Monday, October 6, 2014

The College Experience with Asha Sing

>> >>  Hello, all! Let's keep this experience sharing going, shall we? In case you're wondering what this feature is for, here's a brief explanation of what I'm after:  The College Experience is my way of discussing the pros and cons of taking steps to have a career while still being a student, or how the desire to be involved with the music industry could interfere with the pursuit of a degree.  I'll be asking a selection of folks the same basic questions regarding their school, their role in the industry, their struggles, and their goals.  I'll also ask about each person's individual projects, whether they are photographers, musicians, aspiring publicists, writers, promoters, and the like. I think it'll be interesting to see how each of us deals with the difficulties of balancing  and prioritizing the various obstacles we face as students with big ambitions.

>> For the most part, The College Experience has dealt with writers, photographers, and the like, and I'm particularly excited to finally discuss the experience of being a musician while also being a student.  Today's feature highlights a talented musician by the name of Asha Sing.  You can view her latest video for "Satellite" below, then get to know the artist behind the song.

Please state your name, age, what school you attended, and what year you graduated.
Asha Sing , University of Miami, Graduated in 2013

When and how did you first get involved with the music scene?
I grew up in a very musical family. I first started really understanding and getting involved in the entertainment industry when I competed at the Amateur Night Talent Contest hosted at the famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY. I was crowned a winner and signed to the Carson Adler Agency the next day.

What was it like to first really get involved in the industry through winning a talent contest at the Apollo Theater? How was your reaction to really starting your career that way?
I didn't really understand what was going on at the time and I definitely didn't understand what a big deal it was. I was 16 years old when I competed. It was probably during my sophomore year of college, I really started to get the significance of the accomplishment and appreciate the benefits of what had happened through signing with the Carson Adler Agency.

Do you find that you have more or less free time generally now that you’ve graduated?
I definitely have a lot more free time to think and plan now that I'm out of school. I am able to put a lot more thought into my sets and vision for my shows.

What experiences have you had so far in the industry?
Too many to even name. I have interned with entertainment lawyer, Charlotte Towne, the Florida Chapter of the Recording Academy, Top 40 radio station Power 96, publishing company EMI CMG and professional theater company The Mosaic Theater.

When I wasn't interning, I was performing or working on writing projects. One of my most memorable performances was being a back-up singer and dancer for Shakira. She has had a huge influence on my music and incorporating my Indian culture into my sound. I made my first cut as a songwriter awhile back when Daddy Yankee put a song I wrote called "Lose Control" on his album. The song went on to be featured on MTV and VH1.

It seems as though you purposefully interned in all different sections of the music biz. How did those well-rounded experiences help you as an up-and-coming musician?
Absolutely. I wanted to be able to understand the different parts on the entertainment industry, develop contacts in each part and also figure out if I liked anything in particular. I learned that I really enjoyed my radio internship the most.

What was it like getting to perform with Shakira? How did that opportunity come about, and how did that factor in with your school work?
Performing with Shakira was life-changing for me. It helped me realize that I wanted to include my culture into my artistry the way Shakira did in her music. I received the opportunity through a friend at UM. Univision was looking for back-up singers and dancers. They didn't mention it was for Shakira, only that is was a paid gig. As a broke college student, the opportunity was tempting and I went from it. I didn't know I was performing for Shakira till the day before where we met and rehearsed with her. It didn't really affect my school work as it was only one performance.

Describe the feeling you had when you first heard a song you wrote on MTV & VH1. How did you react to not only being able to write a song for a successful artist, but to then see that song become successful in its own right?
I felt satisfied. I get a different feeling of accomplishment for my songwriting than I do when I'm performing. Songwriting is a much longer process and a lot of time and thought is put into creating a song so to see companies like MTV and VH1 choose something I wrote for a show they program was really gratifying and made me feel like I was on the right path.

Being actively involved in the music industry, how often were you tempted to skip class or put off an assignment in order to attend or play a show?
Temptation varied haha. Sometimes I would really get into a vibe during a writing session and I wouldn't want to stop. What if I couldn't get back into that magic place after class? What if this is a song that has a huge amount of potential? I was lucky enough to major in music so a lot of my assignments revolved around the projects I was already working on. Its tough to balance school work and your artistry but If you want to succeed at both (which I wanted) then you'll find a way.

Have you ever arranged your schedule based on music related obligations? 
Music related obligations are the story of my life. Even now, my schedule is constantly revolving around when my engineer or guitarist are available, when we can rehearse, when we can record etc. I have been in the position of school conflicting with music but if it was a music opportunity that I couldn't miss, I would just work it out with my teachers. Attending a music school had its perks especially when it came to performing. My teachers were really understanding of our music obligations.

What was one of the biggest obstacles you've faced while trying to progress your career while still in school? Did you face many tough obstacles like that, or did being in school help you take those next steps?
School overall helped me take the steps I needed to to launch my music. I didn't think so at the time but the network I developed there helped me tremendously.

How did being in college help you advance your involvement in the music industry? Do you think it's been beneficial to start your career / path in the music industry while you're still in school?
My college degree has helped me tremendously. The first benefit of pursuing a college degree were all of the internships. I met my producer and made my first cut as a songwriter through an internship. The second benefit of a college degree is of course getting a job. I work as a Promotions Coordinator for WHYI Y100, iHeart Media - one of the most powerful Radio/Media Companies in America.

What have you been up to since graduation?
After graduation I took 6 months off to release my debut single "Mercy" which landed at the no. 7 spot on Billboard's Hot Single Sales. I have just released my second single 'Satellite' which you can stream here and will be embarking on my first US Tour.

What are you most looking forward to with your upcoming (and first) US tour?
I am really excited to connect with fans on a more intimate level. During this tour, I speak to kids about my experiences, perform, do a Q&A, and meet each kid and take a picture with them, talk to them etc. It's much more intimate than a normal 15-30 minute set.

What would you say to someone debating how to pursue a career in the industry while still in school? 
If you can balance it, DO IT. If you can't balance a job, you have to intern. You just have to. The opportunities that have come out of interning have been life changing for me.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I'm really looking to collab and meet new artists so make sure to hit me up!

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