Today we’d like to introduce you to Marisa Rawlins-Bradfield.
Marisa, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I grew up in Montebello, California. For those that don’t know this little city, it’s on the Eastside of Los Angeles. Both of my parents were working musicians. I always thought I was fortunate to grow up in a musical household. My mother was a professional session singer and my father was a jazz pianist and arranger. I was exposed to so many styles of music and culture that it was impossible to not be a product of my environment. I found my voice early on. My mom was able to submit my work to contractors around town and started placing me on sessions for television and feature films. It was a blast… I knew that music was going to be my forever constant. Moving into high school and college, I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, I sang in choral ensembles at Mt. San Antonio College, Cal State University, Northridge, and graduated from the University of Southern California with a masters degree in music education. My life was surrounded by music, but as a young person, I wasn’t sure how it was going to manifest itself.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Now that I’m an educator; it’s ironic to share that I struggled with school as far as I can remember. I was a miserable student… I lacked motivation, had difficulties concentrating, and I was horrible at advocating for myself. I thought I was going to be an artist and nothing else could inspire me. I had to learn many difficult lessons along the way. When it mattered most, I was so unprepared and devastated to learn that I couldn’t even get into college with my grades as they were. I found my calling, a vocation for choral music while attending Mt. San Antonio College. I met Professor Bruce Rogers and that’s when my life trajectory changed. I fell in love with the art of choral music and singing with others. I learned how to persevere and that the universe has its way of communicating with you. I was meant to go there and meet a mentor that still supports me today. I share this story often with my current students. I think it’s extremely important to be transparent with young people and share stories that can impact their journeys as well.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
Today, I have the honor of working at Providence High School in Burbank. I serve as the Department Chair of the Performing Arts Dept. and Choral Music Director. They have a fabulous message that I stand behind, “You Belong Here”. This place is my second home. I love our students and the support of the administration is undeniable.
Along with my teaching, I own a private voice studio where I’ve had the pleasure of working with professional recording artists, conservatory music program students, and individuals who love to sing as a hobby. My students have appeared on the Disney Channel, ABC, FOX, Lifetime, along with notable performances at the Hollywood Bowl, the Luckman Performing Arts Center, The Broad Stage, the Aratani Japan American Theater, the Ford Amphitheater, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and the House of Blues. I believe in being of professional service and advocating for young people. I am also involved with the Southern California Vocal Association and serve as the Vice President of the Vocal Solo Competition. On Sundays, you can find me singing and conducting in church at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Granada Hills.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Well, I believe that God has a plan. I do. My life has had many peaks and valleys, and I’ve learned the most about myself in the low times. I wouldn’t change the roadmap of my life if I had the chance.
- Website: MarisaRawlins.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rawmisa
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marisa.rawlins.1
Michael Roud Photography