Open mic: Inspiration for the crea

Student Activities organized an open mic event with special guest Ashley Young.

Selma Casagranda, Student Activities Event Manager, performs an original song on her guitar. Photo by Carlee Christensen.

An open mic creates opportunities for freedom of expression. Whether you are a poet or a singer-songwriter, this is the place where you can share your passion with others.

It is an inspiring event and a place for creatives to do what they do best: be creative. The Den was filled with the creativity of all those who performed.

This open mic event was the inspiration of Selma Casagranda, the Student Activities Event Manager, though, organizing the events was not the only thing she did. 

Casagranda has a passion for music and inspiring others, and this event was just one way that she could do that. She performed a few of her original songs which inspired others to do the same.

“I’m a singer-songwriter and I’ve been to a lot of open mics before, and it’s always just a super nice way to meet other people who are interested in similar things. It’s nice for making friends, fellow collaborators, and then also just having a good time, like genuinely relaxing because I think that just watching people perform is a great way to get into a flow.”

There were a variety of performances. Some read their writing while others shared their own music accompanied by a guitar.

“I hope we can facilitate more events like this. I think if we can start getting more people to come then more people will feel more comfortable performing and then it just takes getting a crowd and people tell their friends, ‘This is fun. Come.’ So I’m hoping to have that happen at least once a semester.”

With luck and a talented group of people, events like this may not be a rare occasion.

Casagranda said that she had never performed in a close space like the Den. Her usual venue would be at Farmers Markets or outside coffee shops in her hometown. Inspired by her past performances, Casagranda said, “I think it would be really cool to have one every other week at a coffee shop or something or even in the Den. This is all me thinking though.”

Casagranda has been working to make these open mics a little more special. This event featured a performance of special guest, Ashley Young.

Ashley Young is a Tlingit singer-songwriter who is passionate about connecting through the arts, healing with the land, and humor.

Young has recently returned home to Alaska after 10 years of performing with other bands in Boise.

“I came back because, first of all, I wanted a safety net. I was making a huge life transition … and also I just wanted to get more opportunities for ancestral connection.” Although Anchorage does not sit on Tlingit land, she has been able to make those connections.

Music is all about the connection for Young. She wants to connect with her audience and help them resonate with what her songs are trying to illustrate.

“I really want to connect with people when I perform my songs. I want people to be like, ‘I’ve been there.’ I think people can be really isolated sometimes in their feelings and I’m an open book and I think it’s my gift to connect to people … My relationship with music is way more that audience performer connection.”

Young released her first EP on Bandcamp with five songs that are an expression of changing relationships, seeking self, finding love in platonic relationships, and finding a home wherever your loved ones are.

Young’s songs were inspirations of what she was going through at the time, she says. “I was making a huge transition when I wrote that. I was leaving my partner of six years, I decided to leave teaching to pursue music more seriously, I was leaving my home that I knew for 13 years in Boise.”

After 13 years in Boise and playing with six other bands, Young decided it was time for her to start being more independent. She said that she didn’t really know her individual voice until she started creating by herself without the influence of others.

Young is an artist that others can look to for inspiration. She is authentic with herself and others and understands the importance that holds.

“I started playing guitar in 2020 …  I still stumble through guitar, but I’m happy to be where I’m at right now. You’ll create more if you lower those expectations for yourself and just meet yourself where you’re at.”

Ashley Young’s debut EP “Window Seat” demos are on Bandcamp and it will be coming soon to Spotify. You can follow her on instagram @ashleydaydreaming to stay updated on her releases.

No items found.