My mother was a pianist and my first piano teacher. I sang as a child, took a break right around adolescence when my voice dropped, and I began singing again in rock bands when I was 15 or 16. After some classical training I realized how much I enjoyed singing classical music, and at CalArts, decided to focus on that aspect of my practice. What drew me to the school was that I could do multiple things at once here, and wouldn’t have to specialize.
CalArts is a great place for people that are self-motivated, have strong ideas and want a place to workshop them and bounce them off other people. You receive criticism from many points of view because there’s so much going on here, which is a really wonderful thing. You can run the gamut from pop music to experimental doom metal to purely classical. There are always things to learn from different kinds of music and I think that’s something that we’re experiencing especially strongly in the 21st century: that classical music isn’t the “end all be all” of performance practice, of compositional practice—same for pop music, jazz—or any other kind of music. We can learn from all of them, and I think CalArts does a great job of encouraging students to do so.