“Music is a part of life and not your whole life” At the end of college, I started to take on more responsibilities and did some “adulting” such as paying bills, paying rent, etc. Those essentials are important because as good as “music is my life” sounds, it’s not realistic to what life’s fullness is. Paying those bills and paying rent are essentials of life that need to be taken into account!
I had the pleasure of interviewing Miss Washington, an R&B Singer/Songwriter hailing from the Bay-Area, California. She graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston with a Bachelor of Music Degree. Being a professionally trained pianist and keyboardist, she has performed with some of the greats during her career so far, including Gloria Estefan, The Regiment Horns (Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake), and Beyonce’s Original All-Female Band. She released her debut E.P. late last year entitled F.A.T.E.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
It is my pleasure to tell my story that I grew up in such a culturally rich place, the Bay Area in California. I grew up in music from being raised in the church. I sang in the choir and learned to play the piano on my own from being inspired by the musicians from the church. Eventually, at the age of 5 or 6, I realized I had a great musical ear because I would go home and figure out any songs that I heard from the church or the radio perfectly on the piano. I would spend hours doing this, so my musical ear grew and, over time, led me to want to take lessons and then go to a performing arts high school and music college to study music.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I remember one day I was in a lesson with one of my teachers at the age of 9, and she placed a request in my mind and asked, “Do you want to make music just as a hobby or do you want to be on big stages and play in front of thousands of people in a day?” and my answer was yes! I want to one day be on big stages and be a professional! At the time, at nine years old, I didn’t think this far ahead. Still, I knew I wanted to make music forever, and with encouragement along the way, I’m now putting my all into my career, and I believe wholeheartedly, music is my gift and my purpose.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
One of the most interesting events was having the opportunity to play with Beyonce’s all-female band! At the first performance, her band had come to Berklee College of Music, and I was able to be a keyboardist and sing at this massive sold-out performance on Berklee’s biggest performance stage! They called me after individually to perform a show with them in New York City and unexpectedly, the week after I was able to work on BET’s Black Girls Rock Award Show. I learned so much from them and was so grateful for the opportunities.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The funniest mistake that I can remember was when I was at a music convention in a class forum, and everyone had to introduce themselves. When it was my turn to talk, I was so nervous and shy because so many musicians I respected in the room and were all males, and I was the only female and the youngest in the room. Thankfully, they were encouraging, but I started talking so low, and my voice was shaking; they could barely hear me. I was so young and shy at the time, but I learned how to come out of my shell and be proud of who I am, even if that means I stand out, or I am the only female in the room or the youngest. I’ve learned to embrace every aspect of myself!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
My project that I’ve just released is the most exciting right now because it is my first, and I get to express a specific part of myself that many have never seen from me before. I created it straight from the heart, and I believe it has a unique sound and vibe.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
Well, I think it would be contradictory to reality to not have diversity in film and television because I think film and television are meant to represent real-life to some extent to connect to people. There are specific ethnic groups that are under-represented; it can affect the consumer’s mentality and self-esteem. When those under-represented ethnic groups don’t see a mirror of themselves in the media, it can negatively affect their self-esteem, causing an inferior mentality. Also, there needs to be diversity behind the scenes so that the messaging comes out accurately. There are diverse perspectives, and a diverse range of life experiences needed to be accounted for.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
Five things I wish someone told me are:
- “You have the power to create your life the way you want” growing up through adolescence, there was this anxiety I had about not knowing how life would turn out for me, so I was not feeling my best or would shy away from my potential
- “Your uniqueness/weirdness is your superpower” growing up. I always felt like I never really fit into specific groups and felt weird because I was a female in a male-dominated field or not feeling girly enough with other girls, etc. Now I know those things that I deemed “weird” make me a unique individual with a unique story to tell in my music and style.
- “You’re already enough” I used to have so much anxiety about making sure I got better in my playing skills. I was pushing myself, especially going to a performing arts high school and the world’s top music school. Those were very competitive environments, which was great to encourage me to push myself to grow. Still, it was unhealthy at some points because I never felt like I measured up to other kids, which lowered my self-esteem. Knowing I am enough relinquishes the anxiety automatically and brings absolute ease because growing in your skills is essential at the expense of your self-esteem. The balance is important.
- “Music is a part of life and not your whole life” At the end of college, I started to take on more responsibilities and did some “adulting” such as paying bills, paying rent, etc. Those essentials are important because as good as “music is my life” sounds, it’s not realistic to what life’s fullness is. Paying those bills and paying rent are essentials of life that need to be taken into account!
- “Don’t be afraid of your voice” As I mentioned earlier, I was shy as a kid, so embracing every part of you is so important, and it makes you feel better about yourself!
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them thrive and not “burn out”?
I would highly recommend meditating, carving out a designated time away from your phone, enjoying other parts of your life aside from music, and making sure you are getting rest, not just sleep.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-);
I would love to start a movement where R&B becomes popular again, I know that’s kind of weird to say, but I feel R&B is under-appreciated but highly influential to so many artists outside of the genre. This proves that “feel good” music is still necessary for our culture and world. If that were not true, we wouldn’t see millions of fans celebrating and tuning into the Verzuz Battles on Instagram that Swizz Beatz and Timbaland created. The most popular Instagram” verzuz” celebrated R&B music eras pre-2000s. That says a whole lot!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful to who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There are so many, but one, in particular, was Beyonce’s saxophonist Tia Fuller. She became a role model for me when I went to Berklee. She encouraged me and gave me the right push I needed even if I didn’t understand it at certain times. She accomplished a lot as an African-American woman in a tough industry. She was pivotal. I thought about what I wanted out of my career and what level I wanted to reach!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I have so many quotes I live by, but I’ll give just one. “The basis of your life is freedom; the purpose of your life is joy” This is so relevant to my life because for so long at the core, I felt anxious, insecure, fearful, and disappointed, and it made me feel like I wasn’t in the driver seat of my life. As time went on, all the significant events that have transpired in my life only inspired me to experience the feeling of joy and freedom. Now I have peace of mind overall because now I know I was in control the whole time, and with understanding the power I have, I can intentionally create joy and live in freedom every day. Staying humble and grateful, no matter what, always helps me. Therefore I can make better music and thrive more in all the things I want to do in my life.
Is there a person in the world or the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I would love to have brunch with Babyface because I love and grew up on his music, and he has highly influenced the way I compose my music. He’s a musician too, just like me, so if we collaborated on some music, that would be a dream come true!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You can follow me on Instagram (@misswashington__), Facebook (www.facebook.com/misswashingtonmusic), and my website (www.misswashingtonmusic.com)
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!