By Jerry Duggan
Columbia, Mo. (June 10, 2019) — Alaina Curran was in “Netflix and pajama mode” when she got a phone call that changed her life forever.
The day after getting a rejection from her dream company, her morale was low. She picked up a burrito from Chipotle and hunkered down at her apartment for the evening, feeling down on her luck. While she was eating, her phone rang. Not recognizing the number, she answered with some trepidation, as it was after 9 p.m. On the other end, she was greeted by a representative from Capitol Records in Los Angeles and was informed that she was selected to interview for a summer internship. With that call, her dream was set into motion, as she was offered the position after several rounds of interviews.
Curran, originally from the St. Louis suburbs, didn’t plan on attending MU and a degree in journalism was definitely not on the radar. “I originally was looking at schools in Chicago, but Mizzou ended up being the best option for my family financially, so here I was,” she said.
Curran, BJ ’19, has always had a passion for music, but was unsure of how exactly to turn that into a career. Her sophomore year, she declared her journalism major but at the same time, became committed to pursuing her passion of music.
“I had a ‘coming to Jesus’ moment walking through Lowry Mall,” she recounted. “In this moment I realized my passion was music, and decided to do everything I could on campus to get myself involved in that way. Seriously, I found every music club and organization and threw myself in the fire. I started with KCOU, Mizzou’s student-run radio station. I interned at The Blue Note. I did everything I could to stay involved with music.”
In the meantime, she decided on an interest area of strategic communication within the J-School.
“The strat comm courses I took equipped me with skills that I felt I could ultimately apply to my passion of music, such as specifying a target audience, understanding that audience and asking them the right questions,” she said. “My courses also taught me how to come up with concepts and execute them, as well as develop a strategy for a campaign.”
With her days as an MU student behind her, she is excited about what lies ahead, even though she might not have a clear job description or layout of her future at this point.
“I wouldn’t expect people to understand this feeling and unique connection I have to music, but it’s very real,” she said. “If they understood that feeling, they would understand why I want to throw myself into the fire, in this overarching, scary industry that people warn you away from.”
As Curran prepares to head to L.A., she’s unafraid, knowing this is the next big step to get her to her dream. She’s also glad that she can finally quiet the doubters, who were many, now that her hard work has paid off.
“The first time I ever went to California as a freshman in high school, I recorded a video of myself saying ‘Alaina if you work hard, you can live here, so work your — off.’ And here I am.”
Updated: November 10, 2020