We had such a blast interviewing this month’s “Instructor of the Month”, Samantha Aurelio. Specializing in singing and songwriting, Samantha is an outstanding instructor and performer. While seeing multiple students each week, she has managed to make time to work on Stepping Stones, her second EP album that was released April 4.
Samantha has loved music her whole life, but she first noticed her knack for singing when she signed up for her middle school talent show. She auditioned for a singing performance and brought her teacher to tears. Why voice of all instruments? She simply enjoyed singing to tracks in the car. She would harmonize with her sister on road trips and just sang along with the music that played around the house.
In high school, she participated in musicals usually with a role in the ensemble, which was the harmony and backbone of each song. She actually landed a lead role as Snoopy right before going off to college! She would absolutely love to participate in more musicals if she “wasn’t terrified of acting.”
Growing up, Samantha loved watching her favorite artists perform. It always fascinated her because she admired that they did what they loved for a living. She was inspired at a young age and decided to pursue singing as a career. For Samantha, singing has always been an outlet, and she never had a ‘plan B’. She loved the idea of performing, but really got to consider teaching after taking a vocal pedagogy course in her junior year of college. “I feel like I have enough knowledge in theory that I could be a tool to students who don’t know how to break through the walls that have been holding them back.”
Samantha is a passionate songwriter. She composes her own music and writes her own lyrics and melody. She grew up listening to classic rock and country music, and later studied jazz. Her style is “indie-pop blues with a little bit of rock and roll”. One of her favorite bands she grew up listening to is Queen. Her biggest influences are Sara Bareilles and the Wilson Sisters.
“A musician should listen to all types of music and should be well-versed in music itself. You can’t lock yourself in one genre,” according to Samantha, “I believe that understanding theory…reading music…improving your ear…is very important.” Like most other musicians, Samantha makes mistakes during performances. Her advice for students who also perform is to, “Just go with the flow and don’t get caught up with the audience.” She added, ”I get very anxious before shows and it’s something I work on daily, but making mistakes is the beauty of live performances. It makes every show special.“
To end our interview, we decided to have a little fun with flash questions! The following are Samantha’s favorites:
1. RMA: What are you favorite hobbies? Hobby (un-related to music):
Samantha: “Cooking, fitness and watching Friends on Netflix.”
2. RMA: What is your favorite food?
3. RMA: Where would you like to getaway to?
Samantha: “My favorite place to travel to…a getaway for me…northern California. My best friend lives up there. New Jersey is also a great getaway because I love going home.”
4. RMA: What is your favorite song?
Samantha: “That’s hard…Mountain Time by Joe Bonamassa!”
5. RMA: What is your favorite type of performance to watch?
Samantha: “A live show with an intimate venue or setting…like small theater or Hotel Cafe where you’re almost one-on-one with the artist.”
6. RMA: What is your favorite genre of music?
Samantha: “If i could outlaw the word genre! It just seems so barebone.”