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Rising Stars: Meet Rhian Bristol

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rhian Bristol.  

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I was born and raised in Encinitas, California. I have been singing and performing in one or another since I was 2 years old. I wrote my first song at 10, had my first gig at 14, and have, over the years, worked to grow as a musician. While in high school at the Grauer School, I earned multiple music and recording arts awards including, at the age of 16, the national Quincy Jones Musicianship Award. It was also in high school that I discovered my passion for teaching music to younger students and was recognized by the San Diego Union-Tribune and 92024 Magazine for my original song, “A War That Can’t Be Won” about civil rights activist Juliette Hampton Morgan which gained nationwide attention. I have performed all over San Diego County at venues including The Roxy, Tower 13, Aztec Brewing, Queen Bee’s, Encinitas Street Fair, Encinitas Chamber of Commerce, Leucadia Art Walk, UNIV, La Costa Coffee, and the San Diego County Fair. After graduating from the Grauer School in Encinitas, I chose to attend California Institute of the Arts to pursue a BFA in Music and VoiceArts Performance. Today, I am a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer working on completing my first EP.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
The obstacles I face today are mostly self-generated. I’d say writer’s block and a fear of completion are the big ones for me. However, growing up, I was always told I was too loud, too happy, too emotional, and too something that didn’t fit in. Elementary school was an especially painful time for me, and I was bullied relentlessly for just being myself. I spent many years doubting my abilities, something I worked hard to overcome. I have always had to work hard at everything and have always dedicated myself to succeed in both my academics and my art. Music has always provided a safe space for me to express myself and saved me on more than one occasion.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I sing, write, play piano, guitar, and bass, and also produce my own music. I am mostly self-taught and am always looking for new things to learn. I have been experimenting using my voice in unconventional ways, altering it electronically to create all my instruments with only my voice – drums, synths, arpeggiators…just about anything. Right now, singing and songwriting are my focus, and performing live whenever I have the opportunity. I am working on an EP and am excited to be releasing new music soon.  I am especially loving being able to get back to performing live around LA and San Diego and I am looking forward to being back on the San Diego County Fair stage. I have loved donating my time to perform my music at benefit concerts at Aztec Brewing and The Smell in Los Angeles. Outside of my personal music, I am the administrative assistant at the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony and the personal assistant to the conductor, Dr. Noreen Green, am a voice actor for character animation films, a theory tutor at CalArts and a model for music videos and local businesses.

How can people work with you, collaborate with you, or support you?
I have been lucky to have a great support system. My family has loved, supported, and encouraged me personally and musically every step of the way. Local musician, Semisi M’au, was the first person to really acknowledge my music and encourage me to perform live. San Diego Recording Engineer and Music Producer, Christian Cummings was patient and supportive when I recorded my first single at 16. My vocal coach, Micaela Tobin has supported my work, inspired my musical experimentation, and helped me improve my vocal techniques. I also now have a supportive group of friends that accept me and encourage me to pursue my music. I love to collaborate and have had the opportunity to do that this year with other musicians and artists this past year. Creating makes me excited. Music makes me excited. I am always open to working with other artists.

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Image Credits

Tony Nolley

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