By Olivia Monarch
I have been a student at South Shore Conservatory (SSC) since I was two years old. My family and I participated in Music Together® classes year-round until I was five years old. Music has always been a natural part of my everyday life. Each day at my house included singing, dancing, and plenty of instruments. After Music Together, I went on to study drums, guitar, piano, and voice at SSC. I also participated in Saturday Stage Club, and choral groups, including Summer Vocal Institute.
Summer of 2016 at the Conservatory changed my life forever. I enrolled in Erik Caldarone’s summer Rock Band Camp. There, I met my current best friends and most members of my band, Not Today, an alternative band, comprised of six teenagers from five Boston South Shore towns. My band is often described as 90s-influenced, and indie alternative rock. With Erik’s guidance, Not Today built a unique sound, became prolific songwriters, and started landing gigs at local venues and basements.
It wasn’t long before paid gig offers started coming to us. All the while, our band was recording songs in professional recording studios. We released our first full length album called Out of Phase in August of 2018, followed by an EP Point B, and a live EP Live on the Underbelly. Our most recent album, Now in Full Color, came out in July of 2019. In all, Not Today’s music has been streamed nearly 60,000 times on Spotify alone!
Last summer, Not Today was invited to perform at the Levitate Music and Arts Festival. We were the youngest group ever on their lineup! Levitate runs the largest festival in the area, selling 50,000 tickets in 2019. We played alongside Sublime with Rome, the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Damien Marley, Nathaniel Ratliff, and more.
The band enjoys performing at South Shore and Boston venues such as the Middle East in Cambridge, the New World Tavern in Plymouth, and the C Note in Hull. We have appeared on radio stations, such as 88.9 WERS, 95.9 the River, WATD, and WEMF. Local music bloggers have written about and reviewed the band’s music. For example, Sound of Boston reviewed Not Today’s song ‘My Dearest Friends,’ and then the song was featured on WGBH’s Mass Mix.
My solo recording career was made possible with the help of SSC alum, Sean Merlin. Sean and I met at an SSC voice performance, where he was selected by my voice teacher to accompany me on the piano. A few months later, he invited me to record vocals for his first released single. Since then, Sean and I have co-produced two of my solo EPs, Subject and Overrated, which can be found on Spotify, iTunes and all other streaming platforms, just like Not Today’s music.
My joyous musical journey truly started at SSC when I was a toddler, singing and dancing with my parents in Music Together. Every step of the way at SSC has been full of learning, and so much fun. I am grateful that my parents prioritized my musical education and involvement over other activities. In addition to loving the experiences and the musical education, I have met most of my favorite people in the world at SSC, and that includes both students and teachers. Next stop for me is to either go on tour again next year, or study music further in college. Maybe both. No matter what, it is guaranteed to be a wild ride.
Hear vocalist Olivia Monarch and her band Not Today as they perform a few tunes at South Shore Conservatory’s Chase Away the Winter Blues gala on Saturday, January 25, from 6 pm -12 midnight, at the Boston Marriott Quincy. Blues kicks off SSC’s year-long 50th anniversary. Learn more about the event at https://sscmusic.org/blues/ or follow South Shore Conservatory on Facebook.
Olivia Monarch is a senior at Hingham High School.