We had the good fortune of connecting with Bora Varsay and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bora, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I pursued an artistic career because it was the only path that made sense to me. My musical journey began when I started taking classical guitar lessons at the age of 7, in Turkey. Even before then, I remember mimicking to play the guitar solos from my father’s records with my toy guitar. After getting my first electric guitar and forming my band to perform at our local venues in high school, it was apparent to me and to everyone who knew me that I wouldn’t be interested in any other field than music enough to pursue a career. As I got more and more involved in music, I got captivated by the magical world of music production and the recording studios. So, I decided to move to Boston, MA, to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Music Production & Engineering at Berklee College of Music. During my four years of study, I had the chance to work with incredible musicians and to participate in countless recording sessions, which helped me immensely in developing my musicianship and my technical skills as a producer/engineer. Upon graduation, I decided that the best place for me to be as a musician was Los Angeles and I have been living here since 2017. After a year of working as a producer/engineer, I started writing my own songs and I wanted to further my music education by studying composition and arranging at the Commercial Music department of California State University, Los Angeles. While getting my master’s degree, I also had my first teaching experience as I taught the undergraduate course Intro to Music Technology as a GA. Since graduating, I have been working as a composer, producer, recording and mixing engineer, and as a guitarist. Taking part in any aspect of music creation, writing, performing, recording or mixing is what makes me happy and I feel lucky to pursue a career while doing what I love the most.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
What sets me apart as a musician is my multicultural background and my ability to efficiently work in different steps of music creation in multiple genres. I worked in a vast variety of projects, from hip-hop to pop, rock, blues, electronic music, soul, traditional Middle-Eastern music etc. with many talented musicians and I learned so much from analyzing and practicing different methodologies in music. Currently, I am producing an electronic dance record for an artist that I am working with, I am mixing a hip-hop song for another artist, finishing the production for my upcoming EP which is indie rock/electronic, and we released our first single with my pop band “IF” on October. Actively working on multiple genres is keeping me motivated to learn and to explore more and it helps me to enhance my skills. I think one of the best ways to grow as a musician is to try different approaches and to collaborate with other musicians to examine their approaches and learn from their process. After leaving my hometown Izmir, Turkey, I was fortunate enough to be able to collaborate with countless musicians from all around the World as I lived in Istanbul, Boston, and Los Angeles, and it had a huge impact on my musicianship. Even though I mostly enjoy being a musician, of course it also has its hardships too. Because music is one of the truest forms of self-expression, it can be challenging to accept some failures along the way, and to be patient while developing your skills to match your expectations. However, what I learned from my experience is that any difficulty or failure teaches us something and prepares us for the future. So, I try to see them as an opportunity to grow and to further develop my craft.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The first place that I would take them would be Santa Monica Beach to have a wonderful view of the Pacific Ocean, I love taking a ride on the bike path from Santa Monica to Venice. Another activity that I wouldn’t want them to miss would be hiking at Griffith Park and seeing the beautiful view of the city and the Observatory. Going to Big Sur for a quick one to two nights of camping trip would also be a great way to show them the great nature of California. Of course, there’s also the Grand Central Market and the city vibes, incredible museums like LACMA and the Broad. And for me, one of the best parts of Los Angeles is that so many artists come here to perform, I am sure we would catch a great show even if we don’t plan for it.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people that helped me immeasurably along my journey and I cannot thank them enough. My shoutout goes to my parents for always supporting and encouraging me. My guitar teachers in Turkey, my professors at Berklee College of Music and California State University, Los Angeles, as well as my talented friends and colleagues who also deserve much credit in my story with their influences. I want to thank everyone who have had inspired and helped me throughout my path.
Other: Follow IF on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6p3xqd40R66R6XoSfTLA6G?si=coOgOwZpR16ARUJGgxbXJA
Ece Muniroglu, Roan Fujio (Band Image)