Studies in sound
Aggie artist attains success in music, academics
Published: Friday, November 30, 2012
Updated: Friday, November 30, 2012 00:11
It’s as if he was born with music flowing through his veins. With a heavy influence of music from his family, Caleb Mak, senior supply chain management major, has developed into a striving musician with a sound of his own.
Mak is an emerging face in the world of music. He is set to graduate in December and will have the opportunity to continue the music success he’s experienced as a student.
“I’ve been influenced by so much growing up because my dad was really into soul and country and random stuff,” Mak said. “The groups at my high school were all metal heads and rock music, and I was influenced by my best friends listening to hip-hop and rap. I just wanted to put that all in one.”
Mak released his first album, “LOVE: Life of Virtuous Ecstasy,” nearly four years ago, and since then many major music labels have expressed interest in signing him.
“That happened when I graduated high school and during my freshman year at A&M,” Mak said. “I was getting a lot of calls from Sony, Universal, Motown, Columbia and Epic — huge labels.”
They even wanted to use Mak as the opening act for other well-known artists such as Chiddy Bang, Three 6 Mafia, Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean and Lupe Fiasco.
Despite all of the interest for record deals from music moguls, Mak held out on signing.
“I wanted to develop myself musically,” Mak said. “Back then they wanted me to be a pop singer, and I would’ve done anything. But now when I talk to people from Universal they say ‘We’ll give you all of the creative control.’”
Mak also wanted to enjoy his time in college.
“I was just getting into the college experience,” Mak said. “I didn’t want to quit it. All my friends were in college and I wanted to get my education.”
But now that Mak is graduating, he will have a chance to devote himself full time to making music.
“I still have good contacts with everybody,” Mak said. “So if I get that kind of contract now I’ll know what to do. I’m a lot older, I know what’s in the industry now.”
If simply earning a college degree isn’t enough of an accomplishment, Mak will be leaving A&M with a 3.5 GPA. He discovered the secret to success in balancing school with making music.
“There’s sometimes a clash between having to do musical stuff and then supply chain management,” Mak said. “They’re completely different. But if you’re really passionate about what you do then you’ll find time to do it.”
Mak has persevered through difficult workloads from school and music and wants to show people it’s possible to continue do to what they love, regardless of other responsibilities they have.
“I really want to inspire people to do it because a lot of people quit doing music after high school,” Mak said. “They quit doing music because they get stressed. If you really love it and you’re not just doing it for money and fame then you’re going to keep doing it. You’ll find a way to make it happen.”
In order to inspire and restore faith in A&M’s musically inclined students, Mak brought an organization called “Grammy U” to campus.
Grammy U, a subsidiary of the Grammy Awards, is for students who have dreams of working in the music industry. It gives them an outlet to meet and network with people in the music industry.
“When you think of A&M you don’t think of it artistically at all,” Mak said. “There’s no art school here, there’s nothing like that. There are a lot of kids here who are musically inclined who don’t want to do country. I really wanted to help students here network with people in the music industry, and Grammy U is an organization that actually lets you do that.”
Students who have worked with Mak said he is making a difference in the music scene on campus.
“He can be really inspiring to people who are threatened by pursing a music career in school,” said Jacob Reese, sophomore food science major. “He shows that you can be very successful in school and very successful in music.”
Jillian Harris, Class of 2011, worked with Mak in creating the Art, Music and Poetry Society at A&M.
“He’s a hard worker and very talented at music,” Harris said. “He’s very inspirational, and he loves what he does. You can tell just in the way he presents himself.”
Harris can also attest to the impact Mak has on the audience when he performs at shows.
“When he plays shows it’s completely different from all these other artists because he loves the fans and he loves getting them involved,” Harris said. “He loves to see people energized by his music and being moved by his music.”
Mak tries to create his music for people to relate to and have fun listening to. The songs he’s created encompass a variety of sounds for many people to enjoy.
“If you’re not into hip-hop, he has an amazing voice,” Harris said. “He has acoustic music, and he really hits a bunch of demographics, which is really cool too because a lot of artists stick with one genre. He hits so many different ones, which is interesting and marketable for him.”
Mak said he was inspired by three artists who he tried to mold together to create his own sound — Daft Punk, Kanye West and John Mayer — but credits Texas A&M for making him into the person he is today.
“This school definitely changes you,” Mak said. “I don’t think I would have gotten the sense of family from any other school. The students support other Aggies. I’ve gotten cheers at shows just on the sole fact that I’m an Aggie.”
For those who have yet to attend one of Mak’s shows and for those who have already seen him perform and still have lyrics stuck in their heads, there is an opportunity to see Mak in his last performance as a student.