The Los Angeles native is majoring in music production and recording arts at Elon, and has found resources to support her development as an artist.
By Sonya Walker ‘20
Before arriving at Elon last August, Eliza Spear ’22 was already breaking into the music scene. Now the first-year student from Los Angeles is tapping into the resources and expertise of Elon’s Music Production and Recording Arts program to propel her music career forward.
With her first single already released on Spotify and a second coming to the streaming music service on March 8, the singer and songwriter has her eyes set on the future.
“It was a childhood dream until it turned into me being really persistent about it happening,” Spear said.
Spear’s music career has its roots in the theater, when she began participating in local productions with her brother when she was 6 years old. “He stopped, but I wanted to keep going,” she said.
Spear sang for roughly five years in the theater before she started writing music. “I wrote a song for my dog. I was like ‘I love you so much I want to write a song about you’ and then I just kept writing,” Spear said.
Spear started performing around Los Angeles when she was a sophomore in high school. She took a gap year after high school graduation to further study the music industry and begin to lay the foundations of her music career. “I wanted to take advantage of the ‘music capital of the world,’ so I stayed and it was amazing,” Spear said.
Spear was originally interested in Elon because of its well-renowned Department of Performing Arts, but decided instead of focus specifically on music. She’s relished being surrounded by so many people who have the same interests. In only six months at Elon, Spear has learned a lot about music, particularly in the area of music production.
“I didn’t know anything about the production prior to coming here,” Spear said. “I knew about the music business and how to write, at least my personal writing style. But even being here for six months — it blows my mind, there is so much you can do, so many resources.”
But for Spear, it’s the people who have influenced and helped her the most so far. “The biggest thing for me is the people,” Spear said. “My friend group is probably 15 songwriters and all we do is write songs and play music. We will stay up until 3 a.m. writing, and that’s magical.”
Spear notes that a lot of her support comes from within the Music Production and Recording Arts program.
“Basically what we try to do is we try to foster musicality in students,” Senior Lecturer in Music and Limelight Records faculty advisor Clay Stevenson said. “So if they are studying in our program we are trying to help them be the best, whatever they want to be in music.”
Stevenson notes that Spear has already taken strides within the industry and within the program since arriving at Elon. Along with her academic work, she’s involved in Limelight Records, Elon’s student-run record label.
“Eliza is in somewhat of a unique position because she’s been so proactive. She’s been generating a lot of activity within the department which is good.”
Stevenson breaks down how Elon specifically helps students in the music department succeed. He notes that with “so much noise out there,” it can be difficult to find focus.
“We are able to have that stuff already synthesized for students,” Stevenson said. “They come in and based on the professor’s experiences we are able to say ‘hey look, these are the procedures you need to follow to be commercially viable, to be commercially successful. These are the attributes of a musician, performer, an engineer, a mix engineer, or recording engineer. These are the things you should focus on that are going to give you a leg up on someone who is just watching a random YouTube tutorials’.”
Spear’s latest work, set to be released on March 8 followed by a live performance at local venue The Fat Frogg, was produced by Associate Professor of Music Todd Coleman. Spear said that support from faculty speaks to the environment in the program and at Elon. She sees fellow students and faculty helping out with cover art, photographs and other components that support musical artists.
“It’s a great environment to foster creativity,” Spear said of Elon.