Stepping into the studio- whether its for the first time or the 100th- can be one of the most incredible and most intimidating experiences of a career in music. Taking this step, especially for the young artists that are part of AYA, requires courage, practice, and an ability to take feedback without losing the most important quality of all: confidence.

For the past three weeks, we’ve been observing and supporting students as they bring their songs out of their schools and into local studios to record them professionally for our albums. Along the way, we’ve also been reflecting on the past 5 months and thinking about how we as an organization can continue to grow and improve the work we do with young artists. And just like our students’ studio sessions, the process isn’t always easy. But the answer, we’ve found, often goes back to the same concept: confidence.

For a young artist like our students, confidence is what allows you to push beyond your comfort zone- to do something you’ve never done before. It’s what allows you to sing in the studio, or on the stage, with the same energy and passion that you sing with in the shower, or in your room alone. But it’s also what allows you to listen to and apply feedback from your peers and mentors, without losing what makes you uniquely you. This is what makes for a great song, and a great artist. But it’s also what makes for a great organization.

As we wrap up our third year supporting our Aspiring Young Artists, we’ve been reflecting on what we do well and where we need to get better. In some cases, much much better. So we’ve been listening to our students and our mentors, and preparing to make some very necessary changes for the years to come. But just like our amazing students, we are making sure not to lose our energy, our passion, and what makes us uniquely us.

Check out the pictures below for a behind-the-scenes look at our 2018 Studio Sessions, and keep an eye out for new music coming soon. In the meantime, move, plan, and grow with confidence. Much love.