Alumna of the Month: September 2009
Alyssa Jayson (Brancazio) ’00
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.
Alyssa Jayson was born to boogie. It said so above her baby crib. That short saying would unknowingly lead Alyssa to find her innate talents and become the motto for her ever-changing journey.
Alyssa graduated from Hofstra University’s Drama and Dance Department in 2000 with a BFA in Performance. After graduation, she pursued acting professionally with roles on ABC-TV’s All My Children, various independent films and regional theatre performances. At Hofstra, Alyssa developed an interest in the “business” side of the entertainment field and, in 2002 she turned her interest into a full-time career. Alyssa began working as an associate producer for ADM Productions in Port Washington, NY.
At ADM, Alyssa traveled the country producing corporate media and events for Fortune 100 companies such as Goodyear Tire & Rubber and Dunkin Brands. However, in 2005, Alyssa’s life took an entirely new direction after being diagnosed with myopic macular degeneration. A complex retinal disease that in simple terms meant one day a black hole covered what she saw the previous day. It was this moment that served as the catalyst for Alyssa to turn her focus back to her art and ultimately pursue her greatest passion, music.
Alyssa started writing music at 15 years old. It was something she shared with few people but at the urging of a business colleague, she decided to take the music out of her mind and into the studio. Her debut CD, entitled Use As Needed, is a collection of beautiful, thought-provoking songs she’s literally been working on throughout her life.
Today, Alyssa is turning her journey towards her music full-time. Utilizing her diverse talents and business skills, she has started her own independent record label- My Mind Records and is currently performing and promoting the release of Use As Needed.
For more information on Alyssa Jayson go to: www.alyssajayson.com