Spotlight: Meet Hope Vista of Anthem Rock Band VISTA

Hope Vista, Rowan alumni, has embarked on a successful musical career post-graduation. As lead vocalist of the anthem rock band VISTA, she’s found herself writing new singles, performing at different venues and even opening for well known pop band Against The Current.

I got to speak with Hope via an email interview, covering topics from her personal life to the band. Check out her responses!

Q: Have you always wanted to be a singer?

A: Oh yeah, I’ve been singing since I was two or three. I’d just run around the house singing, my grandparents would film me on a video camera giving ‘concerts.’ I honestly can’t think of anything else I’ve ever wanted to do.

Q: Do you also write lyrics or play instruments?

A: I write most of VISTA’s lyrics, and I play guitar too! I used to be pretty solid at they keys but I’ve lost touch over the past few years because I haven’t played. I play guitar pretty much every day, I think I got my first one when I was seven or eight.

Q: What genre of music influences you most?

A: Mine are all super opposite of each other. I’ve always been really inspired by 90’s pop because that’s the generation I grew up in. That music is obviously very different than ours, but I was always really invested in the performance quality of that era instead. 70’s classic rock and the modern Warped scene are two of mine as well, I try to find inspiration in many areas instead of staying within one niche and getting stuck.

Q: Are there any particular adversities that you’ve experienced along your journey as a musician, either personal or professional?

A: Oh yeah. Losing my dad was the worst, that was hands down the most difficult adversity to push through. Losing band mates is always hard, losing anything in general is hard. But things don’t go as planned in this industry. I think you kind of always have to prepare for disaster or for something just to not go as you planned it. Backup plans and being able to think on your toes is how you overcome any hardship in the music industry.

Q: How do you think your experience at Rowan helped you get this far in your music career?

A: I graduated in 2015, so I’ve been out for a while. Being at Rowan for all four years straight taught me a lot about the quality of work and patience. I was a Writing Arts major, so I was consistently writing papers, I was always working on multiple papers at a time, so my work always had to be correct. It had to be correct grammatically, I had deadlines. But more importantly I had to make sure I was getting my thoughts out effectively, and that crosses over directly into music, writing lyrics, being a publicist, and also just communicating properly with industry professionals. If I didn’t know how to talk to people, I wouldn’t be in a band at all, I’d be curled up in a bed somewhere. And I can definitely credit a lot of those communication skills to my education at Rowan. Granted I skipped class a ton because I wanted to write music in my apartment, but I still learned a lot.

Q: When and how did the band get together?

A: This isn’t the original lineup of VISTA, the first one was put together about a year and a half ago. I knew our current guitarist Greg through other people, we have many mutual friends. I was looking for a new guitarist last summer, and he just messaged me out of the blue asking me about what I was looking for, we noticed we had the same goals in mind and a similar work ethic, and it just fit from that point on!

Hope Vista1.jpg
Hope Vista with VISTA’s guitarist, Greg Almeida.

Q: What exactly is anthem rock, and what made you choose this genre? (It’s definitely one that interested in listening to!)

A: We originally wanted to build a sub genre from the ground up instead of sticking ourselves in one tight bubble. So we’re just basically exploring what the word ‘anthem’ means. What elements does that include? What type of guitar tones? We have heavy use of the bass drum, thick bass lines, pulsing guitar strumming patterns. It’s really just a combination of what we feel resonates with the word ‘anthem.’

Q: What are your goals as VISTA?

A: Greg and I both have the same goals, which is great because that means we’re both consistently on the same page. Warped Tour, break into the European/Asian touring markets, record deal, Billboard charting album. Those are the main ones right now, long way to go, but I like to see consistent momentum. It keeps me alive.

(Photo credit for both images: Holly Turner)

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Sunny Day Playlist

It’s been nice and warm here in the South Jersey/Philadelphia area, with temperatures far above average. I don’t know about you, but when the weather starts feeling like spring after a long, dreadful winter, my music choices shift drastically. I no longer dwell in self pity by listening to the slow and heartbreaking songs of this genre. Instead, I blast the upbeat, yet still somehow still raw and emotional (those deep lyrics, man…) tunes that make you wanna drive for hours with the windows down.

Just me? Maybe. But at least give this sunny day playlist a shot:

These songs, from In Too Deep by Sum 41 to Must Have Done Something Right by Relient K, will be sure to feed your sense of adventure and kick start the months to come. Whenever I listen to this playlist, I can just picture myself in a music video running along the ocean, laughing like I don’t have three papers due this week…(oops.)

Whether the temps are just approaching 50 degrees or well over 70, take advantage of the Vitamin D, get outdoors, and dance your ass off!

(Image from Pexels.com)

Why Everyone Should Listen to Rock and Pop-Punk Music

It’s evident that not everyone is as passionate about this genre (or technically, two genres — rock and pop-punk) as I am, and that’s okay. But I’d like to point out the many reasons why this style of music is so important to me — and should be to you, too.

The band members play instruments.

In a world of EDM and pop, which are both great in their own ways, it’s refreshing to hear a group of musicians writing and playing their own songs, with each member getting credit for their talent rather than just the singer. To me, music is the entire package — the vocals, the drums, the base, the guitar, etc. I’m a sucker for that basement band sound, the raw talent and emotion behind each hit.

I may not strike you as the kinda girl who blasts angry Blink songs (like Shut Up) while getting ready for a nice dinner date, but I totally am; and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The music gets me pumped and excited for just about anything.

The musicians in this genre have no shame.

Seriously, they don’t give a shit (and they shouldn’t!) They focus on their music and their fans — that’s all. The bands run out on stage wearing T-shirts and jeans, or whatever the hell they want; and the crowd follows suit. Personally, I could care less if you’re a pretty boy in your twenties with perfect teeth or a fifty-year-old with a dad-bod and scruffy face — if you make good music, I’m gonna listen to and support you.

When their voice cracks, it adds to the emotion of the song. When they wanna scream or dance with no sense of rhythm, they don’t think twice. They are real performers, and they don’t try to be like anyone else.

The lyrics will break your heart, and then be there to pick up the pieces.

I am all about lyrics. If I didn’t have severe stage fright and a timid voice, I’d be the lead singer and lyricist of my own rock band. Instead, I’m just a journalist writing reviews on music I wish I could be a bigger part of — but I’ll take what I can get.

Many songs in this genre have lyrics that are poetic and even comforting in a sense. I’ve made it through my darkest times in life, dealing with my OCD, breakups, losses and other hardships, by listening to this type of music. I live for songs like The Devil in My Bloodstream by The Wonder Years, Navy Blue by The Story So Far, Late Nights In My Car by Real Friends, Untitled by Knuckle Puck and Shipboard Cook by Third Eye Blind. Okay, I can go on for hours…but I’ll let you start there.

The performances are ones you will never forget.

…unless some mosher decides to accidentally whack you in the face and you black out. Kidding (kinda.) I’ve only been to a handful so far, seeing as I just recently started listening to this style of music (outside of Blink, who I grew up with of course), but I’ve already seen Blink, Panic!, Safety Suit, The Wonder Years, Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance, Third Eye Blind and a couple of others. I am so hooked that I just bought tickets to Simple Plan, Mayday Parade, Real Friends and Knuckle Puck (way more to come, obviously!)

Let me tell you, I was blown away at how emotional each concert was. Now it’s not hard to bring me to tears, but I had chills for days after each, captivated by the music and the energy in general. Music to me is about channeling your pain and experiences through art in order to share them with others, helping them through similar issues. The entire community, despite the stereotype of being angry f*ck-ups, is kind and accepting. When I’m at a show, I feel at home, singing along to lyrics that have essentially saved me in so many ways.

This quote by Dan Campbell (or “Soupy”) from The Wonder Years summarizes my exact thoughts and feelings on this topic:

“There’s a reason we all listen to punk rock instead of top 40. There’s a reason I’d rather be stage diving than at a bar. I think that most everyone I know involved in punk or hardcore is intrinsically fucked up on some level. There is something wrong with us. Maybe not ‘wrong,’ but certainly different. Because of this, I think we all share a similar outlook and because of that, we share similar experiences. I’m just writing songs about my life, but as it turns out, my life is pretty similar to a lot of other people’s lives and honestly, it feels good to know we’re going through this shit together.”

If that doesn’t inspire you to give this genre a shot, I don’t know what will…*drops mic*

(Image from Pexels.com)

5 Rock Bands You May Not Know Are From The South Jersey/Philadelphia Area

It’s always exciting to hear about awesome success stories of people who started off in your town, or a twenty-minute drive away from where you grew up. Philadelphia, as well as South Jersey, has bred some talented musicians of various genres across the board.

Here are five rock/pop punk groups from the area:

  1. Modern Baseball

    This rock group started out in 2012 at Drexel University in Philadelphia. It’s crazy to me that a band this popular attended the same college my friend does, one that I can easily commute to. Too bad I didn’t visit when they were there; maybe I could’ve bumped into them at a frat and somehow become their lyricist? Wishful thinking.

    Their music is a bit indie at times, which I find interesting and enthralling for a predominantly pop punk band. They’ve had much success already in their career, performing with other well known bands like Knuckle Puck.

  2. Man Overboard

    I am especially excited about this band, seeing as they’re from Mt. Laurel and Williamstown in South Jersey, which is right near my college, Rowan University. They’ve been around since 2008 and live by their motto, “Defend Pop Punk.” Definitely support them on that.

    I find their music to be more pop than some of the other bands in their genre, but they totally pull it off. Whenever I listen to them, I’m instantly in a better mood.

  3. Circa Survive

    Circa Survive had an interesting takeoff in Philly suburb Doylestown, where two old friends Anthony Green and Colin Frangicetto called it quits on some prior commitments to start the band in 2004. It’s as though they were meant to make music together, after leaving other groups and forming this one. I think it’s touching, personally.

    Perhaps it’s the writer in me speaking, but I think one of the main reasons I love this band is their lyrics, which are raw and poetic. Check out there 10 Year Anniversary video!

  4. Cayetana

    It’s not often you hear of an all-female rock band, so props to this trio for doing what I always dreamed of (but was way too timid to even consider trying.) Their inspiring journey is just part of why I adore them, along with their edgy Indie style and power to make a lasting impression.

    When I first read about them, I was wary, having never learned of them before; but as soon as I shuffled their Spotify, I became undeniably fascinated and hooked.

  5. The Wonder Years

    Okay, so they’re from Lansdale, PA…but they’re still a Philadelphia-based pop punk band, and they happen to be one of my absolute favorites! The Wonder Years had an impact on my decision to start listening to this genre of music, when I first heard their song “Came Out Swinging” last year (I was very late to the scene, I know.) I then did my typical “let’s play this song on repeat for the next ten days” act that drove my roommate crazy before finally branching out to their other songs (which are just as incredible, by the way.)

    When I saw them at Sherman Theater last year, I was shocked at how great they sounded despite being live. Almost got moshed in the face, but it was totally worth it. To me, they are the definition of pop-punk.

(Image from Pexels.com)