Jourdan Duncan – Staff Writer –
With a clear vision of his future as a performing artist, sophomore Jamaal Sancho reminisces on one of his fondest memories as a child in his very own spotlight.
“Singing and dancing I’ve always done as a kid starting from when I was three years old,” Sancho said. “My grandma would always have parties and I would always go in the middle of the dance floor, put down a hat, and just start dancing in front of people and they would put money in there.”
In between the average busy day of a working college student, Sancho’s talents include singing, rapping and dancing. His prior experience as the leader of an acapella group and teacher of hip-hop classes at a studio throughout high school lead him to get involved on Southern’s campus by joining Symphonic Pulse Dance Company (SPDC), Acapella group, Fortissibros, and the Gospel Choir, Jubilee Singers. Sancho simply said, “As a freshman, I was just looking for things that would fit me and my personality and what I like to do.”
Music is not just a hobby for Sancho, but a future career that he is trying to pursue while studying communication disorders as a backup plan. Aside from attending practices for SPDC, Fortissibros and Gospel Choir, he spends most nights working in a studio located in downtown New Haven with a well known producer that is helping him put together an album. In high hopes of a lifetime passion turning into reality, Sancho anticipates being signed by a record label soon and with the connection of various Georgia, New York, and Connecticut radio stations that are soon to play his songs that dream is drawing closer.
With the recognition of the challenges various artists have faced in having to choose singing over rapping or vise versa, Sancho said, “Singing and rapping are definitely both my top priorities. I can’t choose one over the other. My producer said, usually it is easy to pick which one you’re better at but he thinks I’m talented enough to pick them both up equally.”
As an artist, famous or infamous, there’s usually a target audience or a fan base that is attracted on its own depending on the genre or style of music. Sancho classifies his music as “hip-hop and R&B” but covers all sounds such as love songs and more upbeat party songs. While explaining the process that takes place when matching up a beat to the lyrics, Sancho said he usually will “listen to the beat first and just sing what comes off the top of my head” and other times “think about the concept of the beat and if I have any lyrics for that concept.”
“You can’t choose the beat, the beat has to choose you,” Sancho said is his most commonly used phrase and reminder to himself.
The challenge of singing and rapping aside from dancing is apparent, but only adds to the diversity and individualism within the music; thus making a name for himself. Sancho believes the sleepless nights spent in the studio are worth his time because this is his future. Music is his constant everyday alarm clock and he doesn’t mind staying awake for it.
“I’ll lose sleep over it, its fine. I know I have to make sacrifices to get where I want to be. It’s what I want to do with my life, so why not start now?”