I want to warn you now that this biography that you are about to read may be very different from artist biographies that you normally find on the internet. I love reading the biographies of different artists and I think they are great. I even have one that I can send you, if you are more interested in reading a third person perspective. Yet, you came to my website to learn more about who I am as a person and a musician. Therefore, I am going to tell you about myself in my own words.

I love playing the guitar. I remember looking up to guitarists for my entire childhood before deciding to enroll in private lessons and eventually pursue it as a career. My story with music begins as do many, in religious settings in my earliest years and eventually  joining choir and band during early adolescence. Since choirs and concert bands do not usually require the skill set of a ten year old guitarist, I continued singing and even played the saxophone for a number of years. While shopping in a music store in Nashville, Tennessee, my hometown, I decided that I wanted to learn to play guitar and later enrolled in lessons with a wonderful instructor.

Even though I spent many years dreaming of becoming a musician, I, like many others assumed that the career path that I have chosen was too risky and that I should choose something different.  So I thought that I would become a doctor, only after watching far too many episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and considered a career in journalism. Ultimately, it was my guitar teacher at the time who led me to see that it was possible to pursue a career music and live comfortably. I began studying and learning more about classical music during this time. I did not grow up listening to classical music, but it is something I have come to grow and love.

Two years later, I ended up enrolling at the University of Memphis where I received my Bachelors of Music degree in Music Education with a concentration in Choral Music Education in 2015. While at the University of Memphis, I was an Emerging Leaders Scholar, Tennessee Hope Scholarship Award recipient, and a recipient of the Outstanding Performance Scholarship. While in Memphis, I really began to understand the importance of community involvement and work and how that fits into my life as a musician.

In 2017, I graduated with my Masters of Music degree with a concentration in Applied String Pedagogy from the University of Louisville. Louisville is a great city and somewhere I felt as though my work in the community was coming alive. Although I no longer live in Louisville, I began to understand how to balance my career as a scholar, musician, and activist. One of the things that I was able to do was start the Louisville Guitar Orchestra, Louisville’s first community guitar ensemble. It was such an enriching experience and one that I hope to take part in wherever I live. I was also able to explore and begin working at the intersections of social justice and classical music. While I am still learning, I am coming to understand more and more how I hope my work will leave a good impact on the world.

Now, I am pursing my Doctorate of Musical Arts in Music Performance and a certificate in African America studies at the University of Georgia. I am a Graduate Research Assistant with Ideas for Creative Exploration (ICE) and a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music. I was a member of the second cohort of the  Graduate Student Engage Leadership and Development  (GS LEAD) program. I will serve as the President of Idea Lab and the Historian for the Graduate and Professional Students Association at the University of Georgia.

Outside of music and school, I love sports. My favorite baseball team is the Chicago Cubs. Go Cubs! I also love Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. I try to go to as many sporting events as I can. Books are also pretty cool and I often find myself in bookstores searching for books to add to my ever growing list of books to be read.

This is me! If you have any questions or would like to read my professional biography, please email me at ciyadhwells@gmail.com and I will send it to you.

Thanks for reading!