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 two of a series chronicling her experience. (Read parts one and three).

By Eva Cassel B.M. ’17

Eva Cassel writing song ideas in her notebook

The artist in her natural habitat.

Results are in folks: there is nothing like a little bit of unemployment to spark some inspiration. While reveling in freedom, I’ve thought “I would be happy if I never had to work again.” Fortunately, that’s a lie. I am working. I spend my days learning and exercising my writing muscle, working to improve my craft. I may not be getting paid, but I am investing in myself.

Every morning I drag myself out of bed, with the grace of a bowl of Jell-O, and commit to 20 minutes of yoga. Lots of my deep breathing consists of large morning breath yawns, but by the time I’m finished I feel somewhat alive and ready for the day. It quickly became obvious that missing a morning of yoga resulted in feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Everyone knows yoga is good for you or whatever, but now I have proof.

Read part one of Eva’s Real World—Nashville series.

Next order of business: the elixir of life. Coffee in one hand, pen in the other, I work my way through a daily challenge of object writing. I have successfully completed the first of Pat Pattison’s 14-day challenges in his book Songwriting Without Boundaries. Writing in the morning starts the creative engine in my brain, revving me up to turn trivial into remarkable all day long.

Lastly, and most importantly, I work on writing a song. I haven’t met all my goals, but I have written/co-written several songs since unemployment. Each time the first draft is better and takes less time to get down. By the third song, I had something worth editing, something real, an undiscovered part of myself. The first song took me 5 hours; the last one only took 2.5 (not counting editing time). Observing my rapid improvement has been incredibly gratifying, pushing and inspiring me to work even harder. This week I’ve been working on writing a song a day. Wish me luck!

Songwriter Eva CasselEva 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.