Meet Mia Hernandez of the Acaphiliacs

I sat down with Mia Hernandez from The Acaphiliacs, an a cappella group at Florida State University. She is not only a returning member but also the group’s artistic director. Mia is currently a sophomore at FSU, double majoring in Psychology and Editing, Writing and Media. After her four years at FSU, she plans to attend graduate school to study clinical psychology. Check out what Mia had to tell us about her experience!

Her Campus (HC): Who are The Acaphiliacs and why did you decide to be a part of them?

Mia Hernandez (MH): The Acaphiliacs are an all-gender a cappella group from Florida State University. I decided to join The Acaphiliacs because I knew that I wanted to keep music in my life after starting college. I grew up in a very musical household. My mom is a singer and coming to college, I thought music would be a great way to cope with the onslaught of academic stressors college throws at you. I discovered the group at the involvement fair during my freshman year. I immediately noticed that the atmosphere of the group seemed healthy and bonding oriented. They seemed to have a really good balance between being competitive and having fun. I clicked with them.

HC: What goals to the Acaphiliacs have for the year: what are some big events you guys are doing?

MH: We just performed at the MUSAE a cappella festival in Orlando this past weekend and this fall we will be recording our first album since 2016. We're recording this album to commemorate our tenth year so naturally, we are very excited. If you would like to assist us in funding this album, we have a GoFundMe that you can contribute to. The album will likely be released in the spring. Speaking of events in the spring, we will be competing in the ICCAs, as well as BOSS, two of the largest national a cappella competitions.

HC: What is the preparation for those competitions like?

MH: Generally, competition season is very intense. We have a lot of long rehearsals, which we spend either learning music or learning choreography to go with that music. When we perform, each member has to be very clean and very concise in their singing and their movements, especially because at these competitions we are given a microphone and are performing in front of a lot of people. We work hard to be the best that we can be, while still having fun.

HC: How did you become the artistic director of The Acaphiliacs and what are some of your responsibilities?

MH: I wanted to find a way to get more involved in the group. I have always loved art and design, so the role of artistic director was very appealing to me. I was voted into office by last year's members and have been in the position ever since. I am excited to have the opportunity to enhance our aesthetic and aid in managing the group alongside my fellow officers. Maintaining a healthy and cohesive environment within the group is something that I value and wanted to incorporate even more this upcoming year, so I try to plan as many bonding exercises and events as I can. I run our social media and design our uniforms, so I have a pretty big role in the group's overall aesthetic and style.

HC: What is the best part of being in The Acaphiliacs / being the artistic director?

MH: I love being a part of a family and knowing that I have a group of people that are there to support me musically and personally no matter what. I am there for them, and they are there for me. It's a healthy and fun environment to be a part of. I think that the best part about being the artistic director is helping to encourage that healthy environment and being able to help develop the group musically, aesthetically and personally. It’s so rewarding to see the group progress as a result of your hard work.

HC: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in being the creative director?

MH: I have to maintain a certain image of the group through social media and even in terms of approving our uniforms. I have to be able to provide clear artistic direction at all times, so there’s a lot of work behind the scenes making creative decisions and testing out different aesthetic choices to see if they fit. Luckily, my fellow officers are there to give me feedback and advice when I get a creative block. It can be daunting at times, I hadn’t anticipated a lot of these difficulties until I started the job. I can honestly say that it’s just as challenging as it is rewarding.

HC: How do you think this position and this group have shaped you?

MH: I came into this group lacking confidence in my musical ability and myself. I had a bit of stage fright. I'm happy to say that with the support of my fellow group members and with all of the musical training that I'm indirectly receiving through our music rehearsals, I have grown so much. Through this group, I've gained a lot of confidence in my singing, artistic and personal abilities as a whole. I’m grateful to have developed so many genuine connections. The love I have for this group is immense.

All images courtesy of Mia Hernandez.

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