Realizing ideas with Tsai CITY funding

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From left to right: Hero Magnus, Emily Li, and Archer Frodyma.

EL: I’m Emily Li, I’m a sophomore in TD [Timothy Dwight College] and I’m from New Jersey — I started writing when I was 16, and I started singing when I was 9 or 10. It’s always been something I’ve been passionate about. I have a band on campus called Grove, I’m in Mixed Company, which is an a capella group, and I also perform a lot at random performances here and there. Caroline Ho and I are also recipients of Tsai CITY and the AACC’s Arts & Media Innovation Award, and we write and perform together — so, I’m always looking for grants to support new music!

AF: I’m Archer Frodyma, I’m from Cleveland, and I’ve been writing songs since I was in the fifth grade, which is when I started playing the guitar. In terms of the music scene on campus, I’ve been involved with the classical side of things, but I’ve also been trying to perform my original songs because that is where my passion really lies. It’s much easier to navigate the performance and collaboration scene with other people, so that’s why I’m really excited to get to work together for this performance — I’m also excited because I have nine songs that I’ve recorded that I’m going to release soon.

HM: My name is Hero Magnus, I’m from right outside Washington DC, I’m also a sophomore, and I started writing when I was 14. At the end of high school, I was playing a bunch of shows, and I was excited to start writing music for other artists and bands. But when I came here, I began performing a lot, and I really wanted to take advantage of the creative community here. So many people are involved in the independent music scene and it’s a little hard to tap into, but I’ve definitely benefited and enjoyed all the collaborations. I really want to do this as my job — I want to write music forever. I’m also releasing two new songs on December 13th!

What was the inspiration behind the event, and what can people expect to see and hear?

EL: My boyfriend goes to Vanderbilt, and when I visited him, we went to this concert called the “Song Suffragettes.” It was basically this listening room in Nashville with five woman singer-songwriters onstage. There were just stools, a mic, and a guitar, and they just went in rounds. That’s basically what the whole thing is — it’s a songwriter round. So Hero will sing us a song and tell us the story behind the song, then I’ll do one, then Archer will do one, and then we’ll collaborate on a cover at the end. It’s just us sharing music and telling people about it.

HM: It’s also super interesting because people keep asking me, “Oh, Hero, what time are you going on?”, but this is a really unusual kind of performance — there are no sets. This is just an awesome chance for us to be up there together, goofing off, and I think it will be fun and exciting to watch.

AF: It’ll be stripped down, just each of us with our guitar and mic. I think that really gets to the basics of what the songs are.

Want to learn more about these students and their music? Catch up with Emily on Instagram and YouTube, Archer on SoundCloud and YouTube, and Hero on Instagram, Facebook, or Bandcamp.