Seafarer and Singer-Songwriter, Alissa Musto, shares inspiration behind her new single
Q: Please introduce yourself to the readers and how you first got into this field of work and who were some of your influences growing up?
Hello! And thank you for interviewing me!
My name is Alissa Musto and I am a musician, singer and songwriter based in Boston, MA. However, over the past few years I have had the pleasure of traveling around the world as an entertainer aboard luxury cruise ships. Growing up in a family of professional musicians, my father introduced me to the piano when I was 4 years old and has remained one of my biggest influences. My original music is inspired by piano-based singer-songwriters like Billy Joel, Ben Folds, Regina Spektor and Christina Perry, as well as pop artists like Lorde and Lana del Rey.
Q: What kind of training have you had, if any?
When people find out I’m from Boston, the most frequently asked question I get is whether I attended Berklee School of Music — I did not!
Although I was classically trained as pianist and studied music throughout my childhood, I actually went to college for something completely different: politics. I earned my degree in government to prepare me for law school. However, I went in a completely different direction after graduation and decided to pursue my true passion, music.
I did ultimately get my Master of Music in Music Business and Entertainment Industries from the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, which Billboard Magazine has consistently named one of the best music business schools.
Q: What has been one of the biggest highlights/achievements of your career?
Over the course of performing hundreds of shows and meeting thousands of people, there have really been so many great memories; its hard to narrow down.
There are a few moments I would relive over and over again; being called into the top 15 on the live Miss America telecast as millions of people watched at home, the first time I played an original song on a big stage with a band for a full audience, my first performance in New York City, the first time my dad saw my show on a cruise ship, and above all, every single time somebody has written me or told me that my music affected their life in some way. These may not be the type of career achievements that you would read about on my website or resume, but they’re the moments that make me remember why I do what I do and empower me to push through those not so glamorous times.
Q: You just released a new single, “How Still”. What was the inspiration for this song?
I was still working a board a cruise ship when all major cruise lines announced they would be suspending operations mid-March. I was lucky enough to get sent home, but there are still about 100,000 crew members stuck on cruise ships around the world, including many Americans being denied repatriation in their own country. Meanwhile, crew at home are faced with an unprecedented uncertainty about the future of their careers; I have many close friends on both sides of that double-edged sword. Lyrically, I wanted to strike a balance between a message of hope, while shedding light on the very real struggles facing seafarers around the world and mourning the collapse of the cruise life and industry as we knew it.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for your Music video?
Honestly, I didn’t need to think too hard. The music video isn’t “based on a true story“; it is a true story. I was living my dream and was about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime when the pandemic brought everything to a screeching halt. Of course, I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m home. I’m healthy. My family is safe and healthy. But I miss my life. And my friends. And being on stage. More than ever, I am so appreciative of the beautiful places, cultures, people and life I’ve experienced during my time onboard and I find myself thinking about them often throughout the day.
I invited seafarers from around the world to send in short videos and selfies expressing what they want the world to know about the cruise industry, to feature in the music video. While cruise ships haven’t been painted in the best light during the pandemic, I want to show that WE are the faces of the cruise industry and how this affects all of US.
Q: If you had a chance to work alongside anybody who would that be?
A co-writing session with Bruce Springsteen would honestly be a dream come true; he is a brilliant songwriter and performer and I admire his ability to tell such rich stories with his lyrics.
Q: Do you have any advice for young music makers like yourself?
Listen and learn as much music as you can; in order to make great music, you need to know the greats that came before you. Always keep working on making your music and sound the best it can possibly be. Even when you think, “yeah, this is good”, always strive for better. I don’t think that in music creation and business, you ever truly “arrive”; there is always a new milestone to aspire for.
Q: What is the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?
Sadly, the cruise industry has been in the news quite a bit again this week. The night before my new song was released, I read an article confirming there were still 100,000 crew members stuck at sea. I knew that this was a problem, and have several close friends onboard. However, I honestly didn’t know that these numbers were still so high. Of course, I am happy that light is finally being shed on this issue and that the mainstream media is picking up on it, making people aware of what is going on. However, my heart still breaks for all of those crew members away from their families and homes during the biggest crisis of our lifetime.
Q: What are your favorite venues to perform in?
There are a few that definitely stand out to me. I remember before going on stage at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, walking through a hallway lined with portraits of other musicians who had performed there, including some of my favorites like Bruce Springsteen and Elton John. It was surreal performing on the same stage that my idols had graced.
Performing on the iconic House Of Blues stage was also another favorite, especially because I was accompanied by my brother and best friend.
Even after traveling around the world, there’s nothing like performing in my hometown of Boston. There are a certain realness, rawness, and sense of community in Boston that really can’t be described in words and there are definitely times when I miss singing in those dive bars and piano bars. You’ll never hear a crowd belt out Sweet Caroline as enthusiastically as they do in Boston.
Q: What new projects are you currently working on?
Being in quarantine, I’ve had a lot of time to work on new original music and collaborate with my brother and sister on new writing and recording projects. My goal is to have a new album out by the end of the year.
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