As a coach and educator, nothing beats supporting our students as they step out of their comfort zone to pursue something they are passionate about. When we talk about the pursuit of a dream, we wouldn’t be doing Bellevue justice without covering the on-going journey of Tara Kuiper.
Tara Kuiper is a 2015 graduate of Bellevue Jr/Sr High School and a proud Bellevue Girls’ Basketball Alumni. It has been such a blessing to root for her on the sidelines throughout her high school career and beyond. From running our defense with her great anticipation up top to covering popular artists with a creative and talented twist, Tara has always challenged the norm and has a relentless pursuit of being “her.” And being herself is more than enough! I was able to catch up with her after the release of her debut single “Cry” and here is what she had to say…
Since graduating from Bellevue High School, I have moved around quite a bit. I moved to Nashville, Tennessee a few months after graduation to start pursuing my music career. Life in Nashville definitely had its ups and downs. Being in a new city really forced me to take a look at who I am and who I want to be. Pursuing music in Nashville was very hard. Not because of the city itself, but because of my own insecurities. It’s easy to see a dream in your head, but it’s much harder to actually take the steps you need to take in order to make it a reality. Long story short, I moved to Nashville, learned about myself, learned about the world, met my husband, and then he and I moved to Los Angeles. I have now lived in LA for about 2 years, and recently just put out my first single EVER, “Cry”.
“Cry” means a lot to me for many reasons. Up until writing this song, I had found it very hard to finish any songs. I would always get to the halfway point and just quit because the song didn’t feel like “me.” It took me a while to really understand and figure out my sound and my identity as an artist, but with this song I finally did it! I made something I am proud of and I put it out into the world, and that was honestly one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever felt. I am proud of “Cry” because the song is symbolic to me. It represents taking the first step into my career as an artist, and just doing the dang thing regardless of how terrifying it is.
Of course we had to ask about her time as a Bronco Baller. She had such kind words to share about our Program:
Bellevue Family Basketball has most definitely had a huge impact on my life. It taught me how to work as a team, and it taught me that everybody has their own skill and their own talent and their own strength, even if it looks different than someone else’s. It taught me how to handle wins, and it taught me how to handle losses. It also taught me how to be brave. My teammates and Coach Whit pushed me to do something that I was TERRIFIED to do, which was to sing the national anthem before our basketball games. I honestly wouldn’t have done that if I hadn’t felt the true support and love from my basketball family. It may not seem big to many, but for me, it brought me even closer to being on stage and singing in front of people, and I am so grateful for that. I will always look back on the days of Bellevue basketball and remember that if I push myself and believe in myself, I can do amazing things.
A few pieces of advice that Tara has for a graduating Broncos include:
- Get out of your comfort zone. Leave the place you grew up, even for just a short time, and try to see the world through your own eyes, not just the eyes of those you have known your whole life. I have learned the most about myself through meeting new people who have had a completely different experience of life than me.
- It doesn’t matter what others think of you. I know that’s a super cliche thing to say, but it’s true. While I had a lot of people in my life who supported me to work towards my music career, I also had a few that thought I was crazy, and that my dream was just too big and unrealistic. But in the end, its your life, not theirs, and I believe that dreams are put in our hearts for a reason, so go for it.
- Being successful doesn’t have to mean that you’ve got it all figured out. Success is found in the journey, and in the small things, and sometimes success can even be found in the form of failure. As long as your taking steps, and learning, and growing, I consider that successful.