Music to Her Ears

NASH senior Grace Elliott has a passion for music and a list of accomplishments to back it up.

Lorenzo Zottoli, Staff Writer

What got you into music?

Ever since I can remember, music has always been a huge part of my life. Both of my parents are musicians and met at Duquesne University, where they played guitar. My parents put me in music camps and lessons since I was little, playing piano, guitar, ukulele, and bass. This sparked my interest in music in elementary school, where I played french horn for five years and continued pursuing music in any way I could.

How did music impact you growing up in such a musical family?

Music was always my passion and my source of hope. Music could always put a smile on my face and let me fully be myself despite any hardships I may have gone through. It was a way to connect with my family and friends and express my feelings in a healthy way. Music helped me stay motivated in school and throughout all of my life.

What inspired you to focus on singing?

I loved to sing my whole life, but when I was ten years old, I joined a performing group. It allowed me to perform in front of small and large audiences and taught me singing, dancing, and acting. Though I realized fairly soon that I did not want to ever pursue theater, this group was the reason I fell in love with singing and started taking lessons.

How long have you been participating in the NA musicals?

I have been in the NA musicals for four years, participating in The Little Mermaid, Good News, Titanic, and our 2021 Musical Revue. This year is a little different since we are showcasing different numbers instead of doing one whole show, however, I play Erzulie in ‘Human Heart’ from Once on This Island. The NA musicals have given me a huge amount of audiences to perform for and helped me get out of my comfort zone.

Bob Tozier

What have been some of your favorite musicals or characters?

My favorite musical I have been in was High School Musical the Musical, where I played Gabriella. It was my first big role, and I loved every moment of it. It was just a moment where I realized that in music, I am valued and accepted. I also loved playing Kate Mullins in Titanic at NASH last year.

What have you done outside of North Allegheny?

Outside of North Allegheny, I have been in many theater productions, programs, and private lessons. I take guitar, voice, and jazz lessons once a week, and before COVID-19, I played gigs outside of school. I have participated in many summer programs, most recently being The Songbook Academy, where I studied with Michael Feinstien and Laura Osnes. I am also a winner of The National YoungArts Foundation’s Jazz Voice program in 2021.

What colleges did you get accepted to?

I got a music scholarship to Berklee College of Music and a music scholarship to the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music.

What college did you end up selecting and for what major?

When selecting a music school, money was a very important factor for me. I was not going to sink myself into debt in a career that is very unpredictable, so I chose the school that I not only loved but also gave me a college education that I would not have to go into debt for. I chose the University of Miami, where I will major in Jazz Voice and Studio Music.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years, I hope to be graduating from college, recording an album, writing music, and inspiring others. I hope that I will be able to perform gigs and pursue this career to the fullest.

What advice would you give younger classmen who want to start studying music?

The biggest thing to get into music is just to do it. Join band, chorus, orchestra, musical, music theory, or take lessons. The most important thing you can do is put yourself out there. I would not be doing what I want in life if I cared about what my peers thought or did not take any risks. If you have the passion and drive for it, then you 100% can do it—it just depends on how hard you are willing to work. Follow whatever your heart leads you to, and trust yourself enough to pursue your dreams.