“Uppers and Seniors have this sort of confidence when they walk around campus…When I see Seniors on stage, their stage presence is spectacular and they aren’t afraid to mess up, they just want to do what they love. I think that inspires me…I hope to be like that one day too, to inspire others, to be that upperclassman that everyone is like ‘oh, she has the confidence, I want to talk to her.’” — Summer Seward ’21, 2017
During her Junior fall term, Summer Seward ’21 performed at her first Coffeehouse and was interviewed about her singing experience. Now entering her fourth year at Andover, Seward, now a Senior, was asked those same questions again. She described her evolution as a singer-songwriter and the fulfillment of her Junior year goal: finishing an album before graduation.
What are your favorite things about singing?
Junior: I love, and I can quote Lady Gaga on this, “I live for the applause.” I love being on stage, I love hearing people clap and scream, and I love making people happy. I love seeing my mom when I sing, because sometimes she even cries, and I love making other people happy.
Senior: I like singing because I like the feeling I get when I do it, especially when I sing in front of other people. I think music is something so beautiful to me and so when you perfect it and you do it right, it’s just so pleasing to do it. It’s pleasing to me and to work on something for so long and make it how I want it to sound.
How have you grown specifically at Andover?
Junior: I started out at Coffeehouse. It started by someone saying that I’d get a four in voice lessons, and I was so happy, so I signed up for voice lessons right away, because I’ve never done them before, and I was so excited. Then I did Coffeehouse, a lot of people got to hear me sing, which is great. I auditioned for Azure and Keynotes and I got in, which is great. That’s how I’ve started, what I’ve done so far. A lot [of people] want to sing and accompany me, which is awesome.
Senior: I actually started at Andover just [as] a performer, just getting into acapella and getting into more classical music, and I’ve kind of evolved into working on an album. [I’ve been] working on my own music and working on my sound and my style which has been a long journey, but something I love doing. Doing that transition from a performer to a singer and songwriter, I think, is really important in an artist’s career because it allows you to develop your own style and what you want. You don’t have to follow someone else’s rule or follow someone else’s tendency and vocal range. You make your own and you decide for yourself who you are as an artist.
Do you write your own songs?
Junior: Yeah, I do dabble in writing songs. I definitely look forward to trying more here, especially with this feeling at this beautiful place of being able to try anything.
Senior: Yes. I think the process [of songwriting] for me is when something happens to me or someone’s like, ‘oh my gosh this is gonna be a fire song,’ I just go into the song. I sit down and the first thing I do is get on the piano or whatever I’m using and I get my melody or my chords. From there, stuff just flows. Once I get my chords, once I get the basis of my song, like ‘okay this is my verse, this is my bridge, and this is my chorus,’ I literally start freestyling. So I freestyle and I take what I like and I write it down. I do that three times, and I have a song.
What are your favorite/proudest memories involving singing?
Junior: My favorite memories have to be at my old school, the first [time] I really made a big bang, was [in] my first show I did, Godspell. I sang “Turn Back O Man,” and it was probably one of the highlights of my career. And then, Breadloaf. I started to do talent shows right before Andover over the summer, and that’s when I started to warm up to performing in front of a lot of people. Grasshopper will hopefully be another one.
Senior: I have so many. But, definitely, I would say Grasshopper. I [have] performed in a duet with Denise [Taveras ’21] two years in a row which was really great; it was really awesome. And that, for me, showed my talent to the rest of the school, but it also reassured me that I can do anything I put my mind to. And then, also, Upper year, in the winter, I debuted my original song. I thought that that was a very special moment for me because not only was I singing, but I was playing what I wrote, so I thought that was really special to me.
What are you looking forward to in the future with your singing at Andover?
Junior: Of course, Keynotes and Azure, and I’m so excited to be doing concerts and choir. Hopefully Gospel Choir concerts. My goal is to have an album before the time I graduate Andover. I want to create an album of my favorite songs I like to sing before I leave. [It would be] mostly covers. I write original songs, but it’s not my strong suit.
Senior: So, I pretty much finished all the songs [on my album]. I think I’m going to have ten, all original music. All of them have a piano base, but in a few of them I added bass, I added drums, [and] bass guitar. So, I rounded up the sound and hopefully it’ll round out in the studio once it gets done.