Name: Maeve Bell-Thornton
Major: Music and Anthropology
When did you first start singing?
Well, as long as I can remember I’ve always been singing, in the car, around a campfire, and with my family. My main instruments growing up were piano and violin. I really didn’t consider myself a “singer” until high school when I joined my school jazz band as a vocalist. Singing in public was definitely out of my comfort zone because it felt more personal, and vulnerable, than playing an instrument. I would get so shaky that people would think I was trying use more vibrato in my voice- but the more I performed, the more I loved it.
When did you decide that you wanted to pursue music?
I always knew it would be a part of my life, but there wasn’t any particular catharsis where I thought "this is what I want to do". I was so resistant to the idea because the music business is so difficult to break into, and honestly it’s quite daunting. In high school I formed a band (Bea, Rita & Maeve) with two friends. We weren’t aiming for glory and fame; it was genuinely about having fun. Then, after we started playing more and more gigs, I thought, this really is possible. Even if performance doesn’t work as a career, I will always find ways to make music a part of what I do.
What do you hope to bring to the Tufts campus with your singing?
For me music is not an isolated activity, but rather forms a sense of community. I hope to collaborate with different musicians of various styles here during my time here. Last year, when I was new to Tufts, other musicians were kind enough to introduce me to the music scene, so I hope I can do the same for new students.
Do you aspire to be known as a musician who ‘started’ at Tufts (like Guster and Time Flies)?
Sure! I don’t really think of myself as starting at any fixed place or time, but Tufts has definitely been a part the process.
What’s the hardest thing about trying to balance music with the rest of your academic life at Tufts?
It’s definitely an integral part of my academic life as a music major and personal life with the alternative music scene. Sometimes inspiration will conveniently strike when I’m supposed to be writing a paper or at three in the morning. Other times I have to put my music on the backburner because it’s not something I get a grade for and it’s not due the next day. Currently, I’m self-learning mandolin and guitar; it’s often hard to make practicing a routine in my schedule when there’s no outside motivation, but it’s necessary.
What do you like about the music scene at Tufts? What do you dislike?
I don’t think the alternative music scene is as strong as it could be, but it’s on the rise. With groups such as the Tufts Musicians Collective and Midnight at Tufts, there are more opportunities to see student and local bands. I would like to see less of a gap between the more official sphere of the music department and the student-controlled Musicians Collective. Both of these are fantastic gateways into music at Tufts but are very separate. I adore Granoff- the building is beautiful and the Lily Music Library there is an exceptional resource and study location. On the indie side, I’ve heard some great local bands play in the Crane Room and SoGo.
What upcoming things from you should we be keeping an eye out for?
Over the summer I’ve written some new solo songs, so I should have some recordings out in the next few weeks. Also expect some collaborations with Tufts musicians ranging from folk to experimental hip-hop. I’m hoping to start a new project as well, incorporating my love of blues-rock as well as folk…so we’ll see!