Widgets Magazine

Students by day, DJs and songwriters by night

Apart from its engineers, Stanford has been home to its fair share of talented musicians, including Sameer Gadhia, lead singer of Young the Giant, Jack Conte of Pomplamoose and hip-hop artist Jidenna. Many musicians on campus today are not professionals, but full-time students who juggle their passion for music with other pursuits. The Daily spoke to three up-and-coming student musicians – whose interests range from guitar to rap to DJing – about their inspirations, aspirations and what it’s like to be the life of the party without having to dance.

Trisha Shetty, guitar player & vocalist

Trisha Shetty ’18 studies political science and computer science, but she has another passion too: music-making.

Shetty began playing guitar at the end of seventh grade, but didn’t start working on her own songs until just over a year ago, when she took a quarter off to work in production. She started recording and making music more diligently upon her return to Stanford.

As a rising artist, Shetty has had to write, produce, record, mix and master her music, all on her own. Though the process can be time-consuming, she enjoys being able to write her own music.

“I’m originally from India, and the arts weren’t really encouraged that much in the community I grew up in,” said Shetty. “So after coming to Stanford, there was this massive spotlight on the arts and in America in general. I always found more meaning in music than most of the other things I was doing.”

Shetty counts the early works of John Mayer, Ed Sheeran,  Nico and Vinz, the Weeknd and Drake among her influences. While she feels political science and computer science may seem different from making music, Shetty has found the Stanford community to be very supportive of her music career. So far, she has played at Party on the Edge, Battle of the Bands and Junior Year Arts Night.

Shetty said she loves playing live and watching people sing along to her songs, but wishes there were more musicians on campus and more of a community among them.

“I feel like CS is what everybody talks about,” said Shetty, who wants computer science, economic development and music to all be parts of her life. “I do wish there were more musicians on campus who want to pursue music after graduation as a career or in some professional capacity.”

Her new album will be released next year on both Soundcloud and Spotify.

Kenta Yaegashi, DJ

Kenta Yaegashi ’20 at work (Courtesy of Kenta Yaegashi).

Kenta Yaegashi ’20 has been a DJ for four years. Though he studies economics and computer science at Stanford, music was part of his life first. A classically trained violinist, Yaegashi has been playing the instrument for 17 years and sees his DJing as a natural continuation of his orchestral beginnings.

“I like to think of myself as the conductor of the party,” said Yaegashi.

Yaegashi was born in the U.S., but growing up, he lived in Moscow, Geneva and Tokyo. He started DJing while attending international school in Tokyo, where he learned the craft from behind the turntables of a fellow DJ from Sweden. Soon after, he was playing at venues for high school parties and was approached by the manager of a local promotion network in Tokyo. This allowed him to start playing in the Tokyo nightclub circuit as a high school student.

At Stanford, Yaegashi has found the variety of niche music tastes challenging as a DJ. Despite his disdain for East Bay rap, for example, Yaegashi enjoys being able to balance genres and read a crowd, which he says is the number one skill of a DJ. Ultimately, he wants everyone to be able to enjoy themselves and have a good time.

“I don’t really like to party that much,” said Yaegashi. “So being a DJ is a good way to mesh going out, being the center of the party, with not having to do any of the awkward dancing stuff.”

Yaegashi is a huge fan of old school hip-hop, like Dr. Dre, 2Pac and Biggie, but the artists that have most influenced his work are Flume, Martin Garrix and Avicii. Kenta enjoys playing live and playing the music of other artists, but will occasionally slip in his own work and original mixes.

Even as he pursues his other interests, music has remained a big part of Yaegashi’s life at Stanford. He has played for two all-campus parties his freshman year, as well as the Halloween party at Maus this year. On the organizational front, Yaegashi is also the current financial officer for the Stanford Concert Network, a student-run organization that runs all-campus concerts and gives its members experience planning larger events.

But for Yaegashi, music is only a hobby – at least for the present.

“The way I look at EDM and a music career in general is more practical,” said Yaegashi. “If it ever takes off, then I might consider doing it … As of now, I have different career ambitions.”

Yung Slee, rapper

Yung Slee ’20, a sophomore from Washington DC, agreed to be interviewed on condition that The Daily refer to him only by his rapper name. The name came to him one day in 11th grade, marking Yung Slee’s entrance into the world of rap.

Though he never received musical training, Yung Slee began to write poetry and lyrics as there was no “barrier to entry.” Soon he found himself rapping over beats, and thinking more seriously about his musical interests the summer before he came to Stanford.

Drake has been a huge influence on Yung Slee, who admires the musician’s versatility and the new genre he created. He also enjoys the work of Flume and other EDM artists. But above all, mixing diverse genres and moods has been a defining characteristic of Yung Slee’s own creations.

After travelling around the UK and getting exposed to different kinds of music, he wrote the song “Wavy Ting,” which was just released last night on Soundcloud. He said the song has a strongly positive vibe to it, something that he tries to include in all of his music to challenge the binary of “sad songs” versus “get-hyped songs.”

Getting to connect with fellow musicians and music-lovers has been one of Yung Slee’s favorite parts of making music at Stanford.

“People come up to me and ask me to collaborate on music and I think that’s really unique and specific to Stanford,” said Yung Slee. “In the dining hall or even walking down the street, people look at you and say ‘Oh, aren’t you Yung Slee?’ and then through that, you can meet all types of people. I think that’s a really unique perk about being a musician at Stanford.”

 

Contact Elias Mooring at eliasm ‘at’ stanford.edu.

 

This post has been updated to more accurately reflect Trisha Shetty’s discussion of her interests.