May 10, 2018
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -
Joseph Mastando ’14 was the keynote speaker at the Mount’s recent induction ceremony for the Sigma Tau Delta International Honor Society for English.
Arts and Letters alumnus Joseph Mastando ’14, a founding member of the band Pros & iCons, recently returned to Mount Saint Mary College to discuss his path to success and to inspire current students.
Mastando was the keynote speaker at the college’s recent induction ceremony for the Sigma Tau Delta International Honor Society for English. Mastando became a Sigma Tau Delta member himself when he was a student at the college.
As an English major at the Mount, Mastando managed the student newspaper; acted in the college’s mainstage theater productions; and thrived in the college’s rigorous Honors Program.
Pros & iCons’ popularity quickly skyrocketed since their beginnings performing in the college’s Knight Spot lounge in 2013. Their first EP, iConography, was released in 2014. In 2015, one of their songs was used in a Jaguar commercial. In June of 2017, the band released its first album, iConic.
His time at Mount Saint Mary College, Mastando noted, gave him the confidence to step outside his comfort zone and reach for his dreams.
“I had stage fright until I was about 20,” he said, revealing that auditioning for and performing in the college’s theater productions “inspired me to put my voice into the world.”
His Arts and Letters degree “narrated the journey” of promoting his band, Mastando said, from social media skills and writing press releases to managing websites and creating music video concepts.
Mastando gave current Mount students some advice: “Live bravely and without regret,” he said.
“As much as I felt that I was a singer at heart, I knew I loved writing and I knew I loved thought,” he explained. “Driven by the fear that I might not do all I wanted to do in life, I forced myself to write a 140 page novella” for a student project. The experience was worth the time and effort, he said.
Pros & iCons features three other members: Lenny Morales and Nicholas Vaude on guitar and Tyler O’Leary, brother of Shawna O’Leary ’15, on bass.