Megan Boyer flicks her cigarette and prepares to go inside. For Boyer, this afternoon break is not remotely different from an interlude during a performance by her band. But instead of retreating inside to end a show by the Megan Boyer Band, she grabs the door of the Lowry Hall building where she works as an academic adviser.
Coaching students to academic success and belting blues vocals in a microphone have their similarities, said Boyer.
"I like working with people and both jobs involve that," Boyer said. "Part of being an adviser is getting to know the student and figuring out classes that suit them. At shows I get to meet people who came to hear the band perform."
Boyer has always had an interest in music but did not assemble a professional blues band until November 2007.
"I play guitar but I learned the instrument to accompany my voice," Boyer said. "In a band I can do things musically I could never accomplish solo. I enjoy the dynamic between all the musicians and the different instruments."
The Internet was the birthplace of the Megan Boyer Band. Guitarist Jimmy Steffan wanted to start a band so he sifted through a Columbia music site and found an ad posted by Boyer.
"We got together and played some songs," Steffan said. "I thought it sounded really good. Megan is probably the best singer I've ever been in a band with."
The band's bassist, Mike Tripp, also connected with the band online. Steffan found Tripp on Facebook and asked him to fill in for a show, Tripp said.
Tripp, who is a freelance musician and 44-year-old music student at Truman State University, enjoys the other band members as much as the music.
"They are very cool people who appreciate each other," Tripp said. "The music is just the icing on the cake."
Blues stereotypically carries the stigma of an older generation's genre of music. The genre originated in the 19th century in the Deep South among the African American community. And although an older couple swayed on the dance floor of The Tiger Zou Pub & Grill at Friday's show, the music played by the Megan Boyer Band was not tired or elderly.
"Blues can be simple but it has a lot of soul to it," Steffan said.
Soul is undoubtedly present in the band's music and in the rough voice of Boyer.
"As a female blues singer, I have a wider range of songs," Boyer said. "Female blues lyrics are sexy, empowering and sometimes raunchy."
On stage Boyer is as nonchalant and modern as she is in her office. It would be no surprise to find Boyer advising a student wearing her patched jeans, graphic tee and Vans which she wore at her show.
While Boyer loves music and her band, she does not have plans to seek fame.
"I realize the reality that I need to pay my student loans, insurance and live a comfortable life," Boyer said. "I try to maintain a balance between life, music and work. My goal is not to be a rock-star; I simply enjoy music."