Name: Michael Alvarado
ASU Class of 2010
Q: What has your post-graduate experience been like so far? What have you been up to lately?
A: As a post-graduate, I spend most of my time at Disneyland. Even after 20 consecutive rides, Space Mountain never gets old. Carissa got me an annual pass for a pre-Christmas gift, and I haven't been the same since.
Other than that, I sit in my computer chair all day producing music in Southern California. While this might sound extremely boring for some, I absolutely love it. What I love about it is the unpredictability. Some days it's playing piano for label artists, producing indie artists, or singing background vocals, and other days it's producing my own music. Sometimes, when I need a break, I make YouTube videos simply for fun. Regardless, I have a drawer in my desk designated for candy, currently filled with 4 boxes of Gobstoppers and 3 bags of Pretzel M&M's. This also makes the day more exciting. Yea...I buy them in bulk. Fatty? Maybe.
Q: What is your favorite thing about what you do?
A: Music gets me all excited....like a little boy in 4th grade who has a crush on a girl in his homeroom. When I think about music, time literally flies because I'm having so much fun. I get to do this everyday as my job. Sometimes I pinch myself and ask, "Is this real life?" The cool thing about this feeling is that anyone can have it. You simply have to figure out what your passion is and stop at nothing to make it your job. When your passion becomes your job, it's the most surreal feeling....true happiness.
Q: What was your career like at Appalachian? Any first/best shows that still stick out in your mind today?
A: Appalachian was a wonderful experience. The beautiful mountains and interesting people always provided for songwriting inspiration. Also, the town may be small, but it's filled with music lovers, open for anything. If it wasn't for my fellow classmates, I'd still be playing to an empty Cone Hall lobby at 2 a.m.
I'll still never forget my first show at Legends. My great friend, Adam Sensenbrenner, helped my band and I land our first club show. I remember pulling up to the venue with my parents and seeing a line that wrapped around the building, all the way down the sidewalk. My heart sank and I started sweating. Somehow, I made it inside, only to hear that the show sold out in less than 30 minutes. The show ended up being a blast and will be forever etched in my mind.
Q: What made you decide to attend ASU?
A: Price. I could try and come up with other reasons, but price trumps them all. I wanted a good music business program within 300 miles of North Carolina. I applied to Belmont in Nashville and ASU, both for music. I got into both and at the time, App was $9,000 a year, while Belmont was $24,000 a year. It was a no brainer. ASU really is a good value for the money. Yes, 95% of the people I tell where I went to college have never heard of it, but college is really what you make it to be...being "successful" is a mindset. It doesn't matter where you go; it's what you do with your time when you're there.
Q: Now that you’re out in the “real world,” what are some things you miss about Boone and ASU?
A: The social aspect of ASU is something I miss. It's a small town...you're bound to make some really great friends. I made a few lifetime friends that I miss everyday. There did come a day, though, when I woke up and said, "I love my friends but I'm sick of scraping snow off my windshield in September."
Q: What would you say is your biggest source of musical inspiration?
A: Watching and hearing other music. All it takes for me is buying one new album from the store and my inspiration meter is filled up for at least a month. Sometimes it's watching other musician's videos on YouTube, or hearing a new song on the radio. But without a doubt, my inspiration always comes as a result of watching and learning from others.
Q: What are some little-known facts about you?
A: I love Disneyland.
I've lost 40 pounds since highschool.
I secretly daydream about becoming a chef and owning my own restaurant one day.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in music (or funny youtube videos)?
A: Figure out what your passion is...that ONE thing that feels so natural, like you've been doing it since birth...that ONE thing that keeps you up at night because you can't stop thinking about it. Then, figure out how to make it your career. This might be contacting other music professionals in that field via e-mail and asking for advice, or writing 3 songs a day, or making 4 YouTube videos every month. Because it is your passion, someone, somewhere, will see your passion, recognize it, and help you get to the next level.