Alyssa Jayson '00
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What is your edge (strength)?
As a person and an artist, my strength has been true communication, constantly listening and giving. To me, contacts I have made have become “real contacts.” Instead of using people, my contacts have become relationships, strong and positive.
What at Hofstra gave you your edge?
The amount of opportunity as well as the diversity of the students and the education. A B.F.A is a highly specialized degree, but Hofstra still requires you to take math and other liberal arts classes.
The accessibility of the professors in both academic and theater classes really made a difference in my experience. I never felt like a number in a class.
In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
What was your major?
Theater Arts. B.F.A
What was your favorite class?
Anthropology with Professor Buddenhagen.
What is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
Being in the Theater program. Because of the specialized focus, the people in the program became my family and friends. Everyone supported each other, and I remain close with many of them to this day.
What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
Music. I came to work in this field through being a business consultant and an associate producer. Hofstra exposed me to so many things; I wasn’t afraid to pursue music.
Who in your field do you most admire?
The career of Joan Osborne. I respect anyone who is true to their music; I’m not in it for pop. For me, music is a form of communication.
What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
Associate Producer at ADM Productions. The most valuable thing I learned was to never question your abilities. Don’t let fear stop you; step forward.
What advice would you give current Hofstra students?
Be secure. Know that the education you receive will be applied. Take advantage of everything available to you at Hofstra- see a movie in the student center, participate actively in student life. Doing everything you can while you are a student will help you build your connections.
How do you balance work and life?
I don’t think there is a true distinction. I don’t think about yesterday or tomorrow. I try to enjoy the concept of life, not work/life.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I hope I am as grateful, thankful, and happy as I am today. I hope my music finds the people it’s supposed to find.
What is the single most rewarding experience in your career thus far?
The first day I was able to take my CD and put it in a CD player, for my mom to listen to. We were able to experience everything we had gone through (i.e. health problems) through the music that I had worked on recording for over a year.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Writers like Elton John, Carole King, and Michael Jackson. I like when I can hear someone’s life and experiences in lyrics and hear when there is a connection in their songs.
Do you write your own music? When did you start?
Yes. I wrote my first song when I was 15 years old. It is the last track on my album- it’s titled “Hold Me.” My material comes from my experiences, so it does not come quickly.
What prompted you to pursue a career in music, and how did your training in Theater Arts help you in this pursuit?
My training (at Hofstra) helped every aspect. I told a contact I made through business consulting that I wrote music and gave him a rough CD I had made. He thought I should pursue music; and he helped me to move forward.
What would you say are the best career avenues for an aspiring musician to follow?
There are so many outlets for music. I sometimes do voiceovers. There are also a lot of opportunities in film and television, even commercial jingles, or singing in a local coffee shop. The best avenue to pursue is the one you feel best about, or most connected to.
Many popular culture musicians do not have a college degree; what would you tell an up-and-coming musician about the college experience?
Do it! Learn about everything you can, learn about life. Attending college gives you an advantage in everything you do, not just your career. It also helps you meet the right contacts.