Elizabeth Gillen ’19, Battle of The Bands Underdog
Elizabeth Gillen ’19, a Computer Science major and Music minor, talks about her love for music, her time here at Arcadia, and her hopes for sharing her music on Spotify while also working as a programmer in Florida after graduation.
What made you come to Arcadia?
I came to Arcadia for a variety of reasons, but it all came down to the sense of community. I liked that it was a smaller school, and I could tell it was a tight-knit environment when I came to admissions events. I was also happy to hear that there is a Music program with lots of lessons and groups I could partake in, as well as other clubs and activities on campus.
Where did your love for music come from?
I’ve loved to sing for as long as I can remember—my mom says I used to walk around singing “Tomorrow” from the musical Annie when I was in diapers. I’ve just always done it, and I’ve always been encouraged to keep doing it, which led me to my first singing competition when I was 8. From then on, I did lots of other competitions, festivals, and some of my own gigs as well.
I remember you saying this wasn’t your first time performing at Battle of the Bands?
Yes, I performed at Battle of the Bands both my first and second year at Arcadia—and I would’ve performed last year if I wasn’t abroad! I really love this event. I was very intimidated my first year because it was the longest performance I had ever set out to do (you get 30 minutes to play). But planning out something to this scale was actually a stepping stone to getting some gigs of my own later on. It was also my first time ever performing an original song live, and it has been really rewarding to see my collection of original work grow each year since then.
What are your plans for after college?
After college, I’m moving to Florida with my boyfriend after a year of long distance. We’ll both be programmers, but I’m hoping to be able to do some gigs on the side. I also do a lot of recording for my YouTube channel and plan to get my music onto Spotify soon, so I’ll be working on those as well.
Does any of the influence for your music come from your time here at Arcadia?
Yes, Arcadia has definitely had an effect on me and my love of music! As far as the technical aspects of it all, the various classes I’ve taken within the minor have taught me a lot about singing and composition, and I’m walking away very inspired to continue writing and performing my music. Otherwise, I’d say life at Arcadia has inevitably found its way into the content of my music. I write about my life and experiences, like any other songwriter, and the songs I have written over the past four years are definitely snapshots of my life here.
Any other fun facts you’d like to share?
Sometimes I sing in Russian! My mom is from Russia, and I grew up listening to a lot of Russian music, so I’ve covered a few of those songs over the years.