Briana Hunter '08: Big Dreams Realized

Briana Hunter '08 headshot

Briana Hunter '08

"People think they would be no different without art in the world, but it would be devastating," said Briana Hunter '08. "There's always something to be discovered, and it's always with you."

Hunter is living these words every day as a professional opera singer in New York City. She is learning more about herself, her art and what success means to her. She has also learned more about her interests and skills.

“I felt often that I couldn't choose just one thing I loved,” she said. “Even when choosing my major, I loved English, I loved Classics, I loved French, I loved Psychology, I loved fine Art, Theatre and Music ... I find that all of those things fit into the puzzle that once just looked like scattered, disparate pieces. I think that also just comes with age – you figure out how to love and integrate all of the parts of you and create your own adventure that can look nothing like what's been done before.”

Hunter counts among her successes the creation of Bare Opera, an opera company she built from the ground up with friends and colleagues. They launched in 2014 and are in the process of planning their 4th season and their 9th and 10th full productions.

When Hunter came to Davidson, she was searching for a college with a strong arts culture that would introduce her to the thing she would fall in love with. She thought that thing would be anthropology or English. What she didn't expect was that she would choose to make art her profession, and opera was certainly never a top consideration.

"That was a real eye-opener for me," she said. "I had to stop and remind myself that if I'm going to do this, I need to buckle down. I'm about to be a tiny fish in a huge pond, and talent only gets you so far. Intelligence only gets you so far. You have to step up and put in the hard work."

"I loved studying theatre and music," said Hunter. "Diane Thornton in the music department really gave me the confidence to pursue a career in music—a decision I had been struggling with even before Davidson—and, of all things, an operatic career. It turns out that the theatrical element combined with the musical complexity made it a perfect choice."

Davidson prepared Hunter for her future in more ways than one. It wasn't just the technical training; she had to learn a few things the hard way. She recalled one play rehearsal where she was completely unprepared and had not learned her lines, and a professor was stern and said he expected more from her.

"That was a real eye-opener for me," she said. "I had to stop and remind myself that if I'm going to do this, I need to buckle down. I'm about to be a tiny fish in a huge pond, and talent only gets you so far. Intelligence only gets you so far. You have to step up and put in the hard work."

Her advice to students thinking about “making it” in the music industry?

“Learn about everything! We are in the business of humanity and all it entails. Also learn to be a complete entrepreneur. You will be running your own business, YOU LLC. Learn all aspects of what that entails, marketing, branding, how to read contractual agreements, etc. Be as aware and in charge of your own destiny as possible in that regard.”

Visit Briana Hunter's Website for more information

Published

  • June 17, 2019

Category

  • Arts & Creative Engagement