UM Student Alessia Releases Debut EP
Alessia Cusumano, a junior at the University of Miami just released her first EP, “4ME”. As an emerging artist, she talks about the major influences in her life as well as how her musical career began.
Where are you from? Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in New Jersey and came to Miami for college. I’m currently a theater major- double minoring in journalism and music business. My major and minors are all so different but very connected which makes me even more passionate about all of them.
How/when did you get started in the music business?
I actually started doing theater when I was 5 years old and I learnt the piano and a little bit of guitar along the way, but I always just wanted to do musical theater.
Everything changed the summer before college started; that’s when I started to record some music and I made my first song and I uploaded to SoundCloud, but I really didn’t know what I was doing. I just knew from being in the studio that I loved being in there.
March sophomore year I released 3 A.M. I was collaborating with artists on campus and with a rapper named Mylestone as well as an R&B artist, Isaiah Walker. I fell in love with what I was doing and it made so much sense that it made me realize this is what I wanted to do. It just really found me along the way.
In regards of my EP Russell Hayden, a producer from NJ, had reached out to me to do a collaboration so I met up with him and I asked him if he wanted to produce my first EP and he said yes so that’s how it all happened.
Inspiration and process?
I usually draw from real life experiences. My first single was about coming to college, which was so different from high school. Here, a lot of boys were reaching out to me and my friends just for a one night thing and I felt so angry because I wanted for boys to respect us for our minds and not only for our bodies. That’s how 3 A.M. made me realize that I want someone who respects me from what’s on my mind.
My EP is another different story, this one is about my breakup from a very rocky relationship last year. He was my first love and also my music producer, so the connection was very real.
Your work often talks about love and breakups. What is the role of this in your music?
Breaking up with my first real love was a huge moment for me, and my album was my grieving process. It was really hard and I cried a lot and I was really sad a lot, so the first song on the album that made the EP Without You means a lot to me because writing that song was how I began to get over him when I realized my strength and when I realized that I don’t need a man to succeed.
Moving onto the next song in the album, Relapse was more about how I would still feel like I missed him from time to time but it’s all part of the “grieving process.” I think breakups are so important. I healed from it and became a better me. Towards the end of the summer I had realized that I’m going to love myself more than anyone else and as long as I’m aware of that no one can break me, only I can do that to myself.
Influences? Favorite contemporaries?
I love H.E.R, she is one of my favorite R&B artist. I also look up to Daniel Caesar and Kehlani.
But my inspiration or influences really can come from anything. Sometimes my producer would send me a beat and if I’m feeling it, I start writing about how it makes me feel and they would suddenly spark and idea and feeling and I just start to write.
Favorite thing about what you do?
I think the best thing is helping people. We are in an age in college where so many of us are going through break ups and finding ourselves while we are still trying to figure out love and life. I had a couple of girls and boys reach out to me thanking me for my EP because it spoke to them and helped them to get through their breakup.
It is such a gratifying thing. It helps me so much as well. It’s good to know that you’re not alone when you are going through a heartbreak and that there’s other people feeling the same way you do.
What’s the next thing you are working on?
I’m about to drop a single with Mylestone, that should be out within the next few weeks. It’s called Don’t Give Up. Other than that, I’m just writing and recording. I don’t really know if I’m trying to make another album or singles but I will probably just release some more singles.
I’m just living life and waiting for inspiration to hit.
Follow her on Instagram: @alessianoell