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The Blue & Gray Press | August 17, 2017

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Student artist takes over UMW campus

Student artist takes over UMW campus

By MONA OSMER

It always seems as if our passions find us or that what we choose to do with our lives chooses us, as if it were destined.

On February 24, Alex Bryant, or AB, released his first mixtape, “48:15.” His musical project has taken the campus of the University of Mary Washington by storm.

At a young age, musician and songwriter AB noticed his connection with rap music.

“When I was nine and ten-years-old, my friends and I were never outside playing ball. We were inside making music,” said AB.

Although he has already gained a local fan base, he remains humble.

He is enigmatic and complicated, his voice layered and versatile. When he talks about his passion for writing and performing, his whole being lights up.

“The first time I ever showed my friends a verse that I had written I was on a school bus. I performed my verse for them and the way they reacted to my work got me hooked. The jaw-drops and the yells of excitement made me want to pursue rapping, so I guess you could say it was all their fault,” said AB with a laugh.

Now, almost five years later, he admits, “I truly love to write, and it’s everywhere in my house. I even spent nine months where I was just by myself and my writing.”

Although he notes “there is a challenge in writing that is getting what’s in my mind onto paper in a clear way that people can relate,” it is his biggest accomplishment in “48:15.”

I have two personal favorite songs from the album. One of which is track nine, “October 22,” and the other being track three, “Pitted.” These two songs are actually based on true events, and both songs accomplish the feeling of pulling the listener into the story, as if you are living with the singer, AB, in that moment.

“October 22,” with its heavy drum and chime based beat, “was just a story about my roommate and I visiting a friend in Richmond,” tells AB. “We were hanging out, and all of a sudden we hear a bang on the door… the cops wanted to search the place for drugs and they kept us all in the house during their search. Everyone else in the house got caught up with charges except for me.”

In contrast, “Pitted” was much more spontaneous. The song’s piano based beat is an original of DJ Mason Carlton.

“It was funny because the collaboration started off as a joke,” recalled AB. “Mason created an original beat from a popular YouTube video, and at the same time Tanner [a featured rapper on the mixtape] had a chorus. So I just so happened to decide that I would go home and write some lyrics.”

“I came back the next day and laid down my verse. This was all during the summer, and now it’s like we didn’t even know what we had. Everything fell together and it couldn’t have been better timing,” said AB.

AB draws from a heavy influence of artist J. Cole and his firm belief that the human experience should steer away from materialism and focus on the relationships and connections between human beings.

“I want my listeners to know that I am just like them, and I am trying to figure out my life just like they are. I want them to know that they should live their lives and make sure they are okay with the decisions that they make,” said AB.

His music is about being better. It is a project that includes original and clean beats, and it is simply too good for the radio. AB is surpassing those who rise to the top using catchiness and a simple mind.

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