by Melissa Ardery, Published March 03, 2013
When Lydia Seale was a high school senior the plan was simple: skip college and record a hit album.
However, after being awarded Eastern's Presidential Scholarship, an elite four-year award, her plan started looking more green and white.
Seale, now a sophomore at EMU, is thriving and has a full network of supportive students, faculty and staff. She didn't have to give up her dream of recording, either. Her debut album, 13:13, was released in January.
Growing up in a house full of music, it seemed natural that when Seale began speaking, she began singing. The Flint native was playing piano by age four, the saxophone by age 11, and composing her own music by age 12. Her mother, Benita, and father, Randy, both musicians themselves, have nurtured Lydia's talent and provided musical, spiritual and academic guidance.
Lydia Seale refers to the album's genre as "Cross-over Christian." Each track is positive and uplifting, while sending a message of the universal principles faith, hope and love.
"I wanted to leave a positive impact on people's lives, rather than push a specific belief on anyone," says Seale. "My style evolved from traditional Christian and gospel music, but I strive to reach out to everyone.
She has also found her academic niche by working with the Honors College staff. Rebecca Sipe, director of the Honors College, and John Feldkamp, assistant director of the Honors College, have been Seale's mentors since she first arrived on campus.
"Students like Lydia Seale are why I love working at EMU, and why I am humbled every day by our students' involvement and accomplishments," says Feldkamp. "I feel so privileged to be a part of her education and EMU experience."
Both mentors have assisted her through the process of selecting a public relations major and marketing minor. Seale hopes to gain the knowledge base and skill set she will need to work one-on-one with other artists in development and management.
"I am interested in the concept of mass appeal, but I think if more artists are trained to find their own identity, rather than rely on other people to define who they are, they will find more success and fulfillment within their careers," says Seale.
A large part of Seale's success comes from the support she has received from her fellow students. She has performed more times on campus than she can remember.
One of her latest performances was at the 27th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. President's Luncheon on Jan. 21.
"It was an honor to perform as a member of the EMU community and the African-American community," Seale says. "EMU supports Martin Luther King's ideals, and they don't ignore problems, but constantly work toward solutions."
Her dreams of traveling, becoming a West Coast artist, or developing into the next huge star may be possible, but her time spent here at Eastern, she says, will always go with her.
"I would have come to EMU regardless of my scholarship," Seale says. "Anyone can step onto this campus and be themselves, and no one will judge you. There is a real culture of inclusion, and I wouldn't trade my experience for anything."