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Kristen Conti: A Reporter with a Passion for Music — MARIST CIRCLE – Marist College The Circle

Despite focusing on being a full time reporter, Conti still feels that it is important for her to share her personale stories through music. Source: Kristen Conti
Time is all one needs to unlock a door full of new possibilities and avenues. During the spring of 2020, free time was all we had. While some filled their days with baking new recipes and DIY projects, others finally took that time to throw themselves into long awaited passion projects. For Kristen Conti ‘21, a period of time with nothing to do except stay at home was all she needed to pursue something out of her comfort zone.  
As a former member of MCTV and the Marist Circle, her true passion throughout college was journalism. Conti interned for Entertainment Tonight and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon as well as with a number of magazines which landed her at her current job at NBC Sports as a digital editor. 
Stepping into the world of music was not something she considered while working towards her career. But once the pandemic created such an ample amount of free time, Conti decided to dive head first into her musical interests. Writing music was not something new for Conti, she explained, because as a journalism major, writing is involved in every aspect of her life. Writing articles and research papers soon morphed into writing her own creative pieces, including music. “I felt like I could write my feelings – put pen to paper and make them creative through music. I didn’t know another outlet where I could express that.” 
Many of these songs began to develop when she was 17-years-old, so by the time the pandemic came, she had a variety of musical content: lyrics in her phone notes, voice memos, journals and ample amounts of time to work on them. However, Conti did not realize how many extra elements there were when it came to the process of working seriously on her music. “I did not realize how difficult it would be to find a producer and get your song mixed and mastered and get it to be on all streaming platforms and all the marketing. It is really a lot of stuff.”
Eventually, Conti was able to find a producer to help her produce her first single, “Prove Me Wrong.” Upon the release of her single, it was the first time anyone had heard her sing before. Yet Conti received much positive feedback, specifically on her writing, something she was very proud of. 
Still, Conti acknowledged that none of this necessarily came easy, as she entered this type of industry rather naively. Eventually, she was able to find her way and move onto her current producer that she has a much better relationship with. “I learned what to look for and how to trust people, because people all have different motives… it is important to have a good head on your shoulders that will guide you through this industry.” 
Something Conti is still learning to accept is social media criticism and opinions on her music, as much of what she releases are vulnerable pieces of work. Yet despite the occasional discouragement, Conti never lets the opinions of others set her back in any way. Specifically, many of the artists Conti looks up to have faced a number of criticisms on even larger scales, which is something that inspires her to keep moving along with her music. “I love Billie Eilish with a passion, I think she is incredible. Since I was a kid, Taylor Swift has always been my inspiration and Mac Miller.”
Currently, Conti states how much of her music gives off a similar Olivia Rodrigo, Billie Eilish and Gracie Abrams type of style. This style is specifically seen in her most recent single, “Why’d You Take It Out On Me.”
And when asked about the inspiration behind her newest single, we both shared a laugh over the answer: a Marist boy. “It’s just honest experiences that I have that are super detailed…and that is the point of my work. I want it to be super detailed and I want it to tell my stories. If you listen to them, you will kinda know about the inside of my life.” Conti notes that being so vulnerable was also difficult, as it was the first time she was so open about her experiences. But rather than keeping them to herself, she figured if she shared them with the world, her experiences may help others. 
As someone who just took a small step into the music industry, Conti still feels like she has much more to learn. However, she knows there is one key piece of advice she can give to someone who is nervous to release such vulnerable pieces of work, like she does. “Once you decide you want to do it, all you have to do is seriously commit… it is just a matter of sticking with it and if you really, really want to do it, you will do it.”
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