The Scholar: Tori Zingarelli
The Project: Wanna Hear Some Secrets?
The Essential Question: Ms. Zingarelli, a singer and songwriter, wrote, performed, and recorded a collection of three songs, two backed by electronic instruments and one on which she played piano. She created videos of her performing the songs, as well. The process “was really fun,” says Tori, who hopes to pursue a career in music, “but it was difficult in many ways. I never have had to write a song in a certain timeframe. I couldn’t just wait to be inspired by something. I had to just try to pull it out of me.”
Notable Quote: “I learned a lot about what songwriting is like, what it is like to have to find that place of inspiration. When I did that, I was really proud of myself.”
Biggest Challenge: “Most challenging was making the songs. I’ve only made my music by myself, with piano, or with other women at summer camp at the Institute of Musical Arts, who have helped me with ideas. Not having them there was hard. I had to just decide, okay, do I like this, or do I not like this? It was hard to sit in a room and pick what I was going to sing, and not be critical of myself as I’m recording. So I stopped listening to myself. I’d record something, take three takes of it, then put it away. The next day, I’d be like, ‘Oh, this isn’t that bad. Why was I being so hard on myself?’ It took a lot of self-focus, and self-love too.”
Surprising Discovery: “On one of my songs, I looped my voice a lot, and I didn’t think I was going to do that. And the fact that I aimed for five songs and did three, but I was still happy with myself with three. I told myself I’m going to do five, I’m going to do it. Then I couldn’t do five, and I was like, it’s okay, I’ve got the three and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Tip for Future Scholars: “My advice would be to utilize your time very well, to plan everything out, because there are bumps in the road, and if I hadn’t planned things out with extra time in the end, I wouldn’t have been able to finish on time. And also, be very nice to yourself. It doesn’t matter if you are doing music, if you are writing your own play, whatever you are doing, be very nice to yourself and take people’s criticism very truthfully, but with a grain of salt at the same time.”