Musician Spotlight: School of Art Senior Mariela Dieguez


By Faith Orcino


Cougar Chronicle: What is the degree you will be graduating with?


Mariela Dieguez: Bachelor in Visual and Performing Arts with an emphasis in Music and a minor in Biology.


CC: What is your musical specialty? How long have you been perfecting your craft? Did you have to overcome some difficulties along the way?


MD: I have been singing since I was 8 and was in various choirs growing up. I never thought about pursuing music as a career, until I got to college.


CC: How was your time here in CSUSM? Did you start here as a freshman or transferred from another school?


MD: I was a Biology major as a freshman. There were various events that drove me to pursue a form of art over science. At the end of my senior year of high school, my father developed kidney failure and consequently was unable to work. In effect, we were left without a home. For a year we lived with family who helped us get back on our feet. I started college and was working part time. Two years into college I was frustrated and exhausted, both emotionally, physically and spiritually. My father was trying to adjust to a new lifestyle as much as we were as a family and this took a great toll on me. I was so focused on helping my family and providing that I forgot how to take care of myself. I was growing up too fast too quickly. There came a breaking point where my depression could not be contained. Besides it being a physical feeling of tiredness and exhaustion, I felt I was missing a basic emotion: happiness. Nothing made me happy. In examining my life up to that point, I reevaluated who I was, what I loved and how I wanted to live. I soon realized I was always in choir even at my most desperate time and that’s when I knew, I should just give it a try. What do I have to lose? I thought to myself, and I have not looked back at that choice. I am and will always be a student.


CC: As being part of the inaugural graduating class of the School of Art, has there been changes in the quality of the School?


MD: It is exciting to see the School of Art grow as I have grown and it will only continue to grow more and more. I hope to see more students interested in the music this school has to offer.


CC: What do you have in plan for your postgraduate future?


MD: I plan to apply for grad school to study ethnomusicology and teach in the near future.


CC: Is there anyone (or a number of people) you would like to thank or give recognition?

MD: I would like to thank the numerous teachers that have shown me more than I had expected. Dr. Mtafiti Imara, Dr. Ching Ming-Cheng, Bill Bradbury, Mary Jaeb and all the musical friends I made along the way which I have grown so close with, and my family and friends outside my college life who have supported me in my little journey I like to call life.