Today we are talking to 23-year-old Tori Lavan, who is originally from California but currently living in Bristol, England. She moved to Bristol in September to work on her Masters in Music Composition. Tori’s main goal is to make a career writing opera. In addition to this, she is working on opening more streams of income with different business endeavours and she also enjoys other creative work like blogging! Tori talks about the extremely hard work that goes in to being a Music Masters and how early mornings are just not her thing. I’m with you on that one ahah!
What were you doing before music and how did you get into it?
I’ve been playing music my whole life. When I was really young I was able to play melodies on the piano by ear. I don’t remember exactly when I decided to make music my career, but somehow I ended up as a music major for my undergraduate degree! I decided to continue with my masters and hope to get a PhD in music.
What’s the best thing you’ve done so far within your music?
March 2017 I premiered the first opera I wrote. That was a crazy journey writing it and rehearsing it, but it was so rewarding. I spend about nine months writing an opera and worked with my friend throughout the school year to bring it to the stage. I can’t describe the feeling of hearing something you worked so hard on being sung and played through with everyone working so hard to make the performance as best as they possibly could. The opera was stressful. It was fun. It was tiring. It was amazing.
What is it like being a music major?
Being a music major may not be what you expect. A music major has all of their core classes, general education (in America), and on top of that have to work on themselves with their instruments or composition. It takes a lot of individual effort and extra time than many other majors. Aside from this, being a music major is part of being in a fun, quirky, sometimes dramatic community. Another funny aspect of this is that many different instrumental players have stereotypical personalities… and often you will find that these are true. There are many colourful characters in the music world, but generally, everyone is really smart, hardworking, and fun to hang out with.
Who is your biggest influence?
My boyfriend is my biggest influence because he pushed me to work hard and accomplish my goals. If I have an idea, he helps me make it a possibility.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
The best advice I received is to make good connections with colleagues and be a good person to work with. Also to be urgent. Hard work now will pay off later.
What do you do in your spare time?
In my spare time, I like to go on adventures. I like to explore new cities or wander around and find something new.
What’s your favourite city and why?
My favourite city is London. It is so beautiful, there is so much to do, and it’s starting to feel like home. I love walking around early before the crowds and getting to know the city. There is always something new to discover.
What is your favourite and least favourite part about music?
My favourite part about music is how it connects people all over the world. We may not speak the same language, but we have this common bond of something we have all worked towards.
My least favourite part is how many people who don’t really have musical knowledge or even talent are making millions of dollars, maybe without really deserving it.
Favourite music at the moment?
I looove opera. I recently went to see some of my favourite operas and it reminded me of my love for it. Don Giovanni and Tosca are my favourite. In addition to this, Brazilian music always makes me feel good! Day-to-day you will probably hear me singing songs from my favourite musicals.
What is a typical day in your life?
I try my hardest to get up at an early hour (ha ha). My favourite thing in the world is to lay in bed in the morning when it’s cold and wake up by watching some Netflix and YouTube. Then I take a shower and make a healthy breakfast smoothie. My days are not really the same because each day I focus on the things that I have to complete. So I will spend my time, for example, working on a composition, sending out emails, buying groceries…. I don’t do too much work in the evening because I like to relax, make a good dinner, and watch some Netflix.
What one product couldn’t you live without?
Dr Bronner’s castile soap. It has so many uses, I can’t live without it! Especially when travelling! I use it as body soap, hand soap, laundry, cleaning, shampoo sometimes, and in desperate moments…it tastes horrible…but you can use it as toothpaste.
As toothpaste!!! Girl, are you sure haha? That doesn’t sound very nice haha.
Three words to describe you
Adventurous, caring, creative
How would you describe your personal style?
This question is hard for me because I feel like I had my style down in California when it was hot and sunny, and then I moved to cold England and I have to re-learn what I like to wear! What I have found is that I like to wear simple pieces but flattering and classy. I like a nice fitted sweater, jeans, and nice shoes. Also, you can’t go wrong with a flattering dress and some sparkly jewellery.
That’s England for you, although right now I’m loving this hot weather!
Best advice to musicians.
Work your hardest but experience life. Do what is not expected of you. Work hard to improve yourself outside of your academic or work setting, but don’t feel guilty for taking a break if you need it. Above all, dream big.
One of Tori’s Compositions: Music
Thanks for reading my lovelies, tune in tomorrow for my interview with Katy Mckenzie.
Sophie Joan x