Through The Lens is our weekly series where we highlight current students and faculty, capture them on campus and ask them about their inspirations, advice and beyond.

Describe the moment/s when you knew that you wanted to study music further.

I auditioned for two shows at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater in the Fall of 2015: West Side Story and The Addams Family. When I got the call from the casting director letting me know I was cast in both productions, with a lead role in The Addams Family, I was ecstatic! There was fierce competition at the callbacks, so I felt extremely blessed to have been given the opportunity to play a lead, being a newcomer to the theater community. Spending the next 6 months rehearsing and performing two completely different shows, made me realize that THIS is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life: Entertain!

Which artist, band or composer would you most want to meet and collaborate with? Why?

There’s no hesitation, Lady GaGa! She has been the greatest musical influence to me throughout my adult years, and has helped me channel my passion for theatrics into every aspect of my performance. She has always stood out from other performers because she gives every piece of energy she has to her performances. She always sings live. She does not take her fame for granted, and uses her position of power to inspire, and educate! She has been a huge advocate of Equal Rights, and doesn’t just talk the talk, she shows up! Her music never ceases to surprise me, and I’d love to know what inspires her!

If there is one piece of advice that you could give to other vocal students, what would it be?

Don’t compare your achievements/failures with other people; everyone has a different journey to success! Failing is inevitable [and] learning how to continuously get back up again is what makes a great musician. I make it a point to only be in competition with myself!

What the most important lesson you’ve learned at MI so far? What has surprised you the most about MI?

a. I have learned that I hold myself back constantly. Many of the obstacles I create for myself are just excuses or fears. I’m still working to get better, but I’ve learned that I will only get as far as I’m willing to work!

b. Being a Recording Artist is not my only option. I have been most surprised by my teachers at MI. Every single one has different skills, and each one of them has harnessed those skills into 3-4 jobs outside of school. They have all worked for years to get where they are today, and it has surprised me to see just how many different ways there are to make money as a musician.

Where do you find the inspiration to pick up your instrument /practice everyday?

Honestly, some days it’s hard. There are many days that I lack the inspiration, but I remind myself daily that successful musicians don’t wait for inspiration. There are many days that I won’t feel like singing or practicing, but I still do it because I need to be successful. I am choosing to do this as my job, and just like other jobs, not every day is going to be a positive one. I have sacrificed too much in my life and come too far to take my education for granted! I encourage other vocalists to practice today… because tomorrow you may lose an opportunity you weren’t prepared for!