Student musicians use digital network

By Megan Bradley, Staff Writer

Carly Shultz considers herself an artist at heart. Shultz, junior in LAS, has worked on photography and surrealist art but is now starting to incorporate music into her artistic expressions.

Shultz said her music currently does not fit into a specific genre, but it incorporates parts of multiple genres and normally includes marimbas and flutes (two instruments she loves working with).

“My inspiration to create comes from my feelings; whenever a strong emotion hits me, I drop what I’m doing, light a candle and start playing on the keyboard,” Shultz said. “Being free and fearless when creating music is key in my opinion, and that’s how I create my songs.”

She recently posted a link to a new song she wrote on the University Class of 2020 Facebook page, looking for feedback and to connect with other musicians and producers on campus.

Beyond student musicians having social media as a resource, there are a few RSOs on campus that work to support and foster connections between student musicians.

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TrakHouse is an RSO that encourages student artists by providing networking events, concerts, recording sessions, productions and other resources for them to succeed.

“I wanted to build an official student-based record label that gets multiple talents involved,” said Antwon Billups, junior in FAA and TrakHouse’s president. “Being a musician and a producer myself, I not only wanted to have musicians, singers and rappers in the group but to also have a way that non-musical artists can be part of something big.” 

Billups said TrakHouse’s current goal is to have successful showcases for students to perform their music and eventually, he would like to connect student musicians with record label representatives.

Groove Daze, another RSO on campus, provides resources for student musicians beyond their performances. Groove Daze works on developing the visual component of musical expressions, such as music videos.

Groove Daze recently started a YouTube series to further showcase the artists it works with. To participate, students only have to express interest in being featured and in sharing their music on the platform.

“Organizations like us are significant for musicians because brand is everything and getting your name out there is important,” said Myra Rivers, junior in Media and founder of Groove Daze. “We give a way for artists starting out to still get that quality coverage without the expenses.”

Shultz created her original Facebook post with the ultimate goal of spreading her audience to classmates before hopefully sharing her music with even larger audiences.

“I want their feedback. I want to collab. I really want to connect with others with my music. It’s exciting,” Shultz said.

RSOs such as TrakHouse can foster musician collabs and allow musicians to reach larger audiences than they would on their own. Billups created TrakHouse based off the connections musical artists need to make with other artists to succeed. Rivers created Groove Daze for similar reasons.

“I’ve dabbled in music here and there for forever, but ultimately, I love all mediums of art, so developing a hub where all things creative kind of intersect was pivotal for me,” Rivers said.

Student musicians who are interested in creating a brand for themselves will likely use connections like the ones fostered in TrakHouse and Groove Daze to start their careers.

Shultz said she is excited for her future music career and has been working on improving and training her voice, with the goal to continue doing collabs with other artists.

“A campus like U of I can be the birthplace to amazing, talented artists,” Shultz said. “There’s a type of energy you get when you work with other young artists, it’s like you fuel one another’s creativity. If it’s great, on a campus like this I’m sure it’ll spread like wildfire.”

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