Sometimes the best way to take the leap is to not know all the details. Here, senior Serene Boachie shares her passion for music and how her dad's secret launched her from Texas to California...
What project are you working on right now?
Right now I’m working on a couple of music-related projects. I try to tie everything I do with music because I know I will never get bored. One project is Shindig, which is a digital platform that brings budding artists to the house next door. I joined my classmate Jane Byon on this project after seeing her Iovine Young Prize presentation. As the house manager of Tommy’s Place, I thought I could bring my event planning skills to the table in addition to my passion for music. Through Shindig, I’ve learned that to say the booking process is hard is an understatement. It is a very tedious and unreliable process that happens over email. So much information gets buried and lost in email threads. I’m really excited that Shindig makes the booking process and contracts easier for artists.
Another project I’m working on is B.E.A.M. Podcast - a podcast discussing issues surrounding being black in America as well as highlighting the excellence of black artists on and around campus. My friend, who is the host, originally wanted to start a podcast but had no idea on how to technically set one up. I became co-director and I take care of the technical backend – from setting up the mics to sound editing and uploading the file to SoundCloud. My audio emphases at the Academy really helped me with music post-production for the podcast as well as my personal music projects.
Is there a leader or mentor who inspires you?
My parents. They’ve worked hard to provide for my brother and I, and they're such fun, wonderful, and charismatic people.
Is there an inspirational quote you live by?
"Just because you're doing a lot more, doesn't mean you're getting a lot more done. Don't confuse movement with progress." - Denzel Washington
Tell us a bit about your journey to the Academy. What were you looking for in an undergraduate program?
My dad was the one who actually found the Academy. When applying to colleges, I was super picky in that I wanted to stay in either Texas or California. I researched colleges in Texas, while my dad focused on California. He was looking at the USC Viterbi program when he stumbled on Dr. Dre and the Academy. Right away, he knew the program would be perfect for me. Purposefully, however, he didn’t tell me they were only accepting around 25 students because he knew I wouldn’t have applied. He kept it a secret.
Ultimately, I was looking for a program that would allow me to explore my artistic and creative side as well as my logical side. Before finding out about the Academy, I was looking at majoring in engineering with a minor in music or design. I felt that the Academy would be able to encompass more than two separate degrees by allowing collaboration across disciplines.
What advice would you give to a freshman?
Try new things but don’t lose sight of your passions in the process.
Describe one thing most people don’t know about you?
I tried out for The Voice in freshman year. It was a long process and a very interesting experience. They bring in a group of people to sing in front of 12 people and the judges before you get to the blind audition. I think I almost made it to the first round because the judges deliberated for long time.
I also used to have an advice blog in middle school.
What is the one thing your parents taught you that you’d like to share?
Never be afraid to put your work out there, even if you don’t think it’s perfect. If you keep waiting for it to be perfect, you’ll never show anyone and you can always learn from the critiques of yourself and others.
What are the essential things you always keep in your backpack?
Laptop, headphones, snacks, chargers, sunglasses.
Favorite app or website?
Favorite class at USC and why?
Improv because it allows you to de-stress while simultaneously getting out of your comfort zone and being wild and crazy in a contained environment.
Favorite way to de-stress:
Singing and dancing
Thank you, Serene!