College Artists, Producing More Than Degrees

From roommates to bandmates, these college musicians are bonded for life.

About 15 years ago, a couple of dudes met at a college party. After talking about Radiohead for a while, they decided to start a band. At the time, the up and comers took third place (out of four bands) in a campus basement’s battle of the bands. Now they have two Grammys under their belt.

Columbia University brought Vampire Weekend together. Their experience at college shaped their sound directly and indirectly. Columbia gave them a place to meet and bond in a way that other experiences couldn’t offer.

College is brimming with young love, heartbreak, and a bunch of people figuring out life. For musicians, this time can fuel passionate music, like Vampire Weekend’s ever popular, “Campus.” Whether students drop their feelings into lyrics or learn to harness their energy into performing, their results can amaze peers and fans thousands of miles away.

While it’s too early to know the success of those just starting out. Their music can still be enjoyed and cherished in the present, here are three songs written and performed by college students. 

Goodnight, I’m Going to Sleep’ by The Magnolias from the University of North Carolina

As a three member group, Sam Gatlin, Danny Knutelsky, and Bryton Shoffner would rehearse in the basement of UNC’s music building. Gatlin sang one of their songs for a professor, Jason Richmond, who then offered to produce their album for them.

In ‘Goodnight I’m Going to Sleep,’ their most popular song on Spotify, they blend classic indie-alternative instruments with angelic melodies. They spent hours perfecting their recordings. The process of producing took longer than any of them expected. Despite the frustrating hours, they ended up with something they were proud of.

“There are a few songs that I can go back and feel the process, they were so fun to make,” Gatlin reflected.

Pretty Girl’ by Sorrymom from Utah State University

Three of the four members of Sorrymom started playing together in high school. They’ve collaborated throughout the years to establish their sound – a mix of classy and emo rock.

“Because we’ve gone through a lot together, it’s made our music mean a lot more and I think that really comes out in the sound,” Spencer Felix, the band’s bassist, said. 

The tentative beginning of ‘Pretty Girl’ followed by a strong chorus echoes the feeling of reflection and courage it takes to apologize to one’s mom.

“The best compliment we’ve ever received was that our music sounds like our band name sounds,” Felix said. “It was a pretty neat validation.”

Way Too Long’ by Rightfield from the University of Arkansas

The members of Rightfield, Jack Blocker and Reed Hoelshceir, met in grade school then went to different high schools. They met back up their freshman year of University of Arkansas and started writing music together. As seniors, their time at college is coming to an end. They discovered at least one thing during their stay at college: music takes priority. 

“School is an afterthought,” Hoelshceir said. “If I need to do music, music comes first.” 

‘Way Too Long’ is featured on Rightfield’s first album, “Rightfield, One.” In a combination of soulful vocals and electric guitar, Blocker sings of being away from a loved one.

Stay up to date with The Magnolias, Sorrymom, and Rightfield by following them on Instagram. And if you’re an artist in school looking to share your music, submit to HangTime Magazine!

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