Songstress seeks out solo success
Painted fingernails hit the guitar strings, and her hands strummed the chords to Coldplay’s “The Scientist.” As she sat at the kitchen table with her guitar in her lap, the notes left her vocal chords in perfect tune.
Miranda Mendoza, a 19-year-old communication major at CSUN with the gift of music, decided to take her feet out of the music business pool to focus on the discovery of what other talents college could highlight.
Mendoza’s mother, Jennifer Moss, was a recording artist in her 20s who decided to leave the business after her image was at the mercy of industry executives. This would become the tale of Mendoza’s own experience in the entertainment machine of Los Angeles.
For a moment, she thought she made it. During her junior year of high school in 2009, Mendoza released a single on iTunes and a music video on YouTube.
While other teenagers were at the movies or parties, she was in a recording studio. With headphones on her ears and her mouth to microphone, Mendoza visualized herself on the road to success.
“You see kids growing up saying they want to be famous, and a lot of them don’t do anything to get on the path there, while I was spending Friday nights in a recording studio,” Mendoza said. “Not only was I excited because I gained legitimacy from making money from it, because that’s when you become a professional, but I also felt proud of the fact that I was taking the reigns on my future.”
Moss encouraged her daughter with caution.
“I checked myself to make sure I wasn’t the typical stage mom and made sure music was something she wanted to do, not something I was imposing upon her,” Moss said.
Her manager at the time continuously tried to change her image and even pushed her to sing country music, a genre with which Mendoza did not resonate. The manager went so far as to urge Mendoza to drop out of high school and to restrict her from posting her relationship status on Facebook for fear of disappointment by fans.
“I had just started dating someone, and he was my first boyfriend,” Mendoza said. “She said I couldn’t be with him or post about my relationship.”
“You can’t tell me who to be with” was Mendoza’s response, and she said the blowout event combined with her lack of control over her song choices forced her to dissolve the contract with her manager.
Unhappy with the bubblegum-pop image she was forced to portray, she even removed her music video from YouTube.
“I had an emotional breakdown,” said Mendoza, who feared she would turn her back on the only talent she loved.
Her mother watched the struggle and hoped her daughter would realize a musical career was not the end-all-be-all of success.
“She’s beautiful and she has brains, so I’m hoping as a single mother that I raised her to want to be cherished for everything she is, and not just her looks,” Moss said of the image-obsessed business.
Mendoza, now a member of CSUN’s a cappella group Acasola, remains positive about her future with music.
“I thought if I was going to have anything to do with the music industry, I wanted to be close to L.A., because that was only logical to me,” Mendoza said. “I figured CSUN gave me a choice of being able to do something professionally with music.”
Estefania Padilla, a long-time friend of Mendoza and fellow Acasola member, said she could still visualize her friend in the entertainment business.
“I can totally see Miranda as a pop star,” said Padilla, 18, communications. “She has the look and the sound.”
Although Mendoza may have not completely ditched the idea of pursuing a future singing career, she now focuses completely on her college education and satisfies her hunger for music through Acasola.
“I’m still very positive about music. I don’t feel like it let me down at all because it’s still always there for me, and I feel very content with how I have it in my life through Acasola,” Mendoza said. “I really want to find myself outside of music and figure out what else I am good at…I’m excited to find out what other things I could possibly do.”