Hello and welcome back to Gracie Meets! As some of you may know, I’ve been playing the cello for about seven years now and one of the composers that has really followed me and improved my playing is Soon Hee Newbold. Her music has honestly made me who I am today and has helped me grow so much in my music career. So for today’s interview, I have none other than my musical role model, Mrs. Soon Hee Newbold. I’m so happy to be talking to her today, so go ahead and listen to one of the best episodes I’ve produced!
Cover Art: Kyleigh Kinsey. Instagram: @ato._.noodle
Gracie Solomon 0:11
Hello and welcome back to Gracie Meets. As some of you may know, I’ve been playing the cello for about seven years now and one of the composers that has really followed me and improved my playing is Soon Hee Newbold. Her music has honestly made me who I am today and has helped me grow so much in my music career. So for today’s interview, I have none other than my musical role model, Mrs. Soon Hee Newbold. I’m so happy to be talking to her today, so let’s jump right into the spectacular career. Tell me a bit about yourself.
Soon Hee Newbold 0:44
Okay, I was born in Korea, and I was adopted as an infant. So I grew up in Frederick, Maryland. I started piano when I was around five and violin when I was seven through the Suzuki method competed and performed in solo with orchestras solo and in a lot of ensembles, growing up, played professionally pretty much since high school, graduated high school and then went into college and got a music degree with a concentration and music performance and music industry. And I worked at Disney World for four years in the entertainment department playing violin for a lot of conventions and weddings and in their orchestra, as well. I played in the professional symphonies in Florida. And then moved up to California after that, and worked in film industry, and then really got into publishing for orchestra and have been composing ever since. And just traveling, doing guest clinician type things and conducting.
Gracie Solomon 1:45
So why did you decide to choose composing and like a music career?
Soon Hee Newbold 1:51
Well, I actually wanted to do some other things, I had a lot of interest in science and medicine. So I actually started in pre med in college. But I’ve had a lot of opportunities in music, music has always been a really big part of my life and is always something that I did, and I think will always be a part of me. And I was always competing at a high level. So it just made sense, I think, to go into music in some way or another. I didn’t have plans to be a composer, really. But I had a really great opportunity to submit some pieces to a publisher, and they did really well. So the rest is history.
Gracie Solomon 2:31
So why do you think composing isn’t mainstream or normal?
Soon Hee Newbold 2:36
Well, just like the rest of the arts, people need to have like an aptitude for it. They have to have kind of a passion for it and make it work. It’s something that is very competitive, it’s subjective. So you don’t always know what’s going to be popular and what’s going to sell. And so I think a lot of those unknown, just kind of what makes it a more challenging career, and maybe something that not many mainstream people are going to want to do. It’s just a very unique craft. So it’s not a lot of things that I think most people are not going to necessarily have the opportunities or be interested in it in the first place. And then those that are you know, it’s very competitive, but I think anyone can do that they really want to.
Gracie Solomon 3:22
So you mentioned that you started out composing by submitting pieces to a publisher. How do you come up with the music that you’ve composed?
Soon Hee Newbold 3:34
It depends on the work. But a lot of times, I will come up with an idea first. I’m a very visual writer, so I like to see pictures, or I like to write music, based on a story. So I will think of images in my head and then write the music according to that. Most of time, I do chord progressions and kind of sketch out the structure of the piece first, and then I’ll go back and kind of put in melodies and re orchestrate or arrange for the ensemble I’m writing for.
Gracie Solomon 4:06
And you also mentioned before that you went to college, like for music. Do people have to go to college necessarily? Or can they just kind of study music theory?
Soon Hee Newbold 4:17
Well, I think with anything else, it’s really the training that really makes it count. And, you know, college degrees will give you more options, because a lot of companies or a lot of people won’t even consider you unless you have a degree. So it’s just good to have that just because it’ll, it won’t limit you for for things but honestly, to be really good at what you do. You really need to just have really good training and good teachers. And so you don’t have to go to college. You don’t have to have a degree to be really good at something. You just need to find the right people that are going to be able to train you and teach you.
Gracie Solomon 4:54
Okay, so it’s like one of those jobs that you can go to college or you don’t have to
Soon Hee Newbold 5:00
Yeah, depending on what you want to do, if you want to write for, you know, especially with music, if you want to write for somebody or play for somebody, you don’t have to have a degree, it’s all about skill. It’s all about competitive and who’s going to be the best skill. But if you want to go into like teaching or education or some sort of college position, you’re going to need to have a degree.
Gracie Solomon 5:22
Why do you think that teenagers should consider this career for their future? Like, if they’re in music? Now? Why do you think they should consider this?
Soon Hee Newbold 5:31
Well, I think it’s one of those things that if they want to do it, there are a lot of opportunities, and there is a lot out there that they can do to make a good living. So if it’s something that they want to do, I definitely think they should go for it, it shouldn’t be something that they’re afraid of. Now, do I think everyone should go into music? No. For the same reasons that I just listed, it’s competitive, you know, it takes a lot of dedication. It’s a lot of skill, it’s a lot of training, it’s a lot of commitment and discipline. But if it’s something that you want to do, you can definitely do it.
Gracie Solomon 6:06
So you kind of mentioned that anybody could really do this, like if they were in to music, but do they have to have like, specific skills to do it.
Soon Hee Newbold 6:16
I think just like anything else, if you think about it, you know, if you want to be in an Olympic athlete, you know, it does take a bit of talent, and aptitude to begin with, in order to be very successful. So I think anybody could work in music if they wanted to. But it let’s say, if you wanted to be you know, a top performing musician, then you would definitely need to have a little bit of an aptitude or talent for it. But I think the biggest thing that makes the difference is hard work, and just sticking to it. So the people that really succeed are the ones that are always the most challenging, but they’re the ones that work the hardest, and stick with it and keep going.
Gracie Solomon 7:00
That reminds me of a quote from my first interview that I did with a martial arts instructor. The quote was “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” And that just reminded me of it because no matter how much talent you have, in music, and in composing, you still have to work hard.
Soon Hee Newbold 7:20
Yeah, it’s very true. In fact, I’d say some of the most talented people I’ve seen, don’t go into what they’re talented, because they they kind of fizzle out, it’s easy for them, it’s not really a challenge. And they kind of just give up pretty early, but the ones that I find that end up being the best at what they do, are the ones that just worked the hardest and stuck with it.
Gracie Solomon 7:43
If you could , what is one piece of advice you’d give yourself on day one of starting composing?
Soon Hee Newbold 7:50
The same kind of advice that I give to a lot of people now I would just say to keep training, keep practicing, keep doing it, the more you do it, the better you’re going to get and never think that you’ve arrived, you know, you always keep learning, try to always keep growing, because that’s where you’ll keep getting better, and you’ll keep doing more and you’ll find new and innovative ways to be better.
Gracie Solomon 8:15
Do you have a greatest achievement in your career? Because I know you’ve written a lot of music, and a lot of orchestras have probably played it. So is there a greatest achievement?
Soon Hee Newbold 8:26
Well, I think people would think, you know, having your piece played at Carnegie Hall or winning some prestigious award or, you know, some kind of competition award or something like that would be something that you would say, but I think for me, the most rewarding is hearing musicians say that they stayed in music because they enjoyed playing my pieces. Or they’re really excited about, you know, furthering their music career because they love violin or they love the instrument they play and, and, you know, they love the pieces that they play in an orchestra, you know, which I was a part of. So that’s the most rewarding for me is when I hear the impact that I’ve made on on people and being excited about music.
Gracie Solomon 9:12
Like I have had the joys of playing your music in orchestra from sixth grade. And now I’m going into 10th grade. And it is what really kept me in music because your music just showed that there is a story behind everything. You just have to look a little bit deeper.
Soon Hee Newbold 9:32
Thank you that that means a lot that that’s really the most rewarding for for a lot of us composers. Because, you know, ultimately, you know, the dream for composers is that we we write music that is going to be performed and enjoyed by the audience. So when that happens, you know, that’s kind of our biggest dream. So thank you for that.
Gracie Solomon 9:53
Yeah, and thank you for letting me interview you. It is a huge honor for me.
Soon Hee Newbold 9:58
But it’s my pleasure. And thank you so match for what you’re doing. You’re You’re an inspiration and I’m excited to see big and incredible things coming from you in the future. Thanks.
Gracie Solomon 10:09
I think it’s a really neat feature a career path that some jobs can be done without a degree and you can still support yourself, you know? Yeah, it may be harder or limit your opportunities, but nothing is impossible if you’re willing to work hard for it. No normal person could excel at their chosen career path when faced with limits and people who are ready to tell them no, but then again, show me a normal teenager. Thanks for tuning in! If you like Gracie Meets…, subscribe so you can listen everytime a new episode is dropped, and follow Gracie Meets… on Instagram (@gracie.meets). Tune in next Saturday for an electrifying interview with a lineman!