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Graduate Assistant by day,
Singer by night
By James Fitzmaurice, staff writer
Carissa Biele leads a double life. A graduate assistant in the Admissions Offce
by day, she’s a country singer by night.
Biele earned a degree in communication from William Woods University in
2006. Since graduation, she has landed on-air positions for both television
and radio, worked on SPEED TV production crews and served as business
development coordinator at Memphis Motorsports Park, coordinating major
sponsorships and NASCAR events. She has sung the national anthem for
numerous NASCAR events televised on ESPN and ESPN 2.
Now the Fulton native is back home, pursuing her Master of Business
Administration (MBA) degree at William Woods. The aspiring country
music star has performed back-to-school concerts for WWU students in
2010 and 2011.
When she’s not in a night class, Biele plays concerts in Fulton, Columbia,
Jefferson City and Moberly. Occasionally she plays out of state. In September
she played at the Hard Rock Cafe in Nashville, Tenn.
Justin Conrad and Biele play in an acoustic band called Rad & Rissa. The
two musicians write original duet and solo songs. They have a bass and guitar
player, as well as a drummer, on standby if the venue prefers a full band.
Q: What was your favorite part about living in Memphis?
A: One of my highlights was walking into a hole in the wall bar, it wasn’t on
Beale Street itself, it was just on a random street in Memphis. There [was] no
cover, six or seven people hanging out at this bar and there was this awesome
band that I heard from outside. So we went in. It was the Zac Brown Band.
And I was front row, just having a drink. It was incredible …
Q: How does the Memphis music scene differ fromMissouri’s?
A: I think that Memphis just screams, “music belongs here.” It’s like Nashville.
It’s a famous place known for musicians like Elvis, Johnny Cash and B.B.
King. They all came out of that area, so it’s just a draw for professional music.
You go there and you play, usually for tips, but you’re not making money.
You’re just trying to stick your foot in the door, meet people that are within
the industry. Here, when I’m home, I don’t feel that pressure of being a
professional. I feel like I can just go out and do what I love and
have a great time.
Q: Where do you see your career going after the MBA?
A: That is the question of my life right now. But, I have interests in
broadcasting, journalism, music and, actually, motorsports. So, I’m taking
all of those things that I’ve put in my pot growing up, including running a
business of my own. I’m not sure where that’s going to go yet. I’m actually