2017 has some very big shoes to fill. Last year, I had the honor of being crowned Miss Massachusetts, being a semi-finalist at Miss America, graduating cum laude from Harvard University, performing 150+ shows, working on my first projects as a paid actress and promoting my original music on several radio stations, publications and blogs.
2017 is going to be even better: I have a clear vision of what I want to accomplish, some new ideas and a great support system. I am not a fan of the "New Year, New You" mantra because I think it is important to learn from prior mistakes and grow off of prior successes. However, I can definitely get behind a "New Year, IMPROVED you" philosophy. 2016 will be hard to top, but here are the steps I'm taking to make 2017 my best. Year. Yet.
1) Take more pictures.
My parents bought me a nice camera last year for Christmas (with a bag and everything). While I enjoy photography and making videos, I rarely think to bring my camera to shows, appearances, etc. I've recently been trying to step up my Instagram game (post about that coming later this week) and capturing quality photos of the unique and memorable opportunities I encounter would definitely help with that process. When I perform or make an appearance, people take pictures. However, the reality is that I never get to see any of them. In 2017, I want to take more pictures: for myself and my business. On a similar note, I would also like to record more videos of myself performing for Youtube and social media.
2) Read more books.
I like to read. If I'm really enjoying a book, I'll usually finish it in under 24 hours. The problem is that I don't always have a book I'm working on. There are several instances where I have time to kill (not to be confused with free time): in between a sound check and a show, riding the subway, when a student forgets to show up to their lesson, sitting in a waiting room, getting my hair done, being stuck in traffic (kidding!)
In 2017, I would like to start reading more instead of aimlessly scrolling through my phone when I'm bored. First on the list? Bruce Springsteen's autobiography, Born to Run.
3) Drink less coffee.
Now, this is going to be hard. I love coffee. In the morning. In the afternoon. In the evening. And in between. But the caffeine tolerance and subsequent dependency is not a good thing. The acidity and subsequent acid reflux is really not a good thing, especially for my vocal cords (cutting back on the juice and tomato sauce would probably also be a good idea.) I won't quit cold turkey, but in 2017 I need to get this "drinking problem" under control.
4) Be more organized.
In 2017, I would like to finally stop being so messy. I leave empty water bottles in my car. I leave clothes on the floor. I leave my bed unmade. I leave dishes in the sink. You get the point. I can't find things. I get frustrated. The messes distract me when I have actual work to do. As an artist, I realize I have a genetic predisposition to being a complete slob. Don't get me wrong, I am much more conscious of this issue than I used to be. Still, I suppose I could try a little harder.
5) Grow my social media following.
My goal for 2017 is to grow my collective social media following to 100,000. I am at about 20,000 right now. I have some work to do, but is it impossible? I don't think so. (Later this week, I will be publishing a post about some of the recent discoveries I've made regarding social media growth.) Consistently posting on this blog, as well as my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts (and my Miss Massachusetts pages) will be crucial for reaching this goal. In 2016, I realized the importance and power of social media. In 2017, I am going to utilize these tools to expand further, reach more people and make more fans.
6) Perform more original music.
I currently perform between 3-4 nights per week as a professional musician. However, only occasionally do I perform (or even promote) my original material. In 2017, I would like to focus more on performing my music live and booking venues that focus particularly on local original artists. Boston and Cambridge have a thriving singer-songwriter scene and there are a ton of opportunities for me to perform my original tunes. I also need to do a better job with promoting my CD at my weekly performances and encouraging audiences to pick up a copy or check it out on iTunes. Putting yourself out there as a songwriter is a lot easier online vs in real life.
7) Go back to school.
Because of the Miss America Organization, I currently have $18,000 in scholarship to use towards my Master's degree. As I mentioned before, I don't think I'm quite ready for law school. Still, I believe that education and learning are important for improvement----both personally and professionally. I've been applying for a few different programs that fit my unique interests, needs and schedule. I won't necessarily enroll in a degree program immediately. However, at the very least, I want to take a few courses, challenge myself academically and gain new knowledge and skills that will help me grow as a musician and businesswoman.