I grew up going to Catholic school, until 4th grade. We had a set schedule for the week: two days of the week we had P.E, Thursdays we always went to mass, one day out of the week we had music class, and once a month we got to go to art class. P.E was so annoying and easily my least favorite days of the week. Running, flag football, me? No, I don’t think so. The days that we had music classes were always my silver lining of the week. Singing was my favorite thing to do; music was the one thing that no one could take away from me.
I know that sounds very middle school, angst filled, teenage brat of me but music has always been something that I connected with. My dad always made sure that music was available to me. He put me in piano lessons when I was 7 and I continued to grow. My relationship with music and making it come to life was something that I was always really confident in. It made me feel good – special, like I stood out in the crowd. Focusing on something that made me self-assured helped with my self-esteem. Confidence shining through you makes you beautiful.
I was watching an a cappella group at my university, the Echoes Acapella, preform last Friday and I was moved to tears because of unbelievably talented they are. They sung a few songs; my personal favorite was “Stay High” by Tove Lo. The soloist in the final song was Texas State University’s freshman, Vanessa Ray.
The Echoes Acapella first caught Ray’s attention in the quad because of their friendliness. The people in the group have influenced Ray immensely. Ray says “that once you join its like family.” Being together as much as they are, the Echoes have become Ray’s best friends. The love she shares for and within the group has given her more confidence. “Being around your friends always makes you feel confident; people who you know who love you and you love.”
Having been part of show choir in high school, she wanted to be a part of something musical. Ray feels most confident she is singing and performing. “Being able to express yourself I think makes you feel beautiful in whatever form that takes.” Truly appreciating the lyrics, Ray relates most to indie music. Her favorite artists to sing are Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson. She has been picked to sing several solos, despite it being her first year in the group. “It was an honor because everyone is so talented. It was really cool to be chosen [to sing a solo.]” Ray has a lot of passion for singing and continues to perform because of the happiness it brings her.