The stress of your dream school being the last one to hear from is hard to wrap one’s head around but thankfully it all worked out as singer-songwriter Maggie Cubillos is currently attending Berklee School of Music. A world away from the beaches of California that encouraged her love of all things music, Maggie is now focusing on not only her educational path toward a career but also her debut single, “Old Shoes.” We talked about all of the above and then some in this brand-new exchange.
Kendra: With your dad involved behind the scenes in the rock scene and coming up in a punk rock haven like Hermosa Beach, did you ever think that was the route you’d musically want to travel down?
Maggie Cubillos: I think my dad’s work in the rock scene (and just love of music in general) did inspire my interest in music growing up, but I don’t think I ever wanted to go down that route! Growing up in such a musical community made me realize early on that music could be a possible career path but I think I was always drawn to singer-songwriters and more acoustic genres. But I don’t think I would’ve even done music if it wasn’t so encouraged by my parents and the Hermosa Beach community!
Kendra: Nevertheless, you’ve always been someone with a passion for performing. How old were you when you set your sights on Berklee College of Music?
Maggie Cubillos: I think I first heard about Berklee College of Music my freshman year of high school. I remember thinking it sounded like a dream, but for a while, I wasn’t sure if I fully wanted to commit to pursuing music in college. Once I finally believed in myself enough to realize music was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I applied to Berklee and a few other music programs. After I toured Berklee and visited Boston with my dad and brother, I knew there was nowhere else better suited for me! It was the last school I heard back from and I knew as soon as I was accepted, that I had to go.
Kendra: Some don’t go that extra mile and get an educational foundation in music. What lessons have you learned so far that you feel will help guide your career that you may not have gotten otherwise?
Maggie Cubillos: One of the biggest things I’ve learned that I think will really help me in my career, is to not compare myself to others. Going to Berklee you are fully surrounded by people who do the same exact thing as you, and at the end of the day, we all want to make it in some way in the music industry.
One of the things I really have to focus on is to be confident in my abilities and remind myself that everyone is on their own timeline. Watching other people succeed in things you are working for is amazing to see! But it can also be hard sometimes to deal with self-doubt when you are working so hard. Getting an education in music definitely has its challenging moments, but I think having these experiences now are really helping to prepare me for a career in the industry.
Kendra: With that, was it at Berklee that you penned your debut single, “Old Shoes?”
Maggie Cubillos: Yes! I wrote “Old Shoes” last March for one of my classes at Berklee. I had gone through a lot of change at the beginning of the year and I had this realization that I was just avoiding embracing it all. So I started writing the song to process what was happening inside my head and it coincidentally fit for one of my assignments that week so I ended up finishing the song for that.
Kendra: I need to keep listening to “Old Shoes” on repeat to get some inspiration to embrace the changes that come with life because that’s something I’m so bad at. Have you found your ability to accept change has been made easier after getting this song out?
Maggie Cubillos: 100%! This song felt like a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders. Dealing with change is something I’ve always struggled with, and once I realized that I couldn’t run away from things changing, I was finally able to embrace it. Change is inevitable and I had spent so long trying to make sure things stayed the same, which took me a long time to realize was impossible. Writing this song really helped me develop this new mindset that change is okay and that it’s for the best! It only helps you grow into a better person.
Kendra: I loved how “Old Shoes” started with the line about being afraid to fall asleep at night. I think that rings true for so many for a multitude of reasons. With that, would you say you’re a creative night owl type of person?
Maggie Cubillos: I’m actually not a night owl! I feel like most of my friends at school always stay up super late doing assignments or just making music and I struggle with that! I would rather get my sleep and wake up early to do things.
Kendra: You’re attending Berklee right now but because I miss it so, where in Hermosa Beach would you say is the most moving place to sit with your thoughts and write?
Maggie Cubillos: While I was home for the summer, I spent a lot of time in my backyard reading, listening to music, writing, etc. It’s very relaxing and it was really easy for me to sit with my thoughts there. But also the beach! I didn’t realize how much I loved and appreciated the beach till I moved to Boston and now I try to go all the time whenever I’m home because it’s so peaceful.
Kendra: With the holidays right around the corner, I’d love to know if you could be gifted with tickets to see any artist, living or not, live in concert – who would it be and why?
Maggie Cubillos: Definitely Taylor Swift! She hasn’t toured in forever and I would loveeee to go to her Eras tour that she announced recently. She is such a fun performer and I have loved her music since I was little so it would be amazing to see her live.
Kendra: Lastly, with “Old Shoes” out now, what are your plans heading into the new year?
Maggie Cubillos: I plan to record a few more singles that hopefully lead to some sort of bigger project like an EP. Finally getting to release my debut single has made me really excited to share more pieces of my heart with the world so I hope to release a lot more music in the new year.