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Student Spotlight: Becca Duffy makes waves for female musicians


While New Brunswick's underground music scene flourishes with a laundry list of bands, there can — at times — be a lack of front-women present. But the idea of girl power has been blooming full force, and Rutgers is one of many places that embraces the movement with open arms.

Cue singer/songwriter Becca Duffy, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore. Her unique nature doesn’t only stem from her style, but from her cultural upbringing as well. Being adopted from China with an American upbringing, Duffy grew to realize there is a void for representation of minorities in pop culture and the music industry overall, and hopes to someday contribute to that change in a large way.

Starting out with a strong passion for piano as a child, Duffy went on to learn to play other instruments and find solace in her guitar. While she was a part of a band in previous years, she currently takes the stage solo.

With artists like Halsey, Nirvana, Tegan + Sara and Weezer on her playlist, Duffy surrounds herself with a wide variety of eclectic sounds to influence her own music. Playing many events and coffee houses, the raspy nature of Duffy's voice is refreshing against the dark, yet soothing tone she brings to her covers.

Duffy plans to ultimately become an established artist and share her music across the globe, exposing herself to other cultures while being influenced by the variety of sounds. For now, she expresses her love and content for the diversity at Rutgers, as she is constantly surrounded by different backgrounds and is constantly making connections.

Unfortunately, the outside world isn’t so inviting when it comes to female musicians, and attempting to book shows has had its downfalls. Duffy said when she first searched for places to play, such as restaurants and bars, her focus was not on her music or performance, but solely on appearance. 

“As a woman artist trying to get hired, I was almost like, I was very insecure about my body and how my job would actually be affected if I didn’t like wear certain clothes or act a certain way,” she said.

Auditions made her fear that she wouldn’t be taken seriously unless she wore a low-cut top or a revealing skirt.

But she also said this experience taught her that it’s all about surrounding yourself with the right people, especially those who enhance your interests and are open to all that you’re passionate about.

“Coming to Rutgers, I’ve been introduced to a whole new section of people that are all supportive of me, and that I can wear whatever I want," she said. "It’s really boosted my confidence and now I can go up on stage in like, skinny jeans and rock a pretty cool band tee.”

While the music industry is a cut-throat business, Duffy learned that with confidence comes endless opportunities. It was through performing that she was able to create a stage presence filled with passion and emotion, which really helped connect her to her audience.

Even though Duffy still has a few years left at Rutgers, she is open to seeing where her music takes her upon graduating. Although she knows that succeeding in the mainstream is going to be tough, she said it’s not about the fame or publicity, but about creating and playing music that is genuine and raw with emotion.

“I played a song, one of my original songs, and someone personally came up to me, and told me that the song really impacted them and actually helped them move on from a certain, stressful event and hardship that they went through, and that it really inspired them to just keep on going on. And, I thought, wow, I can’t stop now," she said.

For more information on Becca and her music, visit her website here.

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