to dream or not to dream...

There is something about the world around us that has always fascinated me - the opportunities, the infinities, the horizons that stretch as far as the eye can see.  The most vivid memory I have, to this day, is watching meteors streak across the wide black sky, the Milky Way spilled from one horizon to the other, constellations cluttering the space between stars - standing there, feeling tiny, feeling absolute microscopic compared to the vastness of everything that lies beyond.

And all of that vastness, all of those opportunities lie at our fingertips.

If you were to ask me why I've chosen to do what I do - to chase music, writing, engineering all at the same time - it would be because of this.

Learn more about what I do by clicking the links below:

Photograph by Felicia Caldwell.  UCLA Luskin Conference Center, 2019.

the trifecta

for me, the trifecta means engineering, music, and writing.

As long as I can remember, I've wanted to be an engineer: contrary to popular belief, I'm neither a music major nor an English major, though I do write both music and English.  When I chose to attend UCLA as an engineering major in 2017, it was specifically because of their electrical engineering program.

In my time at UCLA, I've been involved in IEEE's Advanced Projects, UCLA's 2019 IDEA Hacks, and I'm currently pursuing a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering.  I'm particularly interested in coding and information theory - in high school, I was fascinated by Huffman encoding, and read through Richard Hamming's book on an introduction to coding theory.  Optimistically, I'd like to go into research in coding theory, but it is never possible to plan that carefully, is it?

If you want to know details of my music, navigate here.  Otherwise, to put it shortly:

Since I was young, I've been absolutely obsessed with creating music - and particularly with film scoring.  Since I came to UCLA, I've had the honor of interning with John Swihart ("How I Met Your Mother", "Switched At Birth") and studying with Peter Golub (director, Sundance Film Music Program).

My greatest influences have been film soundtracks and classical music.  I began composing mainly for piano, but I'm now working on multi-instrumental and orchestral compositions as well.

If you want to know details of my writing, navigate here.  Otherwise, to put it shortly:

It's been years since I first wrote a story, and years since I completed my first novel manuscript.  Since then, I've chased publishing, gotten close, decided the manuscript was trash, gone back to the drawing board, and rethought my whole strategy from the ground up - with 12 completed manuscripts under my belt and a novel-length short story collection tied together by one universal theme.  I'm on the verge of pursuing publishing again - it's a long road, but well worth the blood, sweat, and tears.

Currently, I tend to write thrillers set in speculative fiction universes, but I'll write almost anything that isn't pure romance OR any type of erotica.  I've been influenced by - and hopefully learned from - too many authors to list here, but I've been told my style is not too far from Emily St. John Mandel and Ruth Ware.  You can find a list of my favorite books on my Writing page.

a special shoutout

I'd like to give a special shout-out to Ben of The Piano Store in Rocklin.  He - and everyone at The Piano Store - not only sells beautiful pianos and runs an incredible recording studio, but also supports young musicians with so much enthusiasm that it's absolutely humbling.  I am so grateful for all of The Piano Store's support in my musical journey.

I'm also grateful to everybody who's been supporting me at UCLA - you know who you are.

And, of course, I couldn't have done any of this without my parents and my twin sister, my biggest cheerleaders and supporters since day one.  They've been there every step of the way on this thrilling, exciting adventure, and I couldn't be more grateful.  If this journey takes me somewhere special, it's all because they made it possible and gave me the tools I needed to take the first step.

Photograph by Tom Hassing.  UCLA Luskin Conference Center, 2019.


© 2019 by Alethea Sung-Miller.

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