Photo by Michael Cornwall / MTSU Sidelines
Story by Jessica Knoble / Contributing Writer
MTSU is home to an immense group of aspiring artists, anxious to share their creativity with the world. Musicians of all kinds find a home at the university and many opportunities that await them. One of those is Evan Upton, a freshman songwriting major from Knoxville, Tennessee, a rap artist who is determined to take his career off the ground in flying colors.
Upton began writing lyrics when he was seven years old. He was part of a garage band club at his middle school, where many kids aspired to be future artists. A group performance was put on at a track meeting, and Upton left feeling permanently inspired.
“I performed one of my songs, and afterwards I got in the car when it was over and I thought, ‘Man, I wanna do this for the rest of my life,’” said Upton.
Upton takes pride in his Christian faith, and implements it within his songs.
“It’s because of God that I have everything that I have,” Upton said. “And I have this gift and talent and passion in the first place, so I can’t take this gift that He’s given me and not give him credit, not represent him well and use this to reach others and be an influence. I don’t classify myself as a Christian rapper. I want to make music that anyone can listen to and relate to. I’m just telling my story, and who I am, what I’ve been through, and what worked for me.”
Upton has had multiple opportunities arise from his short time at MTSU, and says it’s assisted in helping him progress as a live performer. It’s also been a way for him to become connected with other creative minds on campus.
“I’ve met a lot of great artists and people that have a lot of really good talent here,” Upton said. “I’ve been able to collab(orate) with them, work with them. We have a lot of good stuff coming.”
Among those artists at MTSU is Kate Caggianelli, a freshman music business major who was at Rocktoberfest in near the Cyber Cafe on campus in support of Upton’s public performance.
“Evan Upton – he’s amazing. He has an EP out now on Spotify,” said Caggianelli.
Upton released his debut EP titled “Genesis,” a five-track preview to what style of music his career is running towards, on October 21st, 2017, on Soundcloud.
“I basically recorded all of this here in my dorm, within a span of like, a month, and got it all mixed and mastered within about a month and a half or so. That’s probably my biggest accomplishment so far,” Upton stated.
Upton writes all of his own lyrics. The music itself comes from other local artists who he supports online by purchasing rights to the music they’ve created. Upton is currently exploring more ways of creating his own beats to shape his music more to his style. His EP “Identity Christ-Is” is his own music.
Jack Johns, Upton’s freshman roommate and co-manager, is excited to see where Upton can go with his music. “There’s a lot of improvement to do, but he’s gonna get it. (He’s) got to just keep pushing forward and running towards what God has for him,” said Johns.
Upton idolizes artists like Big Sean, Logic, Lil Wayne and B.O.B.
“Style and flow is really good. That’s what I’m kind of aiming for.”
Upton has a list of goals set for the end of this year. Right now, he says that the focus is building a fanbase and putting his name out there.
“I have a goal of getting three songs completely finished by the end of this year for my next project.” Upton plans to release either a mixtape or a concept album at this time next year.
Upton had one main message for those who are looking to begin a career in the music industry: “Know yourself. Know what you can and can’t do. Know what you’re good at. Be honest with yourself. If you’re making music as commercial as the next guy- stop. If you’re gonna make music, be serious about it, be who you really are. Be intentional, be positive. Be a good influence, don’t just be in it for the fame or fortune.”
“Don’t let fear stop you,” Upton said with passion. “That’s something that I’m working right now. Letting go of fear and just doing it. If you want something, and it’s meant for you, just go after it.”
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