to dream or not to dream...

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 Benjamin Nieves. The Recording Place in Rocklin, California. 2019.

the trifecta

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

Contrary to popular belief, I'm neither a music major nor an English major, though I do write both music and English: I am currently pursuing a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering at UCLA.

The discipline is a fascinating one, and every class I take makes me love it even more. Since I was five years old, I have dreamt of being an engineer, so - while I am so incredibly grateful for the chances I've had thus far in pursuing music and writing - in a way being able to pursue engineering is most special of all, because it was my very first dream.

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, sent out multiple queries, decided the manuscript was trash, gone back to the drawing board, and rethought my whole strategy from the ground up. Between 2014 and 2020 I wrote fifteen full-length manuscripts, only to shut the majority of them in a drawer. But each manuscript helps me practice and improve, and the more I write, the deeper I fall in love with the craft.

I most enjoy writing speculative fiction and suspense: science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and thrillers. I also hope to get into historical fiction. I've been influenced by - and hopefully learned from - too many authors to list here, but my favorite authors are Emily St. John Mandel and Ruth Ware; I believe a crucial part of learning how to write is to read widely.  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 Benjamin Nieves. The Recording Place in Rocklin, California. 2019.

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© 2020 by Alethea Sung-Miller.

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