Life in the Spotlight
A summer internship at a dinner theater and an incredible opportunity to write and record while studying abroad in London are propelling Mikaela Krall ’20 forward to pursue the career of her dreams.
Krall, a music and audio & music production double major, started her musical development at an early age. Her father taught her to play the saxophone at age 5, which progressed to the flute, clarinet, piano, and guitar by age 12. Then she met Nick Graham, a graduate of the Berklee School of Music and University of the Arts, who guided her songwriting and early recording.
“I started to fall in love with writing music when I discovered I could sing when I was cast as Paulette in Legally Blonde in high school,” said Krall. “By the time I finished high school, I was really interested in the recording process after recording a couple of original songs in Philadelphia with Nick. I also grew a passion for theater, after being involved in many musical productions following Legally Blonde.”
When Krall arrived at LVC, she continued honing her skills in music and theater, vacillating between the English and Music departments. She performed in multiple productions with the College’s Wig and Buckle Theater Company and completed an internship at the Pines Dinner Theater in Allentown, Pa. She received funding through the College’s Thaddeus Project, which provides funds for travel and living expenses to humanities and social sciences students who want to pursue internships.
“My internship helped prepare me to become a better performer and sound engineer,” she said. “It offered a real insight into the industry that can’t be learned in a classroom setting. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work in every business. Performing and engineering require practice to become the best at your craft.”
Between her high school and college theater experiences, Krall focused on her music and launched a band, Dipped, her first year at LVC.
“It started as a couple of friends getting together to jam different song ideas I had my freshman year at LVC,” she said. “Two friends, Ryan Gordon and Luis Vera, convinced me to share my songs with other students and form a real band. I started to meet so many diverse, talented musicians through continuing my original music with the name Dipped. More importantly, I had best friends.”
Krall’s band released three singles, produced multiple demos, and performed in Annville, Lancaster, and Philadelphia.
Krall continued with a United Kingdom version of Dipped this fall when she studied abroad at Kingston University in London. Originally looking at drama classes for her semester away, Krall found a better fit with the music technology courses, taught in partnership with legendary producer Tony Visconti, who produced some of legendary rocker David Bowie’s music.
“The benefits of taking the recording classes at Kingston are infinite,” she said. “I became a more knowledgeable—and more confident—engineer. The professors in the Kingston Music Technology Program want you to feel comfortable in your element. The opportunities to record are endless at Kingston, and the exploration of tape and analog is incredible. When I return to LVC, I’ll be able to use all the skills gained by continuing to practice them in the audio program and LVC’s studios.”
Along with her practical knowledge, Krall grew her recording résumé. Upon her arrival in London, she shared a demo of her previous Dipped recordings with the Acid Grass record label at Kingston University. That led to connections with two fellow students who recruited additional friends to perform Krall’s single “Sunshine” for the label’s compilation record. The group went on to play live and record five additional songs.
“The faculty in the LVC Music Department is supportive of students’ personal music projects by helping them oversee student-planned shows and always being willing to listen to a new recording,” she said. “While I was at Kingston, I continued to take lessons over Skype with Dr. [Justin] Morell. He is one of the reasons I continued to work toward my goal of completing my project. He always takes the time to listen to what I’m working on and gives a thoughtful analysis that is always beneficial.”
As she approaches graduation, Krall plans to continue writing music for Dipped and auditioning for regional theater. She is also looking for positions as an assistant engineer at a recording studio or working for a record label.
“When I started college, I felt out of place and uncertain about who I wanted to be seen as and what I wanted to do with my love for music,” she said. “I did not think I would have accomplished as much as I have in these four years. I am thrilled that my mom pushed me to explore all my passions and jump right in without fear. I have been able to study theater and recording at LVC to an extent I never thought possible.”