Poached Eggs, Nick Drake, and Dire Consequences: An Interview With Clea

The world needs more Clea.

Originally from Brisbane, Australia, she is a singer-songwriter of the highest quality, singing all the right words in all the right places. Listening to her is a luxury, with only two of her songs currently available on Soundcloud.

I first heard “Polyester” about a year ago, being absolutely blown away by Clea’s vocal range and attention to lyrical detail. It’s such a personal song, the type of tune that is made to make you think, bask, and relate as much as feel. I should also mention the velocity and skill of her guitar work, which takes the song to an even higher level of wander and wonder.

 

Then you get “Dire Consequences,” a track that really steps it up in the production department. The useful blend of multi-instrumentation elevates the importance of Clea’s subject matter, with her voice reverberating and echoing throughout.

 

Enough talk… 

HG: So, the world wants to know… when is the “Dire Consequences” video dropping? I’m dying over here.

 
C: Soon soon! I can’t tell you when exactly but I assure you very soon!
 

HG: How long have you been singing and playing for? What lead you to make your own music?

C: I’ve been singing since I was a little girl and playing guitar for about 5 years. I then started to gig in 2013. I was so motivated and influenced by other musicians to make music… I was kind of like hey! I want to do that!

 

 

HG: Describe your perfect breakfast.

C: Poached eggs, sautéed mushrooms, cooked spinach, 1 piece of fresh sourdough and lots of salt! + 1 small soy flat white… Mmm I’m starting to salivate.

 

 

 

HG: Who are some of your favorite artists to listen to? Is there one that especially touches your soul?

C: Wye Oak, Grizzly Bear, Laura Marling, Nick Drake, Ainslie Wills, Beck.
I have a soft spot for Grizzly Bear, I’ve been a teary-eyed fan girl for quite some time.
 

 

HG: How excited are you for your London shows? What do you think about touring so far? Any places you’d like to travel next?

 
C: Excitement for London shows gets an 8 out of 10. I’m more so traveling around and playing a show here and there rather than on tour…. but it’s bloody fantastic so far. Yeah! I’ll be heading to Ireland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and possibly a few others! Europe is alright.

 

 

HG: Tell me about your songwriting process. Is there a certain method to creating your music?

 
C: I write about my feelings and sentiments at the time. I muck around on the guitar, find a sweet chord and go from there. I mumble a few lyrics, some may stick and some I have to write down later. It can take me up to a day or a month to finish a song.
 

HG: “Polyester” is such a beautiful song. Tell me about when you wrote that. It seems so personal to me.

 
C: Oh thank you! I was a heart broken girl when I wrote “Polyester”. Yeah it’s very personal… I guess most of my songs are.
 

 

HG: What is next? What can your fans expect?

 
C: I shall be traveling for the next 4 months, playing shows, writing and meeting fresh faces! As soon as I hit home soil I’ll be getting stuck into my EP!

 

For more on Clea, click here.

If you wish to submit music, send it to blueharvestbeat@gmail.com.

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Artistry, Industry, and Double-Edged Swords: An Interview With Majesty Da God

Straight from the belly of Los Angeles, Majesty Da God has been making a name for himself.

Born Melchizedec Andrews-Bey, the South Central rapper has been dropping lyrical dynamite on Soundcloud, with catchy instrumentals to back his dynamic rasp of a voice. He grew up with a passion for artists that spoke about their surroundings honestly, falling in love with hip-hop icons like N.W.A. and Notorious B.I.G.

Da God shows appreciation for his influences without ripping off the artists he has idolized, something many, many rappers struggle with daily (let alone for their whole careers).

Here’s what we talked about…

HG: “God” is the latest single you’ve dropped on Soundcloud, and on the track, your voice and flow match the beat perfectly. How do you know when a song is finished? How do you prepare and write your verses?

MTG: I just have to feel really good about the song from start to finish. I’ll listen to a song for a couple of days sometimes weeks before I put the stamp on it. As far as verses, I just write. I find the right beat, pick a topic and just go. I’m always recording lines here and there on my phone that I freestyle throughout the day so if I’m having writer’s block I go to the catalogue, find something I like and run with it.

 

HG: “The game done changed since I was younger, they flooded the market with bullshit left the good shit buried under.” How do you feel about the current state of modern hip-­hop?

MTG: I think it has its pros and cons just like anything else. I think when you’re looking at the majors it seems like most of them are following a pattern of how to turn a profit which is the objective of any business. It’s just unfortunate that the artistry is taking a dive because of it. A lot of independent artists are trying to fit into that mold as well so you get a bunch of music that sounds the same.

It then trickles down to the consumer because most people don’t want to take a chance on a new artist because they’re bombarded with the same material all day. But then on the other side you have great artists making phenomenal music because it’s easier to get your music on iTunes and all these platforms where fans listen to music now. But there’s so much competition and only so much advertising space to go around. It’s very hard to get through the noise, but once you do the world can witness great music.

It’s definitely a double-­‐edged sword so as an artist you just have to pick your lane and go.

HG: Describe your perfect breakfast.

MTG: I think the best breakfast I ever had was the French toast from Hash-­House A Go Go in Vegas. Get you some cheese eggs with green onions and a couple strips of bacon. That’s a breakfast for the Gods.

HG: Who are some of your favorite artists in the game right now?

MTG: Lately I’ve been banging that Panda track. It’s pretty dope. I’m curious to hear what he follows up with. My main artists though are Kanye, Kendrick, Drake, Pusha T, and Jay-Z. I also can’t wait to hear that No Way Out 2 by Diddy. The 1st one was a classic. He should reach out and get me on that album.

HG: “Bass” absolutely bumps. Tell me about collaborating with Black jacket Pictures for the video. Did you have an idea of what you wanted before you shot it?

MTG: First off, shout out to Ro and all the fam at Black Jacket. Those cats are phenomenal. I didn’t really have a clear idea at first but once I took Ro and Amanda to the venue where we shot it, they came up with these dope ideas that really made the visual pop. Our zombie chick was pretty dope.

HG: Tell me what makes a good song to you.

MTG: A song that stirs up emotion in you. It could make you dance, laugh, cry, angry, anything. Those are the songs that last and stand the test of time.

HG: What’s next for Majesty Da God? What can the fans expect in the future?

MTG: Well I’ll be dropping the The Apollo EP II soon. The first video I’m filming this month is for the song “Chain on 50.” I’m doing that one with Black Jacket as well and It’s gonna be better than anything we’ve ever done so far so I’m excited about that. And I’ll definitely be on the road a lot more this year so make sure you follow me @MajestyDaGod on all social media to stay updated on dates and new music. As far as the future, I’ll just say that I’m always growing and learning as a person and I hope that will be reflected in my future projects. I just encourage my fans to enjoy the ride and where ever it takes us is where we’ll be.

 

For more information on Majesty Da God, click here.

For interview queries or article ideas, please contact blueharvestbeat@gmail.com

 

 

Smooth bars, Fried Eggs, and Saturday Blues: My Interview with Healy

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By: Harrison Giza


Hip-hop is at it’s biggest climax in history, with artists struggling to sound different and striving to stand out. However, Healy is doing just fine in that department, dropping some of the tastiest raps this side of planet Earth.

Based out of Memphis, Tennessee and signed to UK label DeepMatter, this guy really knows how to make smooth hip-hop. His track “life like” is beach-coated glimmer with a dash of homie enormity. It is one of my favorite songs of the year.

What makes Healy so good? To put it simply, his precise care when recording. His voice matches his instrumentals, with both the words and instruments behind him syncing perfectly. On “saturday blues,” with an instrumental produced by Chris McClenney, Healy mixes genres with the swiftest of ease, rapping and singing better than any rapper on the radio currently.

I got to talking with the man just a few weeks ago, asking about his career and what exactly is next for him.


HG: What do you think is the hardest thing to accomplish when you’re writing a new track?

H: The most time-consuming part of songwriting for me is for sure the formation of the story. I like to let my life be a catalyst for most of the songs I write, and sometimes that just takes time. I can’t really wake up and say, “I’ll write a song about unrequited love today.” It’s a passive process that kind of just happens, but it’s pretty incredible when it does.

HG: You pick your beatmakers perfectly. How did you get in contact with Chris McClenney for “Saturday Blues?” How did the creative process go?

H: I actually haven’t spoken with Chris to this day. I was hiking in Knoxville and found his tracks on soundcloud and just kind of started jamming to them. Before Chris’ vocals came on in ‘More Love’ I had this cool vision, so I cut the track up a bit. A few months later some Saturday night plans fell through with friends so I picked up a 6-pack and wrote that song in my car outside my house.

HG: Describe your perfect breakfast.

H: I’ve got this solid routine at the moment of waking up and frying two eggs over medium, toasting an English muffin, slapping some pb and honey on it, and making a latte. I’m a big proponent of chicken and waffles as well.

HG: Tell me what makes a good song to you.

H: Anything that evokes emotion.

HG: What are your favorite albums in hip-hop? What makes them your favorites?

H: I listened to Graduation almost everyday on my way to and from high school. Aside from anything Kanye, Section.80, You’re Dead!, The Carter III, and Power in Numbers are some of my favorites.

HG: How do you feel about the current state of hip-hop?

H: It’s cool. There’s no use in being scared of progression or innovation within genres. All genres, including hip-hop, are subject to this sort of perpetual evolution. Right now you have several artists creating and employing new flows, bending meter, and incorporating live instruments in their music. I think it’s awesome and I’m excited to see where it goes from here.

HG: A few blogs have labeled your work as “acoustic-rap.” Do you find that label suits your work?

H: Labels are labels, man. If somebody thinks I make pop music, they can think that. The same goes with the acoustic-rap stuff. When I think of acoustic-rap, turn of the decade Ed Sheeran comes to mind, but to each his or her own.

HG: I absolutely love “life like.” The groove, the bars, all are mixed perfectly with some tasty sound effects. How long did it take for that track to be finished? What was the songwriting process like?

H: I think I found that track mid-March and sat on it for about three or four months. I was living in Florida this past summer, so one day I woke up with this killer view and got some really unique inspiration and wrote it. The track fits along in a story of several tracks, but this particular part of the story is offering insight into the character’s delusions of grandeur. I wrote and recorded that day, checked myself for like three weeks, then sent it over to Christian (tyler coolidge). I explained the story to him and he was all for it. He really adorned the track and contributed to this neat, symbiotic songwriting experience I’ve yet to encounter since.

HG: What’s next for you? What can we expect next?

H: I have a few collabs with some really cool dudes being wrapped up in the next few weeks. I’m in school at the moment, so I’ve just accepted this incredibly irregular rhythm of production.


For more:

Salmon Breakfast, Sly Gusto, And Baby Spice: My Interview With Oscar

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By: Harrison Giza
Photo: Daniyel Lowden

Oscar Scheller is an artist who deserves a Grammy. He’s dropping a new album soon, but before you go and fall in love with his sure-to-be unreleased beauties, you should get familiar with the songwriter himself.
He has dropped just three songs on his Soundcloud, but the trio of tracks are nothing short of absolute pleasure. Oscar has a way of making his art come across with sly gusto, a magnificent feat with a Morrisey atmosphere. The lyric video for “Daffodil Days” is great too, simple enough to match Oscar’s vintage new-wave vantage like sand at the dreaded beach.
On Facebook, he describes his music as being in the “Poptart” genre, but does not go into what flavor it consists of. Is it frosted? Is it not? Is there really a need to be asking these questions?

I talked with Oscar a few weeks ago, trying to put together little pieces of the artist as best as I could.

HG: “Stay” is an addicting listen. Tell me how you wrote that piece?

OS: I wrote the chorus chords on my little Casio keyboard that I carry around with me everywhere I go. They came first and then the verse came afterwards. It started out with quite an R’n’B type attitude to it, but then the chord progression brought out something more mellow.

HG: In “Beautiful Words,” you talk about your love of using the English language. Do you have a favorite word?

OS: My favourite word at the moment is ‘mystic.’
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HG: Describe your perfect breakfast.

OS: Smoked Salmon on a toasted sesame seed bagel with Avocado and Poached Eggs!

HG: How did you end up making the Spice Girls swoon at such an early age? When was that photo taken?

OS: I think I was so shy in front of them. Me and Baby got on the most (makes sense) but at the time my favourite was Sporty. That photo was taken in 1996 by the Camden Lock. My mum interviewed for her magazine just before they reached world fame.

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HG: You have a new album on the way. If you could, describe it’s sound for us.
 

OS: It’s quite a varied sound, it’s like a bag of pick ‘n’ mix. There’s sweet and sour. Different shapes and sizes.

HG: The riffs that you make force my feet to shake. In your opinion, what makes a good guitar line? Who is your ideal guitarist?

OS: I’m glad that’s the case! A good guitar line is one that makes you want to play along, and something that isn’t too complicated. Like a story that you can follow without getting lost. My ideal guitarist is Link Wray.

HG: “Daffodil Days” pumps with energy and cleverness. When recording a song like that, do you find yourself more focused on perfecting a track or going with the flow until it comes out just right?

 

OS: That song was one that melodically came together fast but I had a real fight to fully realize the drum pattern in both the verses and the choruses. Originally, it was going to be drum-less, and stood more as a grungy lullaby. Then, after a few days of listening, I decided on that Motown pattern, and in the verses something more minimal.

HG: What’s the last song you want to hear before you die?

OS: Too difficult to say at this point. I suppose it would have to be something pretty epic and transcendental.

HG: Besides making great music, you’ve also got great style. What do you find yourself wearing the most?
 

OS: I’m a real sucker for denim, and also, love a good jacket.

HG: And finally, where do you want to be a year from now?

OS: In a studio, recording the second album and making a challenging and new sonic journey, discovering, playing all over the world. I want to keep evolving.

For more on Oscar, click on the links below:

Walt Disney’s Absalom: Don Bluth and the Nine Old Men

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By: Colby J. Herchel

Twitter: @cjherchel


There is a fourth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as watching Toy Story in your pajamas. It is the middle ground between taste and talent, between sound and vibration, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his pop cultural knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call… THE FOURTH PLANE.


 

Ah, Don Bluth, the eternal example of a man who no one remembers but inexplicably everyone knows his work. For my first career-spanning look back, I’ve elected to give this remarkable artist his due, even if some of his work is looked on rather poorly in hindsight (hem hem “Rock-a-doodle”).


Suffice it to say you’ve seen “The Land Before Time.” You have. People forget that this picture made the most money for any animated feature EVER before “The Lion King,” then bested by “Toy Story 3” and “Frozen.” See a pattern? But before the roar of the Disney Renaissance, they had, aptly, the Disney Dark Age, and who, if we’re going to represent the European history analogy to its fullest (I will, you’ll see), the Byzantine Empire was Don Bluth.


Our hero began like a young Walt– he loved animation for its innovation, and where better to prosper than at Walt Disney Animation itself? He had a hand in films like “Sleeping Beauty” and “The Sword in the Stone” (which would go on to inspire our dear John Lasseter to take up the fold years later), and even directed the animation portions of the oft forgotten “Pete’s Dragon” (Which certainly should not be). This is a particularly enjoyable venture, with a bundle of fantastic songs to boot. In fact it’s going to be remade in a year or two if I’m not mistaken, but without these songs [refer to the power ballad “Candle on the Water” to understand the heinousness of this act:

Yet even though his successes were growing at the studio, he found that even though he was the young darling of the Nine Old Men, animators who became the proverbial disciples of Disney at his passing, the old timers were fairly adverse to innovation, and were largely behind a span of the Dark Ages known as the Xerox Era (the timeline’s coming, I promise). Here, they replicate scenes in new features by “xeroxing” the new characters on old templates. For fun examples, shown here:

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So we’re circling around the late 60s early 70s at this point. And of course, all the new animators, still young and idealistic, were frustrated at having to serve under a series of talented but conservatively dated elders. Don Bluth was, of course, their Absalom, ready to rebel against the studio that birthed him for refusing to let go of the past and innovate on.

thumbIt was for his 42nd birthday that Don Bluth rounded up the best and newest animators from under Disney’s nose and created a new studio, and as is habit for big new upstarts, it began in his garage (see every post ’75 innovator ever) with a thirty minute short called “Banjo the Woodpile Cat.” It’s all available on Youtube, and its quite fun. Actually, I highly recommend it. It’s got a wonderful story, and though it has a couple of references that our old pal presentism might take issue with, ex. smoking and corporal punishment, you never see the titular cat get the spanking and it’s not to really be thought about.

This story comes from a personal one from Don Bluth– he had a cat who lived in his woodpile in Utah. It becomes kind of a love letter to his own youth; yeah, if you get in trouble, your dad would spank you, it was how it was, not that that should be promoted. And it plays with every kid’s thoughts that come when they get in trouble: “This isn’t fair, I want to run away from home!” This short plays with that, with a lovely set of cats in Salt Lake City showing him that maybe things weren’t awful where you were. This protagonist isn’t always in the right, which really is a departure– when have we seen that post “Pinocchio?”

Oh, and the songs are wonderful. Don Bluth himself wrote the music and lyrics. I’m thoroughly impressed, as the thirty minute journey is mostly musical. Of course, it didn’t get much screen time, and that venture faded quickly. It was on to new things and here I won’t go into too much detail– we’ll discuss the movies he made from here as we go along, week by week. But after “Banjo” he got the rights to a phenomenal children’s novel by Robert C. O’Brien, “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH,” and made what many consider to be his masterpiece, “The Secret of NIMH” in 1982. This of course received few showings across the country, but had, as would be a norm for Bluth, done well with the home video market.

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The studio didn’t have a lot of money at this point, but continued to do non-features such as a scene from the campy “Xanadu” and a cult classic arcade game, “Dragon’s Lair” (along with its even zanier sequel), which quite honestly started the action-adventure game in my book, followed by its companion “Space Ace” in 1984. A couple of guys got wind of the amazing “Secret” and decided to give animation a try. These bozos were none other than Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, and they brought Bluth around to animate two pictures: “An American Tail” and “The Land Before Time.”

These did exponentially well, and even when their collaboration ended (they were done with Bluth’s darker storytelling), the studio went on to make a string of so-so work to flops, and eventually Bluth started working for 20th Century Animation, making his final work there. It’s imperative we discuss the tone of Bluth’s work– he set out to treat kids with darker stories, he believed they could handle it. And you know, it’s because of him that people even consider making animation on that level, and look at Pixar– they almost follow his model to a T. He focuses on character flaw, and flawed they are, just like Woody and Buzz were when we first met them.

He’s far from the perfecter, but he is the innovator. And some of his work is absolutely gorgeous. I still think some of his final work is ahead of its time. You’ll hear me gush and sigh a plenty about the fellow, but all in all his impact on family entertainment is substantial. He may have fallen when Disney got its sea legs again, but his influence is echoing even today.

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Colby is an undergraduate student at the University of Connecticut. He can be found singing with old women in his spare time.


 

Losing to Silence of the Lambs: Animation as a Serious Medium

11653313_10204710484264197_1853948115_nBy: Colby J. Herchel

Twitter: @cjherchel


There is a fourth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as watching Toy Story in your pajamas. It is the middle ground between taste and talent, between sound and vibration, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his pop cultural knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call… THE FOURTH PLANE.


 

It’s often you’ll meet someone from the generation just beyond the first 1990 birthdays who cares for animation with fondness into adulthood. We were born with the Disney Renaissance, myself days from the premiere of The Lion King. But what sets us apart is the fact that we didn’t grow up with Disney. It’s where we started.

As our cognizance grew of what separated films we liked and films we didn’t, the studio that emerged was– you guessed it, Pixar. Our relationship with the Disney Classics was on home video, but Pixar was cranking original after original in the early two thousands. I recall seeing Finding Nemo in the theatres with my brother, and going with my mom and a friend to see The Incredibles the very next year. And with Pixar came John Lasseter.

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There will come a time when I delve deeper into John Lasseter, the man and the boy, but now it’s only important that I discuss what he did besides of course head Pixar, then be pulled onto Disney Animation as well (please, these are two disparate studios. Brave is not a Disney Movie and Wreck-it-Ralph is not a Pixar). One of the most important things he did to bring animation to the forefront of this generation’s mind was by dubbing and releasing Studio Ghibli films.

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Before the year Spirited Away beat out Lilo and Stitch at the Oscars, Japanese Animation was only Anime, and in America, Pokemon (not to say I was not absolutely OBSESSED with Pokemon, like so many others… say, is there a correlation… oh well, another time). To this day, if my sister is in the room when I pop in Howl’s Moving Castle to sob a little bit, she’ll tease “Are you watching Pokemon?” To which I’ll take the bait and shout through my tear streaked face “No, this is a MIYAZAKI!” She, of course, was too old to rent it at Hollywood Video (yes, we were that family), and consequently never realized animation was a medium for more than children.

But we did. And look, Beauty and the Beast was nominated for Best Picture the year it came out (losing to Silence of the Lambs), and then Up and Toy Story 3 in more recent memory. Isn’t it time for an animation to be regarded as the best, at least in the course of a year? The amount of craft that goes into every frame, yes, I’m even talking about The Penguins of Madagascar, the stellar music, the character arcs. I’ve wept more at cartoons than live action dramas (looking at you, Inside Out)! Japan has awarded their top prize to Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. Why can’t we do the same?

It goes without saying that ever since the feature length animation appeared in the U.S, it’s been kid fare. Many people mistake this as a bad thing, but I disagree. A wise friend told me that a film that can please kids and adults is much more difficult to make than a gritty drama. And look at the numbers The Lion King got! While Birdman walked away with Best Picture, more families saw Big Hero 6 like it or not.

Animation as a medium has been criminally sidelined in the world, but when you get down to it– animation is, in my humble blogger’s opinion, the most amazing medium out there. There are absolutely no limitations. You can make an audience feel for inanimate objects, animals, emotions, demons, and humans. You can dissolve the lines between fiction and non. I love that animators in the stop-motion and computer generated realm call each character a “puppet,” because both utilize the same suspension of belief as puppetry, allowing the audience to take a leap of imagination with the creators. And animation is just moving art whereas live action is moving photograph. Think of Starry Night by Van Gogh, and imagine if the people in that little village all come up to ride on the stars. To do that in a live action film, you would actually need to animate over the film to accomplish the same contours. Or you could just make it a cartoon.

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I’d like to take a week to week glance at animated films with you all, and what work went into each one. Note that I am doing mostly traditional animation, but as I catch up with the timelines, you’ll know that I’m unbiased with CGI versus traditional. Oh hell who wouldn’t find it refreshing to see traditional animation on the big screen (besides foreign studios who never get proper distribution… if I had a nickel…).

In recent years, a lot of people have tried to encompass the history of animation, but I feel that sometimes these function as reviews over explanations. And insofar as reviews go, I certainly am passionate on why I like a picture or not. But I think that we, as the post 90s generation, tend to see a movie as good or bad on whether the plot was good. Plot is an element, not a movie (steps down from soapbox). Be prepared to let go of plot– animation is fickle, and can avoid structure like water a sieve.

My hope is that maybe some of these ideas may make you want to watch some of these pictures again– or for the first time. There are some real duds out there, but there are some splendorous oversights. And who knows? Perchance by the end of this quest, I’ll be discussing the first animated best picture. One can hope. Tune in next week (tune? scroll? Oh. Subscribe) to hear the beginning of a most Shakespearean chapter in the lore of the animated film– the Tragedy of Don Bluth.


Colby is an undergraduate student at the University of Connecticut. He can be found singing with the homeless in his spare time.