10 Realities of Being a Female Musician

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Hope Vista is a musician and senior at Rowan University, guest blogging for CC to give you a glimpse into the world of female musicians. Her new single “It Hurts To Know” comes out next month. Follow Hope here: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

6 classes, an on-campus job as a Student Ambassador, less than a year until that bittersweet graduation day… and an upcoming live show at the legendary Trocadero in Philadelphia?

My name is Hope Vista. Okay, well that’s my stage name. I mean, it’s my real name too, but you can just call me Hope. That’s my first name, and Vista is my middle name (like the computer program, Windows Vista). College has given me plenty of reasons to want to pull my hair out, and while the first semester of my senior year is already inching towards being halfway over, the high levels of stress are nearly impossible to lower. Class, papers, work, extra homework.

Throw in interviews, booking shows, working on new music, and recording, and that’s a normal day in my shoes. So, how on earth am I juggling a music career AND college simultaneously? I must be insane, right? Running myself ragged, waking up at 7:45 to get work done before class, and going to bed at 3 AM after composing a catchy verse or two. Here are 10 realities that come with being a female musician.

1. Getting a full 8 hours of sleep is highly unlikely.

So… I barely sleep, and I love my sleep. I also love keeping a busy schedule, but that’s a double-edged sword, meaning I end up sacrificing a lot of sleep. When my alarm goes off at 7:45 AM each Monday morning, I almost start crying, but then I tell myself out loud that success is worth losing a few hours of sleep. I mean, being tired while I’m doing office hours in the Admissions office can be a little distracting, but it’s all worth it when I’m able to book a new show.

2. Schoolwork usually isn’t your #1 priority, but it should be.

6 classes, 4 days a week, 3 a day. The routine is set in stone, but all I ever want is to work on a musical project instead of listening to a monotonous lecture. Although writing new music and talking to Twitter followers is much more entertaining and enjoyable, focusing on this last year of school and finishing what I started is essential (especially to my parents). Plus, smart is sexy. Ashton Kutcher agrees.

3. A new follower on any social media platform is like an early Christmas present.

New followers and likes mean that someone fresh has been introduced to your little world. It means that you’ve piqued someone’s interest, and that opens a door for you to introduce them to the work you’ve created.

4. Running out of class to quickly record a melody that randomly popped into your head happens a lot.

Just a few weeks ago, my professor was in the middle of a lecture that related to our upcoming midterm. Bored as can be (sorry, professor), I softly hummed a melody to myself, and within a few seconds, I jumped up to leave the classroom mid-Power Point. I speed walked to the bathroom as I repeated the melody over and over again so it wouldn’t be forgotten. I could practically hear the surrounding students thinking, “Who is this messy-haired girl running down the hall singing to herself?” But hey, I got the melody recorded and it turned into the single I’m releasing next month.

5. Hearing, “Are you famous?” gets old.

Famous to me is being on the cover of US Weekly as the controversial topic of interest. Am I famous? I wouldn’t consider myself to be famous at all, no. But do I have a career in the music industry? Yes, and I work hard to maintain it. There’s never a time where I want special treatment just because I have a certain amount of Instagram followers (I’m still not sure why people follow me on there, I’m not that interesting) or played some awesome shows. Say hi to me, talk to me about Demi Lovato, laugh at how I trip on the sidewalk when I’m dashing to the other side of campus.

6. An email from a venue, promoter, journalist, or anyone in the music industry calls for a celebration. With cake.

Every celebration deserves cake, but especially this. A lot of industry professionals don’t respond to emails sent to them by the artist personally. It’s an interesting kind of rejection, but I’ve learned not to view it that way. I send out around 200 emails every week, and the ratio of emails to responses is tremendously skewed. Maybe 2 or 3 of those will get responses. I’ve found that it’s super important to not take this personally; they might just be looking for something in particular. So, I take each response with a small celebration and a huge amount of appreciation… and it gives me an excuse to eat cake.

7. People might not understand why you spend Friday night with a 6 string instead of going out.

If I’m being honest, my freshman year weekends were spent in the middle of a sweaty dance floor until 4 AM. Now that I’m 21 and have those typical “college” experiences under my belt, it’s clear to me that those things aren’t what I want. My career will never be associated with partying or wild behavior, my songs will never promote a crazy lifestyle, and I don’t want to succumb to the dark side. No disrespect to those who enjoy the craziness of it all, but the career I carve for myself will never suggest to anyone that they should party until they pass out. Besides, staying in to make big plates of nachos and play some old school Pokemon Stadium is much more fun.

8. Multitasking is 110% normal.

While walking to class, I answer my Twitter messages and any emails I have. When I’m eating lunch, I scribble out ideas for set lists. Multitasking can be messy and stress-inducing, but accomplishing multiple things at once lifts pounds of weight off my shoulders every day. It’s almost always a small victory. Some may think I look disorganized as I run around campus typing furiously on my phone, but rest assured, I just want to get as much work done as possible. I’m sorry if I look like a hot mess, though. Multitasking has become normalcy!

9. You might feel obliged to look completely put together 24/7, but a messy bun, chipped nail polish, and old Converse are always okay.

Personal style gives you the opportunity to show off little pieces of yourself through what you wear. I’ve always taken this seriously, but there are days on campus when I actually want to look like a hobo. Is that weird? If it’s pouring rain or ice cold outside, I’d much rather wear fresh yoga pants and a hoodie instead of cute boots and leather leggings. I try to not let myself feel like I’m ever under a microscope. So, bum it to class! It’s more than okay.

10. There will always be people who have awful things to say about you.

Encountering bullies is inevitable, no matter where you are or what age you are. Throughout my time in high school, students made hate videos about me, shoved me into lockers, and shouted “Hope Vista, you suck!” in the middle of a crowded hallway. Even here in college, I’ve faced a good amount of people who laugh at my career choice, call me Sid the Sloth (cute little Ice Age character), and sit behind a computer screen sharing their strongly-worded comments. I like to keep in mind is that every one of those hurtful comments push me to work harder. Those words are inspiration, giving me even more motivation to go out there and make them regret what they said. I live by these two words, and I hope you take them to heart, as well: stay strong.

COLLEGECANDY Writer
COLLEGECANDY Writer
Margaret writes about pop culture, middle school music, and fashion faux pas for CC. Connect me: twitter instagram
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