While most girls her age strolled through the local mall, caught a movie or two, or simply hung out with their friends, Nicole Clark spent her spring break hard at work.
For Clark, it was the opportunity of a lifetime.
The 17-year-old, who will enter her Grade 12 year at Thomas Haney Secondary School this September, can officially call herself a working musical artist.
During her school break, Clark flew to Los Angeles to record two original songs that she co-wrote with producers/engineers Mike Getches and Shannon McArthur of Research Music and Sound (RMS).
This Dress and Better Than You, recorded at RMS in Burbank, Calif., are currently downloadable on iTunes for 99 cents apiece.
"It was pretty cool because I've never actually been in an actual studio before with all this professional equipment," Clark said.
The songs are "doing pretty good," in terms of number of downloads, adding "I can't check all the time how much there are, but it's a decent amount."
By recording at RMS, Clark joined some rather elite company. The studio has also produced music for such artists as Lucy Hale of Pretty Little Liars, Colbie Caillat, Jason Mraz, Train, and Plain White T's.
One of the mikes she used was still in studio after being used by Hale.
"It was a $40,000 mike, from somewhere in Europe," Clark said. "And I got to use that for my songs, so that was really cool."
The recording sessions were a lesson in patience, but Clark didn't mind.
There were "many, many, many takes," she related.
"It's not really frustrating because I love doing it so much," Clark said. "It's a really cool experience. I really enjoyed it all."
Clark was contacted by RMS after videos she posted on YouTube caught the attention of McArthur.
Her music career gained traction five years ago, when the then 12-yearold posted herself singing Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood songs on the wildly popular video sharing website.
"It was just kind of a hobby, for fun," she said. "I didn't think anything big would come out of it."
In the fall, McArthur sent Clark a YouTube message, saying he liked her videos and was interested in working with her.
Naturally, she was quite skeptical.
"It's a random guy messaging me," Clark said.
She looked up McArthur's name on the Internet, saw he was legit, and contacted him.
"We just talked about plans for my music, how he wanted to write songs over Skype with me, and then I would go down to L.A. to record them with him and his other producer Mike [Getches]," Clark related.
The result of this collaborative effort was This Dress, which Clark describes as fun, upbeat song, and Better Than You, which she says is a "more sad song."
The subjects of both songs traipse across very familiar landscape for Clark's peer group.
This Dress tells a tale of a teenaged girl's crush on a boy; the ballad Better Than You is about a breakup and love gone astray.
With plenty of help from the two producers, the songs flowed easily. This comes as no surprise considering that Clark has written about 20 original songs, all with accompanying music.
"It comes pretty naturally," she said, about songwriting.
Singing and crafting music are just a couple of Clark's many artistic talents.
She practises jazz, tap, ballet, hip hop, song and dance, lyrical, and contemporary styles of dance at Peggy Peat School of Dance and is also an actor, getting gigs through Reel 2 Reel Talent.
So far she has appeared in two commercials, for Pizza Hut in which she throws her cap into the air after graduating, and for Delsym cough medicine, where she was in a spelling bee.
She's also a budding musician. Clark started taking guitar lessons at 14.
"It probably took me around a year to get decent at it," she said. "I kept progressing from there."
With so many opportunities in front of her, Clark, an honour roll student at THSS, isn't sure what she's going to do after she graduates next June.
"I'm still unsigned from a record label, so I'm still looking to get some deals," she said. "Right now I don't have any clue what I'm doing after high school. There are so many things that I want to do."
Her dream is to have a debut album and believes she'll be recording more tunes with RMS in the future.
@ Copyright 2013