In early 2018, alumna Eva Cassel answered the call of the muse and left a steady restaurant job in Nashville in order to take her songwriting skills and habits to new heights. What follows below is part one of a series chronicling her experience. (Read parts two and three).

By Eva Cassel B.M. ’17

Songwriter Eva CasselEveryone tells you about the struggles of life after college, but you can’t comprehend exactly how terrifying and exciting it is until you’re actually living it in real time. All those stories you’ve heard about horrific first jobs in retail or restaurants become your life.

It was easy to glorify in my head. Barely scraping by, surviving on PBR and mac and cheese, living life as a struggling musician until, inevitably, something amazing happens. I would climb to credibility creating my own ‘walking to school up hill both ways in the snow’ effect.

The harsh reality is no one cares while you’re in the trenches. Taking grumpy customer’s breakfast orders every morning shockingly did not spark the thrill of struggle. Do I regret hunkering down at a coffee shop in the first 7 months of my independence? Not at all. It was important for me to prove to myself that it’s possible for me to be a self-sustaining adult (a.k.a. it’s unlikely I will end up homeless and alone).

Read about Eva’s experience workshopping one of her songs with John Mayer.

However, in the face of the New Year I was drained and dried up, going about my daily routine exhausted, pissed off, and uninspired. A few months before, I had confessed my not-so-glamorous lifestyle to one of my Berklee mentors, Pat Pattison. I have always trusted him to tell me the hard cold truth. Our conversation confirmed that I needed to refocus myself. Otherwise, I wasn’t going anywhere. Fortunate for my soul, though unfortunate for my bank account, I quit my job. Shocked and relieved by the amount of support I received from my family, friends, and coworkers, I set out on my adventure at the beginning of February. So far it has been both freeing and productive. I wrote for the first time in months and I’m beginning to feel like myself again. I invite you to share this experience with me over the next three weeks as I document my successes and failures of self-employment (minus the income).

Eva Cassel B.M. ’17 is a San Francisco Bay-area native bringing coastal vibes down south to Nashville, Tennessee.  With a resilient punk San Francisco edge, her diverse musical style combines the indie attitude of Elliot Smith and the pristine vocal melodicism of Joni Mitchell. A self-proclaimed word nerd, Cassel’s music focuses on lyrics and the human experience. Listen to her album Everything on Spotify.