Going Against The Grain: Britt Espinosa (2012 ATG Artistic Scholarship Winner)

2012 ATG Artistic Scholarship Winner Britt Espinosa
Britt Espinosa graduates this June after being homeschooled with a variety of academic courses through public school, online, community private courses and self-directed learning.  His community service and leadership experience includes a month long service trip to South Africa with Global Expeditions, Food packaging and shipping (Children of the Nations), Sharenet Christmas Shop volunteer, Small Group Leader and Kairos Youth Group Leadership Team.  Britt is an Awana Citation Award winner after serving for 10 years with Awana International.

Britt studied classical piano for 10 years and had formal voice training for 2.5 years. He quickly discovered he loved music and found himself on various musical groups singing and playing; not only piano, but also guitar, bass, and the occasional drums.  Britt is actively involved in leading a musical ministry team, teaching younger and newer musicians.  He has received multiple artistic awards, including Superior Ranking in Male Vocal Solo and Superior Ranking in Christian Band.   In the past two years, Britt has performed and toured regionally throughout the West Coast with his band, The Exchange, playing about 100 events during that time.   Whether it is through singing with fellow team workers in South Africa, performing for youth on stage or leading a team of young musicians, Britt values the power of music.  “When words fail, music speaks. – Hans Christian Anderson  Britt will attend Northwest University this coming fall, with his anticipated major being Music Business Management and Performance.

Full name:

Britt Larson Espinosa

Hometown/Current City:

Kingston, Washington



What does ‘going against the grain’ mean to you?

To me ‘going against the grain’ means having the discipline and drive to pursue a dream in the midst of hardship, stigma, and setbacks. Discipline includes dedication to education, working when you don’t think you can go anymore, and having foresight. Having a ‘drive to pursue’ means to make the most out of every opportunity, and to also hold onto to the dream when things are slow and require patience.

How do you go against the grain?

I live to pursue and accomplish. When I set my sights on a goal, I will do everything to accomplish that goal. I go against the grain because I know that education, foresight and patience are essential to success.

On the importance of art to a community: (excerpted from scholarship essay)

“A man named Thomas Merton once said, ‘Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.’ Art plays a huge role in culture, community, relationships and everyday life. In my opinion, a society without art is a society that has no identity or soul. Art is an expression of the soul, like Thomas Merton said, it pushes us to ‘find ourselves’ and lose ourselves’…Art affects much of our culture and the way we identify with our culture.  From branding to movies, art is the aspect that our souls react and respond to. Art is important in our society and community because it gives meaning, purpose and identity to individuals and groups. Without art, the world would be a bland place, full of people without an identity and without the desire to find one.”

What made you decide to pursue a degree in music/music management?

I’ve always loved music, and musical performance. I started the band, The Exchange,  in 2010.  Over the next two years, we went on to perform almost 100 events, playing shows, youth camps and conferences throughout the West Coast. As we gained more experience and play time, I started to fill the role of managing the business and road management aspects of the band. Through this and also my years of leading young musicians on a musical team, I came to find that I greatly enjoyed and was challenged by the business aspects of leading a band/team.  I want to sharpen my skills as an artist in my college years.  Additionally, I believe an artist can be much more effective and influential if combined with skills of leadership and management expertise.  A possible outcome of my combined education would be to become an artist developer and manager.

What have been some of the challenges you faced/lessons you learned as an Asian American in this field?

As an Asian American, I have always been aware of the undercurrent that exists, that I may not be given the “benefit of the doubt” as to my abilities or education.  Sometime during my middle school years, I read a book entitled Do Hard Things – A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations.  I came to realize I may not be able to change people’s initial perceptions about me based on their first impression. However, if I personally pursue excellence and not make excuses, in the end, I would become the best I could be and would eventually earn the trust and confidence of those I am working with.  Serving overseas in South Africa as well as through the various countries that I have traveled has also allowed me to apply this same principle of acceptance and openness to others, no matter what culture I may find myself in.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment, and why?

While I could initially say it could be my band, grade point average or even my overseas service project, as I truly reflect on a personal accomplishment, I would say it would be completing 10 years of classical piano training. This is my biggest accomplishment, not because of the years or even the hours of practice, but because there were several times I wanted to quit.  During my 8th and 9th year of piano lessons, I doubted whether sticking with piano was even worth it. What kept me going was simply my personal discipline and knowing that even though it was not always easy or enjoyable, I wanted to finish strong with my piano training.  Now, looking back, I can see how my piano training has opened so many doors and possibilities, even allowing me to learn other instruments more quickly.  I learned perseverance.  I learned that hard work can pay off and that reaching for excellence, even when there is no motivation, is truly the most rewarding after all.

What’s up next?

I will be attending Northwest University, where I will be working towards obtaining a degree in Music Business Management and Performance.  I also plan to continue touring with my band, The Exchange.  Recently, I was asked to be in Northwest University’s choir called Choralons.  This is an innovative choir comprised of 110 vocalists and a 7 piece rhythm section, of which I will be the piano player.

Quote to live by:

“He is no fool who gives, what he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose.” – Jim Elliot

Sign (Eastern Animal Sign & Western Zodiac): Rooster/Capricorn

Passionate about: Music, Jesus Christ and Rock-n-roll!

Favorite food: Lumpia

Can’t live without: Listening and playing music on a daily basis

What does it mean to you to be named the 2012 ATG Artistic Scholarship Winner?

I feel incredibly honored to be chosen out of all the very impressive entries and participants! It humbles me to see so many young people like myself making beautiful art and giving back to the community. To be chosen out of this group is a very great honor!

Learn more about Britt in the 2012 ATG Artistic Scholarship Finalist Announcement.

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