Four graduates future ready for music
Updated: May 25, 2020
Congratulations to the class of 2020!
“The fireworks begin today. Each diploma is a lighted match. Each one of you is a fuse.” —Edward Koch
Artists on the Move has four musicians in the class of 2020 who have missed their commencements which were upended by the coronavirus. The anticipation and excitement builds all senior year, and the disappointment of not walking with their classmates to be presented their diploma is hard to grasp. As one of the musicians, Giuliana Amaral, posted online on her Facebook page, “I am feeling emotional about our Zoom goodbye in my last class session today. Saying goodbye to my dear friends and teachers is not easy. We’ve been together 4 years, and not to be able to hug each other today or just be together is just hard and heartbreaking. Never did I imagine that we would end up high school via Zoom. We all waited for our year 2020 with much excitement.”
Artists on the Move is impressed with all that these graduates have accomplished and achieved, and looks forward to following their music careers as they make their voices and music heard in new and exciting directions.
Three graduated from high school and one from college. We have seen pictures of the “Congratulations, Class of 2020" signs which included their senior pictures placed on their lawns and, videos of virtual celebration and Zoom parties held by their families. These artists have finished their senior years in online classes, have missed sports competitions, award and prize events, senior day, proms and most of all their classmates. Despite their emotions through this difficult time, they have all continued to focus on their music with a dozen new songs being written, have learned new instruments, had numerous performances posted online, and have participated in live streamed events solo and with other musicians. The artists said it was their music that helped relieve the uneasiness they were feeling. They looked ahead from day one of quarantine, and didn’t look at what they personally lost in missing all the activities and attention to their accomplishments, and instead looked to the future and the opportunities that awaited with new goals in their view.
Giuliana Amaral, Stephen Sifflard and Kirsten Bornkessel are dedicated musicians who are celebrating their high school graduations, and Lina Copper has graduated from Berklee School of Music. Each one has come from different backgrounds and have similar visions.
Kirsten Bornkessel writes her songs with honest, raw emotion and a delicate, sweet delivery that mesmerizes audiences. She has worked hard with vocal training, performance opportunities and growing her skills as a songwriter. She's passionate about inspiring others to follow their dreams and love who they are. When asked about songwriting, she said, “Songwriting makes me feel as though I can express myself much more than just having a conversation with somebody. Whenever my emotions are heightened, I’ll sit down at a piano and come up with a simple chord progression. I write lyrics while playing the chords, so essentially whatever I’m thinking spills out into a melody.”
Kirsten was also on the varsity tennis team. She graduated from Oyster River High School, and was accepted to the University of New Hampshire. She's taking a gap year to travel and focus on her musical aspirations. Kirsten has recently finished and released an EP which was a collaboration with New York based producer Alex Houton of AHM Media and mixed by Grammy award-winning engineer Brian Vibberts.
Artists on the Move has observed Kirsten's confidence kick in stronger with each performance, and her development as a songwriter has been impressive as she has explored different music directions. Her song "Enough" is a song that helped many who are confronted with bullies stinging words. The lyrics drive you to feel a victim's emotions. "Say to my face I'm stupid, say to my face I'm lost, but even if I'm clueless, I know that I am enough." The song leaves you with a belief you can get through it with powerful lyrics that bring an emotional charge such as, "Choose who I want to be, and I am confident in me".
Kirsten's advice to the undergrads: “Take this time to focus on goals and aspirations, but also live life to the fullest. It is so important to love who you are as a person. You are unique and have a purpose. Everyone has their own path and can accomplish anything when they put their mind to it."
Listen to her on Spotify and follow her on social media @Kirstenbornkessel.
Giuliana Amaral is 18-year-old singer songwriter and rock band musician who started her musical journey as a classical pianist at 5 years old, and thereafter, studied at the Rhode Island Philharmonic School of Music for several years, and is a graduate of Bishop Stang High School. She is the lead singer and bassist of her cover band, “Band Inc.", which she started at the age of 16, and most recently joined the Led Zeppelin tribute band, Heartbreaker, as a lead vocalist. Her love for entertaining is deep rooted in classic rock bands. Giuliana also loves to write songs and always dreamed of having an original band, so over the last six months she has been working on an EP with a new original band, Legacy. The band will be releasing their first single, "Midnight rider", on all streaming platforms this summer.
Between her solo and band events, Giuliana plays 2-3 times a week in the New England area at top venues, performing three hour rock shows. Raised in New Bedford, MA, Giuliana is a local advocate for music promotion. After years of being bullied in school, she has always found a home and comfort in music. It allowed her to find herself while getting lost in her creative expressions, playing for crowds of people who appreciated her old soul and all in performances. Her sense of community and belonging in the local music scene, has given her a sense of purpose to drive forward to achieve her dreams of becoming a professional touring musician. Giuliana is beyond excited to be attending Berklee College of Music in the fall.
In Giuliana Artists on the Move sees an artist who is all in. She will take on any and all challenges and the longer the shows she is in the happier she is. Her energy is soaring on stage and her command of classic Queen and Led Zeppelin songs in her 3-4 hour shows excites all audiences.
Giuliana's advice to the undergrads: "Never give up on your dreams regardless of what obstacles you face while trying to achieve them."
Follow her on social media @giulianaamaral.
Lina Cooper, a 21-year-old indie-pop singer/songwriter from Ukraine, attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, double-majoring in Contemporary Writing and Production & Songwriting with a minor in Conducting. You can see Lina performing live on radio stations, recording in music studios, and frequently gigging in popular Boston venues. She confidentially steps on stage in her favorite color yellow, exudes warmth and vitality with her unique voice and broad vocal range, and mesmerizes the audience while taking them along on a lyrical journey.
Lina has big plans for her music and recently co-directed a video for a recent release for “By Abe’s” which attracted 2400+ views, and is continuing to write and record new music which will be released over the summer. Her newest song, “This Time”, scheduled for release in a few weeks, is an upbeat pop song swimming with hooks and catchy melodies. Lina is a DIY musician who has strong determination to get her songs heard worldwide. On her recent project she wrote the song completely by herself, produced it, co-mixed it and starred in the music video and co-directed the video.
Her biggest accomplishment was having her research article about a classical guitarist, Andres Segovia, published in a book, as well as being valedictorian in her senior year. At Berklee she grew as a musician, an artist, a songwriter, an arranger, a conductor, and acquired great confidence with each new success. She was able to overcome her fears of performing in front of people, and succeeded in believing in her capabilities and taking the whole process of making music independently. She is eager to learn and become a successful independent artist.
We have seen Lina take on the DIY approach to building her career from the minute we started working with her. She is excited to learn and take on new adventures. Her skills with recording, composing and writing enable her to accomplish a lot in developing new content. She is aggressively in pursuit of advancing her career and loves the adventure of it all.
Lina’s advice to graduates: “I had such a great time at Berklee, I would never trade it for anything else. My advice would be to work as hard as you can, learn as much as possible, meet as many friends and connections as you can and definitely start preparing for your life after college way beforehand. Start working, start sustaining yourself, paying your bills, taking responsibilities and thinking of what you're going to do after. That's what I have been doing since my first year here.”
Follow her on social media @lina_cooper.
Stephen Sifflard is an 18-year-old drummer, vocalist and songwriter who began his musical journey taking drum lessons at 10 years old. Within a few years he and his friends started a cover band called "Soundstreet" and began playing regularly at the Hard Rock Cafe in Boston. In 2018, Stephen began his singing career with the All You Got Tour Band, which is a headlining classic rock cover band that performs and travels all over New England. Within that same timeframe he started an original band called "Roll Over White" as a drummer and vocalist. The band released an EP in 2019 with an album in the works for 2020. Stephen has also simultaneously been working on his solo set. He won 2nd place in New England Sings, which he categorizes as one of his greatest musical accomplishments as it helped build his confidence as a solo performer. The band’s debut EP has over 228,000 streams on Spotify and landed on three editorial Spotify playlists in the early weeks following the release. With a new EP in the works he has been working virtually with his bandmates on getting the songs ready for the studio. Stephen has been involved with Artists on the Move and related entities for many years, and seeing him exploring all types of music and expanding his performance skills both as a band member and on a solo level, has been exciting to observe.
Stephen's hard work has not gone unnoticed. He won the “Academic Excellence in Music” award at Norwell High School, an “Outstanding Musicianship Award” at the 2017 Bridgewater State University Jazz Festival and was inducted into the Tri-M Music Honors Society. Stephen was accepted into Berklee College of Music, and will be attending in the fall 2020. Between his personal music goals and his drive to succeed, Stephen desires to have a professional career in music as a recording artist and touring musician.
Stephen's first association with Patty and Jackie, owners of the All You Got Tour and Artists on the Move was his band's performances at their events at the Hard Rock Cafe. His band always had a great group of fans and their performances earned them awards. Going forward, he joined the tour and our Artists on the Move program, but it was purely by accident we learned his talents went beyond drumming, when one day he stepped to the mic on a song for the tour band to fill in for another singer. Stephen is committed, focused, responsible and responsive, so he is an artist you want to work with and help succeed. He immediately became a lead singer in the All You Got Tour Band, and started to sing in both lead and back up vocals with Roll Over White. His voice is one we called the "hidden gem", as his rich smooth tone is one you want to listen to all night.
Stephen's advice for the undergrads: "Try to do as much as you can and take advantage of as many opportunities as possible during high school. People always used to tell me that high school goes by in the blink of an eye and I never really listened to them, but it definitely does. Don’t second guess yourself and just be you. It’s tough to be yourself during high school because everyone is watching, and it can be frightening. There were a bunch of things I didn’t do during high school because I was afraid of what people would think of me. But looking back on it, I wish I had been more comfortable in my own skin and just done what would’ve made me happy. If you’re scared of high school, I would just say don’t worry because you have plenty of time to figure things out and discover who you are."
Follow him on social media @stephensifflardmusic.
All four artists are future ready to set and achieve new goals in their music careers, and based on all their accomplishments, they will continue to reach new tiers of success.
Written by Jacqueline DeModena and Patty Duffey, Artists on the Move