of my life was when I first picked up my sister’s old guitar and began to write songs around the start of high school. Singing had also been a passion of mine throughout my life, so it went hand in hand with my songwriting. I grew up living on the southwest coast of Florida, with photography as one of my hobbies, so my lyrics (and photos) have always been very influenced and inspired by nature- especially the ocean. High school was a whirlwind of new emotionally charged experiences and growing pains, and a lot of very poetic lyrics were written during this time in my life. I was always drawing inspiration from my experiences and connecting them with metaphors that revolved around nature. Songwriting has always been more than a hobby for me. I see it as catharsis of the soul. Expressing my deepest thoughts and emotions through a song is like medicine to me. It helped me make sense of my life throughout high school and was sort of like a best friend that was always there to hold my hand and pick me back up whenever I fell down. My love for songwriting has only grown since. I originally started out mostly writing a lot of indie acoustic/singer songwriter/alternative music, but the more I got into jazz, the more it started to slowly creep its way into my writing, and my music has taken a really unique and positive direction since. For a couple years after high school, some of my music had evolved into a fusion of singer songwriter meets jazz. Now after being more heavily immersed in jazz for a couple years, I have started to write a handful of tunes that are very reminiscent of the 40’s/50’s jazz era, as the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Helen Forrest, Billie Holiday, and Benny Goodman are some of my biggest influences (especially Ella). Since my senior year of high school, I started incorporating flute melodies and harmonies into my music, which I feel has also really taken my music in a unique direction. In fall 2014, I started a jazz duo with a guitarist friend, and by now I’ve expanded to a full rhythm section. It is my biggest dream to someday perform my tunes accompanied by a jazz big band and lend a hand in making swing music more prominent again, but until then, I plan to write, record, and perform as much as possible. Last year I recorded my first EP of jazz originals reminiscent of the 40’s/50’s swing era, and am very excited for its release this spring.
Experience & Education
in Flute performance at Interlochen Arts Academy2012 to 2013 (1 years)