“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 so important because as good as “music is my life” sounds, it is not realistic to what the fullness of life really is. Paying those bills and paying rent are essentials of life as well, that need to be considered!
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 being here to tell my story, 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 started to learn to play piano on my own from being inspired by the musicians from church. Eventually, at the age of 5 or 6 I realized I had a really 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, and 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 really 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 kind of placed an ultimatum in my mind and asked, “Do you want to do 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 9 years old, I didn’t think this far ahead but I at least knew I wanted to do music forever, and with so much 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! The first performance, her band had come to Berklee College of Music and I was able to be a keyboardist and sing at this huge sold-out performance on Berklee’s biggest performance stage! They called me individually thereafter to perform a show with them in New York City AND unexpectedly the week after I was able to work on B.E.T.’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 and when it was my turn to talk, I was so nervous and shy because there were so many musicians I respected in the room at the time and they 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 really 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 have 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 have just released is the most exciting project right now because it is my first, and I get to express a certain 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 is important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
Well, I think that 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 so that it connects 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 do not 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 accurate. 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.
5 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 certain groups and felt weird because I was a female in a male-dominated field or not feeling girly enough with other girls etc, but now I know those things that I deemed “weird” at the time makes me a unique individual with a unique story to tell in my music and in my style
- “you’re already enough” I used to have so much anxiety about making sure I got better in my playing skills and was pushing myself, especially going to a performing arts high school and the top music school in the world those were very competitive environments which was great to encourage me to push myself to grow but at some point, it was unhealthy because I never felt like I measured up to other kids which lowered my self-esteem but knowing I am enough, relinquishes the anxiety automatically and brings certain ease because growing in your skills is important but not 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 so important because as good as “music is my life” sounds, it is not realistic to what the fullness of life really is. Paying those bills and paying rent are essentials of life as well, that need to be considered!
- “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 to thrive and not “burn out”?
I would highly recommend meditating, carving out a designated time to be away from your phone, enjoy other parts of your life aside from music, and make 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 the world. If that were not true, we would not see millions of fans celebrating and tuning into the Verzuz Battles on Instagram that Swizz Beatz and Timbaland created. The most popular Verzuz celebrated R&B music eras pre-2000s. That says a whole lot!
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There are so many, but one was Tia Fuller (Beyonce’s saxophonist). She really became a role model for me when I went to Berklee, she really encouraged me, and gave me the right push I needed, (even if I didn’t understand it at certain times) she has accomplished so much in her career as an African American woman in a tough industry so she was pivotal to how I thought about what I wanted out of my career and what level I wanted to get to!
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 will 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 unfulfilled and it made me feel like I wasn’t in the driver seat of my life. As time went on, all the great events that has transpired in my life only inspired me to experience the feeling of joy and freedom, and now I have a peace of mind overall because now I know I was in control the whole time, and with knowing the control I have I can intentionally create joy and live in freedom every single day! Staying humble and grateful no matter what, always helps me. Therefore, I can make better music, and just thrive more in all the things I want to do in my life.
Is there a person in the world, or in the U.S. whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just 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 is also 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!