As a modern-day Hannah Montana, junior communication studies major Tiffany Ruan is a college student by day, but becomes singer-songwriter Tiffany Day by night. With over 1 million YouTube subscribers and 18 produced songs, Day has recently added a new EP, Overdramatic, to her list of accomplishments.
As a classically trained musician, Day has been playing piano and violin since an early age, but only made it a serious career in recent years.
“By junior year [of high school], I decided to make music a hobby and do something a little more stable, so biomedical engineering was my first choice. I had this idea to go to University of Michigan and everything was planned out,” said Day.
However, her perfect plans reached a fork in the road after a school trip to Italy changed her fate.
“I went to Italy one spring break with my school choir and I found this well that had an incredible reverb and so I sang into it. I sang the song Hallelujah by Leonard Coen and had my friend record it,” said Day. “It’s funny. I didn't want to post it, I didn't want it out, but I just thought to myself, I never post singing videos.”
After sharing the video to Twitter, it garnered 13,000 likes in under a week and only went up from there — now holding over 13.5 million views. Taking advantage of this newfound following, Day started a YouTube channel to post covers.
“It was all very organic. I would record a cover [at] like two a.m. ... I'd be like, oh, I like this, and then I would just post it. It was never like, oh, new video every Friday. It was more just like whenever I felt like it and I felt like it a lot,” said Day.
Gaining momentum on YouTube, Twitter and Instagram for her voice, Day decided Los Angeles was the next step for her. However, moving across the country to pursue a career did not sit well with her parents, who had hoped a college degree could be fit into the plan. After compromising on pursuing both education and music, Day packed up for LMU.
Now three years into college, she has released a variety of singles and EPs, while also balancing a full-time student schedule.
“I think it's really dope that I can still be in college and do this at the same time. LMU provides me like a hole, like it's like my other world, if that makes sense. At first it was really hard to balance my career and like college together, but then it almost became like college became an escape from like the music industry,” said Day.
While LMU does offer a distraction from her musical responsibilities, she has found a variety of talented connections and collaborators within the LMU community. One of them being junior film and television production major and Loyolan video intern Jesse Payne, who directed one of Day’s music videos and will animate another coming soon.
“I was also connected to Noah Glassman, who's literally the homie. He's so cool. And he kind of inspired me to get my whole set up and he's also the one who taught me how to solo on the guitar for the very first time,” said Day. “All of these people have just, like, linked me to one another and I feel like they did kind of impact me and my career in bigger ways.”
Although she has worked with collaborators, Day does must of the work herself — from writing music, self-producing songs and directing her own videos,
"Everything was produced by me, which I take a lot of pride [in] ... because I feel like to be an artist part of it is the writing, but also like being able to produce and capture the sound that you want to portray is really cool,” said Day.
Her newest EP, Overdramatic, features three songs — You’re So Fucking Mean to Me, We Need to Talk, and I’M Overdramatic and I Miss You. Clearly shown through the bold titles, this mini mixtape represents a difficult time in Day’s life.
“It represents this cycle that I went through with this boy who was at the time I thought was like my first love. I had been with him for seven months and by month one, I already saw the red flags. But for some reason I just thought, like, oh, you can change someone,” said Day.
Each one of the songs explains the three stages of a toxic relationship, from when emotions turn from anger to sadness to remorse and repeat themselves again. This isn’t the first of Day’s songs to come from a real life experience, as most of her songwriting is rooted in reality.
“I don't think there's been a single song that I've released that doesn't have some sort of backstory to it. It almost feels like weirdly artificial to write about things that like are not real, if that makes sense,” said Day.