Shivan Bonanno is a 5th year PhD student of neuroscience, and a self-made song writer and performer. He released his first EP last year, and is seriously pursuing a musical career after graduation.
Shivan moved from Berkeley to the UCLA for graduate school, to find himself in a top-tier lab and in a LA LA land. From there he started his bipolar life of pursuing both a science and a music career.
“For many years, I didn’t sleep. I would work all day in the lab, be one of the last to leave. Then I would come home, spend a few hours eating dinner, and hanging out with friends perhaps, then whenever I could I would play music until 2am or 1am. Then I would wake up at 7 and go to lab.”
But he soon realized graduate school is much harder than he thought. He went through a dark age of his PhD career, and finally realized his heart has always been in music. He’s had the dream since 16, only he never worked with every fiber in the beam. But, “just being in LA doesn’t guarantee you anything. Being in UCLA doesn’t guarantee you anything.”
The key is “meticulous hard work with a lot of revisions”, for science and music alike. It’s easy just to do experiment, but to acquire enough presentable data is another story. Same with music if he would want to show his work to others. Getting anywhere, really figuring anything out, is always hard and exhausting.
Shivan is now aiming to finish his graduate school in one year. Meanwhile, he also plans to release another EP and market it more fiercely, and to play live as much as possible.
Looking back, Shivan remembers coming to graduate school expecting a very “focused” life that centers around neuroscience researches, reading papers and writing his own. What he eventually gets out with, however, is a lot more general, about the world, bureaucracy, life, and himself.
Follow Shivan’s music on shivan-music.com or find his EP The Meantime by Shivan.