Nina de Vitry’s moment of clarity found her in a little bar in Montreal this past fall.
Amid the noise and politically charged graffiti, her friend Greg — whom she met while visiting the city — took her by the shoulders and made her promise that she would pursue music instead of going to nursing school.
“That was the encouragement I needed,” said de Vitry, who came to Temple in Fall 2015.
De Vitry always thought she would go to nursing school after she finished her undergraduate degree in Spanish.
She said she fell in love with exploring language through Temple’s Latin American Studies Semester, a program she participated in last spring as a freshman.
The LASS program — held every spring on Main Campus — is a Spanish immersion experience where students take a full semester’s worth of classes solely in the language. The classes discuss contemporary issues in Latin America and finish up the semester with a three week trip to Costa Rica, staying with a local family.
The program aims to teach students “how to be fearless with language,” said Patricia Moore-Martinez, the LASS program coordinator.
“It’s about how the way you communicate matters,” she added.
A fearless approach to communication led de Vitry to that Montreal bar in Fall 2016, one of the first stops during her gap year from Temple. It included visits to the Gaspé — a peninsula to the east of Quebec, Canada — and Nashville, Tennessee.
Now back home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, she decided to continue her journey by launching a Kickstarter campaign on Wednesday to fund her first EP.
Kickstarter is an online platform that allows the public to have a direct hand in supporting a creative project by pledging funds to the campaign. Her campaign has an all-or-nothing goal of $5,000, meaning that if she doesn’t meet her goal after 30 days, she loses all the money she previously raised.
The EP, “Trust A Dream,” is inspired by the name of a song de Vitry wrote one Nashville morning over a bowl of cereal, wondering if she was wasting her time on the gap year.
“[Trust a Dream] is a song I wrote talking to myself,” de Vitry said. “The song is about wondering, and can you trust that what you want to do is what you should be doing? Do you feel at home with what you’re doing?”
It was after de Vitry’s trip to Costa Rica when she began to question whether she wanted to be at school.
“I told her, a university degree is an amazing thing, but only if you appreciate every minute of it while you’re there,” Moore-Martinez said. “I told her she should never be in school if that’s not what you want to do.”
De Vitry said writing the EP was the comfort she needed to hear when she felt overwhelmed with the “stability” of having a major.
De Vitry describes her collection of soft songs on the EP as “original music with folk, jazz and R&B influence.”
So far, de Vitry has written all but one of the five songs she plans to include on the EP. She said she has “felt at home” studying languages like Spanish and French and practicing music. She first writes songs on guitar and then translates them into a livelier sound with horns and bass.
If she meets her Kickstarter goal, de Vitry said she will use the money to rent 45 hours worth of recording time in The SugarTank in Lancaster to record her original songs for the first time.
The rest of the funds will go to transportation, ordering an estimated 500 hardcover CDs and studio musician costs like basses, drums, horns and possibly a keyboard.
De Vitry does not know yet whether she will return to Temple after her gap year is over.
“I hope when people listen to [the EP] they can realize that it doesn’t matter what people expect you to do,” de Vitry said. “I’m just exasperated with myself and trying to focus on what I want. That’s the conclusion I came to this year.”
Megan Platt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.