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A Star is Born: O'Fallon College Student Carves Out Thriving Music Career

Lydia Vaughan, 19, is studying communication at the University of Missouri–St. Louis and in her free time writes and performs her own music.

* This information is courtesy of Myra Lopez, Marketing and Communications 
University of Missouri–St. Louis. 

“I don’t sleep as much as I’d like to,” said a chuckling Lydia Vaughan.

The 19-year-old junior majoring in communication at the University of Missouri–St. Louis is extra busy these days balancing her school work, a part-time job and a thriving music career.

Vaughan grew up in O’Fallon, Mo., where she was homeschooled. She started singing as a young girl in her church choir. As a teenager she played saxophone in a jazz band, later graduating to lead singer of an alternative rock band.

About a year ago she embarked on a solo singing career. She describes her sound as pop-rock. Recently, she starred in her first music video for her current single, “Speechless,” which she wrote. It’s about that awkwardness some people feel when they’re around someone they like.

Vaughan penned her first song when she was 12. She’s prouder of her songwriting skills than her singing abilities.

“I think writing is actually my strong point,” she said. “If I don’t become a successful artist I would love to go into the music industry and be a writer, and write for other artists.”

She said even if she doesn’t end up in the spotlight, she wants to remain in the music industry in any capacity.

“Hey, if I can write good songs and have other artists sing them better than I can, that’s fine with me,” she said.

So does Vaughan have a strategy when it comes to writing songs? Yes and no.

“Sometimes I’ll be doing the most random thing in the world and lyrics will pop into my head, and I’m like ‘Oh, I’ve got to get my notebook and write that down,’” she said. “Other times I’m like ‘All right, I really need to write something, and I’ll go sit at my piano and work until something comes.”

Vaughan filmed the music video for “Speechless” over a four-day period at Christian Brothers College High School in Town and Country, Mo.

She said making the video was more difficult than she thought it would be because it actually required some acting on her part. The scenes involving dozens of extras made her really nervous.

“I’m lip-synching to my own words and having to act all cute or whatever and it was really hard,” she said. But after a couple of takes she eventually got her nerves in check. In the end, she said making the video was a blast.

Vaughan credits her parents with providing a great foundation for her to launch her music career. She said they’re extremely supportive of her musical dreams, even though, she admits, “Sometimes they think I’m crazy for trying to do everything. Sometimes they’re like ‘Lydia you’ve got to slow down.’”

It was actually her father who made her realize she had a good voice. When she was young he used to tease her that she sounded like a cow when she sang in choir, but one day he told her, “You’re starting to get good Lydia.”

“I guess then I kind of knew that I sounded better,” she said.

Last week, Vaughan performed her single “Speechless” on KTVI (Channel 2). Click here to view her performance.

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