A Mixtape of Music and Science – Interview with Laura Frias
Can passion for music intersect with a profound interest in human sciences? Spoiler alert: Yes! (And really successfully too).
Laura is a 24 year-old pioneer living in Los Angeles, California. After earning her bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science and Consumer Marketing Behavior at USC, she received a life-changing opportunity: working as an assistant manager for one of the biggest music companies in the world.
Recruiting new artistic talent, helping out with weekly concerts, and getting to meet amazing stars are just some of the activities Laura now gets to do for a living. Here are some of Laura’s thoughts on being herself, her college experience and how she worked to find the job that fit her.
Hi Laura, let’s help our readers get to know you better. What are the three words you’d use to describe yourself?
Energetic, charismatic and competitive.
What is one activity you really enjoyed doing when you were young and what did you enjoy about it?
I remember wanting to dance all the time. It wasn’t anything professional, I just really enjoyed blasting music with my friends or by myself and coming up with dance routines for the songs that I really liked. I guess it was my mechanism for self-expression. Twirling around and singing at the top of my lungs made me feel free from the stress I felt inside.
I agree with you that dancing can be very therapeutic. How else do you think you express yourself creatively now?
Aside from music, I’ve always enjoyed visual arts, especially the fashion world. Coming up with unique outfits is something that I try to do every day because it allows me to speak about who I am without having to say any words. I go for pastel colors or anything that matches my bubbly and cheerful personality.
What did you study in college and how did you decide on that field(s)?
I started at USC as a neuroscience pre-medicine major. I thought I wanted to be a doctor because of my long interest for the sciences, specifically human science. I’ve always been intrigued about how the mind works and the sense of purpose behind people’s actions. Once I moved to Los Angeles, I began to be influenced by the entertainment industry and gained more curiosity about redefining my sense of self and creativity. I saw potential in combining the artistic world with science and changed my major to cognitive science because it was applicable to both.
Cognitive science is an interdisciplinary science of the mind that combines elements of philosophy, linguistic and biology. I studied the human mind and the mental processes of how people think, recall and so much more. Its focus was more towards the sciences, so I decided to double major in Consumer Marketing Behavior to also learn more about the business world. I think it was the perfect complement to what I was looking for.
What is it that you enjoyed most about your major and how do you think it relates to who you are as a person?
The way the academic curriculum was structured in my school gave me autonomy to choose all of my classes, so I liked being able to adapt what I studied to my academic and creative interests. I also used this as an opportunity to learn more about myself and my own potential around thinking and making decisions, and believe I still apply this knowledge in many different situations.
What is your current job and how does it relate to your majors?
I work in the artistic and repertoire department in the music business in LA – which consists of finding new talent and developing potential artists from the ground up. It takes a strong understanding of the market, consumer trends and forecasting information, but music also has a huge psychological aspect that I think many people disregard.
With the rising impact of social media, people segment themselves by what they listen to in their daily lives. It is super interesting to associate certain music trends with personal and cultural identities by analyzing why people listen to what they do or how people identify with different types of music. I truly believe that cognitive and psychological insights into trends is a critical component for the 21st century.
What’s one secret you’d share about working in the entertainment business?
Consumer behavior 101: humans have a tendency to like familiarity. If you think about it, everything is kind of a repetition of past trends: choker necklaces, mom jeans, the list goes on. The new generations will always adapt elements of the past in a familiar and adaptable manner.
What direction are you thinking of taking your career? Any specific goals or aspirations?
I would love to work with more artists that have a strong creative vision, not just musically but visually as well. A goal of mine is to work with visionary artists that are not afraid to go against convention while still remaining honest to themselves.
What’s your definition of happiness and what are you doing to achieve it now?
Happiness, for me, is a feeling of contentment with where you are and what you have. We should all aspire to do better and be bigger, but also to remember to be grateful of where you are, even if it means just being alive.
Adding onto that, I’m happiest when I make other people happy. I believe kindness and compassion are the strongest and most truthful path towards reaching world peace. With my job, I get to bring people together and make dreams happen and it’s so very rewarding.
What advice you would give someone aspiring to expand their professional career?
Remember that everyone is running their own race. Make sure you’re looking inwards so that you can apply your own qualities in purposeful ways. Be proactive, even if you’re only taking the smallest steps, and I guarantee success will naturally fall into your path.
Laura is a huge inspiration, not only as an older sister, but also as the intelligent and distinctive person that she is. Her hard work is clearly showing off and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her.
If you want to find more about Laura, feel free to catch her on her social media platforms:
Spotify: Laura Frías
Join us for occasional installments of The Self-Power Club, authored by students for students, as we explore personal journeys through career development and self reflection.