Women turn hatred for music into passion

Young artists want to inspire hope, confidence


Photo by Dara Collins

Sophomore SAEM student Bryana Appley sings a song to her roommate in her dorm room. Appley is an aspiring musician.

Written By Dara Collins, Editor Elect

At six years old, Allissa Logsdon began playing her late great aunt’s piano, and her mother encouraged piano lessons. At 12 years old, she began singing and added voice lessons.

Bryana Appley started playing the piano and violin at nine years old and picked up a guitar for the first time at the same age.

Both women hated what they were doing.

“I hated playing piano and I wanted to quit like a thousand times, but my mom forced me to stay in it, which I’m glad she did now,” Logsdon said.

“I hated [guitar],” Appley said. “I thought it was hard, and I threw it back down.”

Just as Logsdon’s mother forced her to stay in piano lessons, she also forced her to keep with voice lessons. As Logsdon appreciated her mother for the forced piano lessons, she again appreciated her for the forced voice lessons.

In eighth grade, Logsdon began writing music, and she said that is the time she truly began to enjoy it.

“I would always say, ‘what is there to write about, I’m young, I have a good life, so what’s there to write about?’” Logsdon said. “But I always look at other people’s lives and try to write their stories.”

Now 20, the senior sports, arts and entertainment management (SAEM) student has plenty of her own experience to influence her music.

Logsdon described a period of roughly seven years in which she experienced constant detachment, including the removal of lifelong relationships and friendships. She even left her lifelong school district to finish high school education through cyber school.

“There were a lot of times when it was a lot of negativity and discouragement, and I just had to separate myself,” Logsdon said.

With a renewed confidence in herself, Logsdon categorizes herself as a pop-rock artist and relates her dark, dramatic lyrics to that of Evanescence.

Logsdon named Lacey Sturm as her biggest inspiration, a singer from the hard rock band Flyleaf who left to pursue a solo career. Logsdon described Sturm’s music as a story of Sturm’s struggles but remains hopeful, faith-based music.

“My goal in all of my music is to inspire hope somehow […] I’m glad that I was able to go through [those struggles] because it made me who I am today and there’s a better life ahead,” Logsdon said. “I feel that everybody has a purpose, everybody is here for a reason and if you just keep hanging on and believing for better, then you’ll eventually get there.”

Logsdon is well on her way to better.

The current Pioneer Star submitted her music to Pioneer Records since her freshman year and finally won.

“I wasn’t really formed into who I am now as an artist,” Logsdon said. “I was still kind of premature and immature in that way, so this year I felt like I was ready. My style is honed in, I have a little more confidence in myself than I did freshman year so everything just kind of fell in to place perfectly.”

As the Pioneer Star, Pioneer Records will provide funding for Logsdon to record an EP and with that comes a music video and an EP release party at Stage AE. Logsdon also performs at campus events and will have copies of her EP to distribute.

“It’s easing you into it and getting you comfortable to go out into the world if you want to pursue music after all of this,” Logsdon said. “They’ll help you get your press kit together and focus on your branding.”

Outside of Point Park, Logsdon recently recorded a two-song EP with Sturm’s bass player and is currently recording an EP at Red Caiman Studios. In the last year, she competed in a songwriting contest through IHeartMedia Pittsburgh and performed at the Hard Rock Café at the Women Who Rock benefit concert.

Logsdon plans to pursue singing following her graduation in April, but she said she remains “practical” and would also like the stability of a nine-to-five job. She would like to stay in the entertainment realm but is interested in marketing and social media.

However, singing and inspiring hope is the ideal outcome.

“[Fame is] never really something I strive toward, but all I know is I want to be able to share my music with people and just do the best I can,” Logsdon said.

Sophomore SAEM student Appley was born into a musical family. Her drummer father and singer mother met in a band, and Appley believes music was innate to her.

“I guess when I was little I was always singing around the house,” Appley said.

After turning away from the guitar for three years, Appley picked it up again at 12 years old and self-taught with YouTube tutorials and wrote her first song. She posted the video of her song to her Facebook page and received over 500 likes.

Since then, Appley has written 22 original songs.

Despite her musical growth, Appley experienced similar negativity like that of Logsdon, but she said her success is due to her positive mind.

“A lot of kids didn’t like me [in high school], which was fine because I knew who my friends were and I always kind of knew that I had this talent or passion to pursue more,” Appley said.

In high school, Appley went to class, worked part-time and devoted any free time to musicals, songwriting competitions and performing the National Anthem at local events.

“In 2016, I started working in a studio […] that’s when I really started to record,” Appley said. “I wouldn’t say professionally, but it was a lot better of a set up than just me in my bedroom with a $10 mic.”

During her senior year, Appley was awarded the Live Mas Taco Bell Scholarship, which she said opened corporate doors to her career, and was invited to perform at the company Christmas party as well as at a summer scholarship workshop.

With a strong connection with Taco Bell, Appley encourages odd jobs to make connections with everyone.

“It’s one of those things, you never know who knows who, and you never know when you’re going to run into an opportunity that can help you in the future,” Appley said.

Like Logsdon, Appley also has experience with Women Who Rock and currently interns at the organization and hopes to collaborate more with Taco Bell in the future.

“My plan is by the time I graduate is I want to put together a whole electronic press kit, so I want to have my website finished, I want to have a couple really clean, professional tracks and I want to have headshots,” Appley said.

Inspired by Whitney Houston and Taylor Swift, Appley’s future career will promote the values she upholds through her journey.

“Stay true to yourself,” Appley said. “Don’t let what other people say distract you or stop you from following your heart and following what you know you can accomplish because there’s always going to be someone that has a negative thing to say.”

These women were knocked down countless times in a male dominated and seemingly unrealistic industry, but they now stand tall and proud of their art. They turned a distaste for music into a passion, and they soon hope for a successful career.