Alexa Spieler has spent her high school years attending concerts, interviewing local musicians, pressing publicists for exclusives and posting all her experiences on her personal website.
It has turned out to be time well spent.
In April, she decided at the last minute to apply for a program that would perfect her interviewing skills and allow her to network with music industry professionals.
On June 12 Spieler learned that she was among 77 high school students selected from across the country to attend Grammy Camp in Los Angeles for music industry immersion this summer.
“I would do anything to get my foot in the door and anything to one-up my competition,” said Spieler, 17, of East Meadow. “If I make one solid connection while I’m there, it could carry me for the rest of my life.”
The Grammy Foundation selected 136 high school students from across the country to participate in the eighth annual Grammy Camp program, which takes students to either Los Angeles, New York or Nashville for a fee of $2,000-$2,200, plus airfare.
Spieler, the only Long Islander accepted into the camp in Los Angeles, will stay at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California from July 14-23.
At the camp, she will be able to participate in hands-on activities related to her chosen career path — music journalism — and gain real-life experience, while learning from experts in the field.
Spieler, who is going into her senior year at East Meadow High School in the fall, has interviewed several musicians before they reached A-list status. She interviewed Justin Bieber three years ago at Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day in Queens, the U.S. Open’s celebration for families.
At about the same time, her friend created a website, which Spieler named A-list Music Promotions, to give her a platform to document her concert trips and interviews.
“I think they [The Grammy Foundation] chose me because of my experience,” Spieler said. “Not many teenagers have started a website and it helps me stand out from the crowd.”
She also spent time as co-editor-in-chief of “The Jet Gazette,” the student-run newspaper at East Meadow High School. Outside of school, Spieler freelances for two music magazines, “Substream Music Press” and “American Music Press.”
Her father, Andrew Spieler, was unsure whether his daughter even applied, but when he found out that she got accepted, he was ecstatic for her.
“The news was amazing, but of course I had second thoughts of her running out the door to California,” said Spieler, 50, of East Meadow. “It amazes me still today that she is someone who has the fortitude to do all of this and could develop this kind of repertoire with musicians. I mean, most of them reach out to her.”
His daughter’s advice to the next generation?
“Find something that makes you unique and really indulge yourself in it to make you stand out,” she said.
Above: Alexa Spieler, 17, of East Meadow, was selected from students across the country to attend Grammy Camp in Los Angeles for music industry immersion in July. (June 29, 2012)