Kevin Mirando’s career as a musician started when he was in sixth grade. All it took was a desire to know how to do something musical and one simple request.
“I had a keyboard and I was just hopeless with it,” Mirando said. “I just put it in the closet. I told my dad, ‘Just buy me a guitar. Make that my birthday present.’”
Mirando has since put that guitar, a blue rogue acoustic, to good use. The sophomore recently released an EP featuring three songs that he wrote and produced with his friend, Andrew Manning. It was only after his first semester at Springfield College nearly a year ago that Mirando decided to start channeling his experiences into songs. Coming to college, he said, has given him a whole new perspective on something that has been always been in his life.
“The first semester happened and there were so many things that occurred and so many people I had just met,” Mirando said. “I was overwhelmed. It never hit me until right then when I got home that if I don’t want things to be overwhelming, I’ve just got to write them down. Then I can look at it and process it, and in the processing I thought, let’s make a song. Songwriting is just making words sound good together, and a song is making those words have life. That’s where the music comes in.”
The songs, entitled “Love Isn’t Fair,” “Rise Up,” and “Sing With Me,” all have an upbeat, acoustic pop sound with positive themes are reflective of both Mirando’s outgoing personality and his personal experiences.
“I usually write music that pertains to me because it’s all about things that I experience and things in my life that I wish to expand on and get to know better,” Mirando said. “I try to write it down and put music behind it just so I can try to build a scene.”
According to Mirando, the process of writing the songs was not nearly as difficult as producing them. He described the numerous hours spent with Manning, a music production major at Drexel University, in the studio as the two struggled to create the best sounds possible. While he says he is blessed with the feedback that his music has received so far, he also recognizes criticism as a way to evaluate himself and work to constantly improve.
“Music isn’t supposed to be perfect,” Mirando said. “It’s supposed to be raw. When we record, we just have a fun time. Making music is such a hard process because it takes a lot out of you. Going from just a little tiny idea and expanding it into a four-minute song is incredibly rewarding, but extremely painful to go through.”
The process, however, has taught Mirando that music is a passion worth making time for in his busy life.
“It’s something I appreciate more than I ever thought I would, especially after coming to a different setting like Springfield,” Mirando said. “I’m experiencing things that I never thought of experiencing and meeting people that I never thought I would meet. I came back [home] after the first semester and had all of winter break to do whatever I wanted. I said, why not pick up a guitar? Why not start writing stuff down?”
Documenting his experiences through writing has always come naturally for Mirando, who said he used to write poems when he was younger. His particular interest in rhyming words, combined with his love of music, led him into song-writing. Mirando said that he tries to keep track of any thought that could inspire a potential song.
“I have a note-taking app on my phone and whenever I have a lyric or idea, I’ll write it down,” he said. “A tip that my uncle told me is that, no matter what, even if it stinks, even if you think it’s the worst thing that’s ever popped into your head, if it has to do with music, write it down.”
Mirando’s uncle is one of many musicians in Mirando’s family. Mirando’s grandfather, he said, used to play piano in a band that traveled around New Haven, a short drive from Mirando’s hometown of Cheshire, Conn. His uncle recorded backup vocals and piano on a few songs for Ringo Starr.
“If you’re recording with a Beatle,” Mirando said, “you’re doing something right.”
It was with his brother and cousin that Mirando got his first taste of performing in front of people, at a local festival when he was in middle school. Mirando, who is majoring in the health and physical education dual program, says that this is good practice for his future career as a teacher, a profession in which he will have to perform every day.
For now, his plans include taking the Union stage sometime in the near future, where he will be able to showcase his work in front of many of those who have influenced his music.
“I would never have asked my friend to record with me if I didn’t go [to Springfield],” Mirando said. “It would have never happened. I’m an NSO leader, and I do a lot on campus. I’ve been inspired to get outside my comfort zone as much as possible and do things I never thought I could. Music was one of those things.”