Local teen uses singing, songwriting to handle high school pressures

Local teen uses singing, songwriting to handle high school pressures
Carlsbad High School senior Antonia Duggan poses in her signature performance look, a white sundress and red cowgirl boots, in her home in Carlsbad. Photo by Rachel Stine

CARLSBAD — Since she began her music career, 17-year-old Antonia Duggan knew that she belonged singing on stage with her guitar.

Smiling as she described the feeling of performing her original songs, she said, “When you look out and you see little kids like dancing around and you see my parents like sitting there and talking to people and just like looking really proud, it just feels good. You just feel like that’s where you meant to be.”

But despite her love of singing and songwriting, dedicating herself to her music was not an easy choice for the Carlsbad High School senior.

For the vast majority of her life, Duggan was a competitive soccer player, devoting weekends to tournaments and playing on the variety team all four years of high school.

With her dad running a local soccer club and her cousin playing soccer professionally on a women’s team in England, Duggan said she felt like soccer was “engraved in me.”

Even with offers from college teams and pressure from coaches, she felt that she had run her course with soccer.

“I’ve played for 13 years, I’ve lived it up. It’s time for me to move on,” she said.

She looked forward to focusing more on her true passion, music, in college, and leaving the never-ending soccer practice and game demands behind. But she was nervous about sharing these feelings with her family.

“Knowing in my heart that that wasn’t what I wanted to do, I felt like I was letting my whole family down,” Duggan recalled, running her fingers through her long, blonder hair.

At first she considered lamenting about her soccer vs. music conflict on Facebook and Twitter with emoticons and hashtags galore, as most of her high school peers did.

But she decided to work through her concerns by writing a song instead..

“I’d rather turn (problems) into something positive than just a bunch of people just saying words (on social media) and nothing really comes of it, you know?” she said.

Duggan wrote “Heaven Sent”, one of her five original songs, to boost her confidence in her own choices at the beginning of her junior year.

“In my song I said, ‘I’m proud of who I am,’ and, like, I’ve worked hard to figure out who I want to be and who I am,” she said, quickly adding, “And obviously I have a lot more to go, I’m only 17-years-old.”

Since then, Duggan has used songwriting as a way to deal with other emotional situations she has come across in high school.

Another one of her songs, “Realign”, “obviously came from a high school boy crush,” she said.

Laughing, she described writing the song as her way of saying to her crush, “Oh my gosh, I really like you.”

Now just weeks away from graduation, Duggan is set to attend Cal State San Marcos in the fall to study nursing and will not be joining the soccer team to focus her free time on writing more songs and performing locally.

Already in the coming weeks, Duggan is set to perform at Westfield North County’s “Rhythm and Youth” music showcase on June 1 and June 2 and will perform at the Del Mar Fair twice this summer.

“I’m always going to be doing music no matter what,” she said.

Visit Duggan’s website antoniaduggan.com for recordings of her songs and updates on her future performances.

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  1. Lily Nelsen says:

    Congratulations on starting the club! I’m a songwriter too and did the same thing a year ago at my school. It’s still there, even though I’m gone. Songwriting is a positive way to cope with all kinds of pressures. All the best to you!!
    Lily

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