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Morgan Vinson: Socialite Barbie With An Upcoming EP!

Name: Morgan Vinson

Year/Graduation date: June 2014

Major: Sociology

Minor: Italian Studies

Hometown: Antioch, CA


When she’s not cycling, obessing over Mindy Kaling, or reading her favorite Sophie Kinsella book, Morgan is an ARD and and up-and-coming artist, let’s get to know this dominating chica a bit more!


How would you best describe your 4 years in college?

I would describe my four years in college as the ultimate college experience. I’m blessed to say that I don’t have any regrets regarding my involvement. I did everything that I wanted to and when I graduated I was ready for the next chapter of my life. I think that my four years were perfect in helping me establish who I am and what I value and I’m so thankful for the people that I met during that time.



What’s the most memorable moment you had at UCSB?

The most memorable moment? Oh my gosh, that’s a hard question. I’ve had many and they’re all equal but I’m going to pick Anacapa’s win at All Hall Brawl last year in the Thunderdome. We were the underdogs and we pulled out a fantastic win! I’m still so proud of the RA Staff, Hall Council and building in general. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.

What was it like to study abroad in Italy?

I studied abroad in Florence, Italy for a summer and Bologna, Italy for the academic year. I’m so glad that I went because I made great friends and learned so much about Italian culture as well as myself. It was initially out of my comfort zone and when I said goodbye to my mom at the airport I worried that I had signed up to be gone for too long, but once I came back to the United States the following year at the end of May, I knew that I had made the right choice.

While abroad I auditioned for and made the mixed choir at L’Universita di Bologna and was invited to join the tournee which enabled me to travel to France to perform! I was also able to do an independent study with Prof. Pasquale Verdicchio our visiting professor from UC San Diego, take two graduate level courses and intern for a Human Rights Film Festival and babysit – something I’d always wanted to do! I babysat for one family all year and it was definitely one of the highlights of my year abroad.

My housemate was (and still is) a DJ! I keep up with her on Facebook and she’s making some waves in Italy, my other roommate was a law student from Belgrade who spoke eight languages! I still keep in touch with her.

Most meaningful moment that happened to you as an RA?

My Resident Director suggested that I try out for The Voice and the prep-work for that included trying to find two to three songs with sections that I could revamp and sing well. I spent hours in our staff room with three of my fellow staff members trying to pick songs, asking what sounded good and just singing non-stop to perfect everything.

When it came down to the week of my audition, my lead staff let me perform for them and then they gave me critiques and helped me make a final decision on which songs I would actually sing. The night before my performance I went to my room and found a good luck poster (complete with gold glitter) that two of my staff members had made for me. It almost brought me to tears! On top of that my best friend since pre-school drove me to LA at four in the morning and waited all day for me while I went through the audition process. Though I didn’t make the cut, the experience was definitely worth it for the support that I received.

What made you decide to become an ARD? Any special moment(s), person/s that helped you decide to go in the post-grad career life?

To be honest I was having a lot of trouble figuring out what I wanted to do after graduating. During the summer I bought a GRE prep book but couldn’t bring myself to study, and in between school, the RA position and my sorority involvement it still wasn’t happening. I also couldn’t settle on something that I wanted to get my degree in. Looking back, I realize that I just wasn’t ready for graduate school.

I heard that the ARD process was hiring for the following year and spoke with my lead staff (RD Priscilla “PJ” Ju, ARD Benjamin Pola and ARD Vanessa Tejada) about what the position entailed. I hadn’t completely realized until that moment that working with college students full-time was something that I could do and I recognized that it was something that I could see myself doing. They encouraged me to apply and as I continued through the process I realized that even if I wasn’t able to do it at UCSB, I wanted to be an ARD somewhere after college. I must have applied to around twenty different positions across the country! I’m just so blessed and happy that it worked out here at UCSB.

I knew that I truly wanted the position when I got the email offer and literally started crying from happiness. That was my “magic moment.”

YOU ALWAYS LOOK AMAZING! Who is your style icon(s)?

Oh my gosh, thank you! I’m definitely a lover of all things Audrey Hepburn and Jackie O so I think that’s where things sort of began. Ironically enough, I didn’t really hit my style stride until post-grad when I realized that I was at the stage of my life where I could wear everything that I loved in Glamour, Cosmopolitan and Allure magazines. In college, especially senior year, I wore a lot of athletic wear and sun dresses; junior year abroad I wore a lot of jeans, skirts, dresses and oversized sweaters.

When did you start singing? Was there a special moment that made you realize that singing was your passion?

I started singing when I was a baby – seriously! There are videos of me singing Barney. However when I was eleven I begged my dad to buy me an electric guitar because I wanted to be Avril Lavigne. I started writing music around that time and I’m pretty sure that I have 98% of all the songs I’ve ever written; they’re all in notebooks or on napkins or on random scraps of papers.When I was in middle school I performed at Fairyland, a children’s theme park in Oakland and around that time my mom put me in classical voice lessons. People always ask if I can sing Opera when I tell them that I’m classically trained, but opera is just one form of classical music. As I got older I continued writing music and I knew that it was something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. However, the moment that truly stands out occurred last year. I was recording the first song for my EP at Playback studios downtown and I thought “this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Are you more of a sing-about-heart-break Taylor Swift type or sing-about-how-amazing-you-are like Beyonce?

I’m going to say I’m a mix! The first verse in my song “Uninvited” comes to mind. It goes:

I never thought that I would be that girl. I wanted the crown, I wanted to rule the world. And you came along, a pauper in disguise, you broke my heart. And yet you’re still sitting in my life. 

I draw people in with the relatability and the emotional rawness but I hope that they also feel the confidence and the acknowledgement that I know my self-worth. The crowd favorite of my songs so far is “A Little Bit Brighter.” The chorus states:

The leaves are a little bit greener and the grass shines just a little bit brighter. And who needs real fire when we can just turn our phones into lighters. And I smile just a little bit wider and hope that you notice me. But if you don’t there’s another one coming down the road. Baby don’t worry, it ain’t no thing.

I think it’s there that people are given that line of hope like “okay, she’s right. It doesn’t matter because I’m awesome and there’s millions of people in this world.” And that’s my motto in many ways, like “alright Morgan what did you learn from this? Okay now put it in a song so that you can remember it and move on.”

Where do you see your career path going? A professional singer? Or something else?

Well, I’m currently on the professional, and soon academic, higher education track. I love working with students and I love the vibe of the university system but I know that once I get my break in music it’s going to be my main focus for a while. I don’t think I would ever want to be completely uninvolved with higher education though, so once I hit Grammy-status I’ll have to figure out a way to stay involved in a low-key way since it’s still a passion of mine.

But I will be in graduate school this upcoming fall as I pursue my Masters of Education in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration. And after that, I’m thinking either a PhD or a JD (though leaning toward my law degree).

I don’t like having to decide between music and higher ed – I want to have it all! But music is definitely something that I want to professionally pursue. I’m hoping that next year is going to really propel things forward music-wise.

What advice can you give your fellow Gauchos that are still trying to get through school?

Honestly, just find what you love and do it! Find your passion areas! If you’re in a major you hate then maybe you should reevaluate why you’re still pursuing it. So many students come in with ideas of what they want or what their parents want and that’s okay but we grow so much within those four years and I want people to know that it’s okay to change your mind. I also highly encourage y’all to get involved in anything you have an interest in, whether it’s the Quidditch Team, KCSB, Residential Life… You never know where these experiences are going to take you and who you’re going to meet.

Don’t worry about being “cool” or being liked because if they don’t like you for you then are they truly your friends? My mother always used to tell me to stop being a people pleaser and to “be [my] own person.” It was so annoying! I kept telling her that I was my own person. But then senior year of high school before I went off to college it really hit me and I thought “at the end of the day, I already have my friends. If someone doesn’t like me then it doesn’t matter, I’m going to college!” It sounds harsh but once you’re content with the fact that not everyone is going to like you you’ll be a much happier and less stressed person. Invest in people who invest in you.

How can people connect with you and your music?

My EP is called Brunch. There’s three songs on it currently and I think I’m going to record one more. Brunch is my favorite meal time, and I named my EP after it because I feel like all of the songs on it are conversations you can have with friends over brunch. They’re relatable and they go great with company and a good mimosa. I’m currently working on a Kickstarter campaign! I don’t have many days left but I’m trying to finish my EP so that I can release my music to Spotify and iTunes. 

To help Morgan click here!


To see what Morgan is up to, follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook or follow her blog!

Elizabeth Vasquez graduated from UC Santa Barbara back in 2016 with a BA in English. Elizabeth currently resides in the Silicon Valley area and works for Modern Luxury Silicon Valley magazine as a marketing & events coordinator. When she isn't working, Elizabeth enjoys dining out with friends, reading a book and spending time with her two dogs. See what she is up to on Instagram: @iamelizabethvasquez and on Twitter: @MissElizabethLV
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