The Daily Gamecock

USC student records backup vocals for British band

Bryarly Bishop also discovers new career choice while abroad in Wales

While studying abroad in Wales this spring semester, USC student Bryarly Bishop not only found a career she now wishes to pursue, but she also took part in the unexpected opportunity to sing on a British rock band’s new album.

Bishop, a fourth-year European studies and Honors College student, attended Swansea University in Wales from late January to the end of June, initially attracted by the interesting classes offered, as well as the school’s focus on history and political science majors that would help with her previous interest in attending law school.

“I wanted to go somewhere in the United Kingdom, and I felt like England was too stereotypical,” Bishop said. “My first name is seven generations old, and it’s a Welsh last name. I grew up reading Merlin and the mystery around Wales, and I just always wanted to go.”

Bishop was able to find the right program and destination and accomplish her study abroad experience — mandatory for European studies students — by working with advisers and faculty members in the Study Abroad Office, as well as with those in the Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs.

“I didn’t have a lot of extra money for studying abroad, and it can be expensive. I mentioned that (to the Study Abroad Office), and they were really helpful suggesting scholarships,” Bishop said. “The scholarship office was also really helpful, and they even gave me feedback on how to make my essay applications better.”

Bishop, a McNair Scholar, applied for and received scholarship money to help fund her trip from the Walker Institute of International and Area Studies (WIIAS) International Experience Award, the Carolina Global Study Scholarship and the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, available only to students who qualify for a federal Pell Grant and who are involved in a service project.

“I was accepted into the program sometime in the fall, but I didn’t know about my scholarships until a few months after that,” Bishop said. “So I didn’t know if I could go until about a month before I was leaving.”

Before studying abroad, Bishop, who was previously majoring but is now minoring in music, didn’t have a concrete idea of what she wanted to do after graduation. After taking two classes at Swansea University that focused on film within European studies, she reaffirmed her passion for film and music that helped push her post-graduation plans in a new direction.

“I had switched majors to European studies to get more choice in the classes I was taking, but ever since leaving the music school, I’ve missed it, and I kept thinking about my original desire to choose music for films,” Bishop said. “I started searching online for music and film and who does music for films, and I found a site that defined ‘music supervision’ as a career. Their description sounded exactly like what I’d been looking for.”

A music supervisor is one who works with the director to select and place music within a film, as well as negotiating between those in the studio and the artists or composers they want to use.

“I’d been debating law school, so finding a position that was not only exactly what I wanted but that also involved some of the legal aspects I’d been thinking about — as the music supervisor needs to be able to identify rights to music as well — was euphoric,” Bishop said. “I had a eureka moment in this hostel of what I wanted to do, which I don’t think would have happened if I hadn’t studied abroad.”

Along with taking engaging courses and discovering a solid career choice for her future while spending time in Wales, Bishop experienced the epitome of an out-of-classroom experience that also happened to fall within the field of music.

Before leaving the country, Bishop created a YouTube channel to post video blogs of her time spent abroad and signed up to be a blog correspondent for the Study Abroad office. Through the site she befriended Charlie McDonnell, the most subscribed YouTube vlogger in the United Kingdom and a founding member of the British rock band Chameleon Circuit. Bishop was able to visit McDonnell and the rest of the band in London in March.

“I have a tendency to sing all the time, and [Chameleon Circuit] had been working on this new album,” Bishop said. “The producer, Michael Aranda, and all the band members heard me singing in the flat. They asked me what my range was and asked if I could sing to a track for the album.”

While the band had intended to record the album, “Still Got Legs,” in London in between the time of Bishop’s final exams, the members ran into a delay. Through technical paperwork issues with the United Kingdom’s border control, Aranda, an American, was not allowed to reenter the U.K. and had to stay where he was in Paris.

Alex Day, also a founder of Chameleon Circuit and a highly subscribed YouTuber, created a petition that thousands signed in an attempt to raise awareness and get Aranda back into the country. The energy drink that claims to give consumers wings fulfilled its motto and ended up solving the band’s problem.

“Red Bull saw the petition, contacted Alex and wanted to help,” Bishop said. “They found Michael a place to stay in Paris, and they paid to send the rest of the band members and me to come over to Paris record the album since it couldn’t be done in London.”

Bishop sings the lead vocals with Day on the track “Everything Is Ending,” as well as the backup vocals on “Traveling Man” and “Silence and the End of All Things.” The album was released July 12 and is currently No. 6 on the U.K.‘s top 10 rock albums on iTunes.

She was not compensated for her recording, aside from a copy of the CD and a T-shirt, but did gain invaluable experience for her future through the unexpected opportunity and her time spent abroad.

“I have been trying to find recording studios in the local area and South Carolina, seeing if any artists need backup vocalists, and I like that I am now able to have an example of my work for people,” Bishop said. “For my Honors College senior thesis, I want to do a series of radio theatre-style podcasts. This experience putting music to video blogs will help as I learn more about editing with video and sound, which will in turn help me get into a graduate program for music supervision.”

To learn more about Bishop’s experience in Wales online, visit the Student Blogs studying abroad in Wales this spring semester, USC student Bryarly Bishop not only found a career she now wishes to pursue, but she also took part in the unexpected opportunity to sing on a British rock band’s new album. section of USC’s Study Abroad website, or watch her video blogs on her YouTube channel, godsteeth1911.