Whether she is on a house rooftop, onstage at Cafe 939 in Boston, or belting out the words of her latest creation at a Wax on Felt Records show, singer-songwriter Micah Schure is in her element with an acoustic guitar in hand.
The junior communication studies major can also be found making music and jotting down lyrics late at night for her forthcoming digital album. But although Schure may be known at Emerson for her performances at various open mic events in the city and on campus, her renown has recently become national after Glamour magazine named her one of this year’s Top 10 College Women.
Schure said she heard about the competition when she was in high school, but had forgotten about it until the fashion and lifestyle publication contacted her in November, encouraging her to enter the contest after editors discovered her February 2011 single, “Rebel,” on iTunes.
To compete in the contest, rising juniors must submit a short essay, outlining their greatest accomplishment, according to Schure. She said her two-page paper was about a show she performed in 2012 at Montville Township High School in New Jersey — where she graduated from. She dedicated the show to a wounded former Marine.
“While he was serving, he lost both of his legs, and I raised $60,000 for him during a benefit concert so that he could redo his house so he has wider doorways for his wheelchair, ramps in the front, just things that will make it easier on him,” she said.
Wendy Naugle, executive editor of Glamour, wrote in an email to the Beacon that this was the 56th year the magazine ran the program. She said the contest aims to discover women who the publication thinks will be influential in the future.
“We seek out the best and brightest college women who will change the world — we think of them as the Michelle Obamas and Sonya Sotomayors of the future,” Naugle wrote.
Some of the past winners include Martha Stewart, former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller, former Cosmopolitan editor-in-Chief Kate White, and Olympic gold medal swimmer Allison Schmitt, wrote Naugle.
This year, Naugle said Glamour received more than 1,000 applications. The Top 10 College Women feature is part of the magazine’s May issue, which is on stands now.
Schure said she wrote and recorded her first song, “Hot Woman, Strong Woman,” with her father when she was nine. Naugle said this is one reason the publication was drawn to her, along with being hooked on “Rebel.”
“We expect to see her name topping the charts sooner rather than later,” Naugle wrote.
Schure said she found out she was one of the 10 winners in January. Nine of the winners — including Shure — will receive a scholarship for $3,000. One of these women was selected for a $20,000 award, she said.
Schure said she plans to put the money toward school, although Glamour does not require her to do so, and is using her recognition as motivation to start working on her five-song album. She wants to record it this summer, she said, but is not sure when she will release it.
“The first thing I was thinking was, ‘Yes, my summer classes are paid, that’s so awesome,’ ” she said. “But then I was thinking, ‘Whoa. I’m about to be in a magazine across this entire country, and people are going to know who I am, people are going to look up my music,’ and then I was like, ‘I got to get recording.’ ”
Schure said last year, she played one show a week, but she has taken a break from performing this year to write new material.
Although she moved to Towaco, New Jersey when she was older, Schure grew up in Manhattan, and said she came from a musical family — her mother is a publicist in the industry, and her father is a musician. However, even though she recorded her first song when she was nine, she said she did not pick up the guitar until she was 15.
Schure started by learning covers of songs — her first was “I Miss You,” by Miley Cyrus — but said she soon switched to writing original compositions after being inspired by John Mayer’s work. She said she writes songs based on real-life experiences, making the process therapeutic.
“Instead of me lashing out and going crazy, I just put it in a song,” she said. “And then it’s behind me, and I don’t even think about it.”
However, she said all of her songs share a similar sentiment.
“The common theme, no matter what age I am, will always be love,” Schure said. “I just think it’s the easiest thing to write about and the most relatable.”
Junior Fred Kim, a friend of Schure, said she can be secretive about her writing process.
“It’s a more private thing,” the marketing communication major said. “I wouldn’t say it’s not accessible, but I wouldn’t say she’s very open about it. You know, that kind of comes out more when she performs.”
Schure promotes her work through her website and social media, and said the single has done well on iTunes despite the fact that she is just starting to release material. She recorded the track with financial support from her parents, and getting the song online was fairly simple, she said.
“The thing about iTunes is [that] it gives you credibility, but the truth is, anyone can get on iTunes,” she said.
Although Schure pursues her goal of becoming a professional musician on her own time, she said she came to Emerson because her major in communication studies could provide an alternate career if music doesn’t work out.
“It’s still a dream to be signed to a record label and perform big, sold-out shows.” she said, “But it’s not what’s important, I guess, so long as I’m able to keep playing music.”