Emma Off The Record: Work N’ Play

College is weird. Let me be more specific. It’s one of the most unique, amazing, and humbling life experiences, and it’s probably one of the only times that a heaping pile of opportunities sits smack in front of your face. You’re probably thinking, “Wow, what a groundbreaking thought, Emma,” but seriously, hear me out. Of course, we all have loads of homework and responsibilities to attend to on a day-to-day basis that can sometimes feel like one neverending rat race. Yet, there are other times when you end up finding creative ways to mix a little bit of play into your work.

Photo Credit: Emma Kopelowicz

Way back in August, I bought tickets to see Steve Lacy at the House of Blues on October 3. I’m a bit of a concert junkie, to say the least, so I could barely contain my excitement waiting to see one of my favorite artists jam out live on stage. I’ve seen the icon himself twice before, but he was performing as a member of The Internet, another one of my all-time favorites. Over the summer I kept telling my friends that if Steve Lacy didn’t go on tour to promote his debut solo album, Apollo XXI, I would have to somehow track him and his manager down and beg in person. Fortunately, it didn’t come down to that, but I can assure you that I would have followed through.

With the tickets secured, all I had to do was wait for October to roll around. It was just as agonizing as you’d expect, but I persevered. Around the same time that I bought the tickets, I reached out to my friends at WTBU and asked if they could possibly swing me a press pass. I figured if I was going to see Lacy live, I might as well put my journalism skills to use and write a review of his performance (which was glowing, of course). 

Photo Credit: Emma Kopelowicz

A few weeks ago I finally heard back from the WTBU promotions team and got myself approved for a pass! I felt so professional walking up to the box office and watching them cross my name off the official guest list. When doors opened at 7, my friend and I darted straight for center stage. I whipped out my trusty notepad and started scribbling away details about the set design, the lighting, and the overall ambiance of the place. I love picking out little sensory details that help paint a more complete picture for my readers, like the scent of Long Island Iced Teas wafting through the air and the dazzling sight of Steve Lacy’s sparkly, pink bass complete with a rainbow strap. I don’t necessarily use all of them in my articles, but it doesn’t hurt to write them down for memory’s sake. In case you’re curious, the man put on one helluva performance and you can read more about it here

Photo Credit: Forbes

I’m not just going to gloat about how I went to an awesome concert and had a grand old time. I also want to give you some advice about how to incorporate a little bit of fun into your outrageously busy schedule. Believe it or not, it IS possible. The key is to find the kinds of extracurriculars that encourage exploration, whether that be writing reviews about concerts or doing community service in a neighborhood you don’t frequent often. Another important factor to consider is whether the “work” that you’re doing makes you feel fulfilled in some kind of way. Too often do I feel guilty about doing something fun for myself when I know there are a million other things waiting for me on my to-do list. For the record, this kind of mindset mostly applies to me while I’m in school, but occasionally it creeps up on me during breaks. Not everything that you do has to come with a mission statement, but it can help ease your worries about whether or not that fun activity was time well spent. 

I whipped up a funky R&B-inspired playlist with a few bedroom pop jams this week to honor the one and only Steve Lacy. His solo work definitely defies categorization, but I would say he seems to be inspired by artists that fit into the genres I just mentioned. I included a few of his bops like “Playground” and “Dark Red,” but I let him share the spotlight with a few other contemporary musicians I’ve been into for a while. I added a mixed bag of upbeat grooves like Still Woozy’s “Lava” and Ravyn Lenae’s “Sticky” (a.k.a. my song of summer 2k18).  If you’re looking for some more lo-fi cool beats, there are some tunes from Banes World and Blood Orange to satisfy your appetite. 

This playlist has just the right dose of songs to bop to, as well as a few slow jams that will put you in the right headspace to get back into that workflow. We all tend to get swept up in the can’t-stop-won’t-stop work ethic, but sometimes you’ve just got to get up, dance, and let yourself live a little. Having fun and giving yourself a little bit of chill time is perfectly acceptable, and it’s a plus if you’re able to get some form of work done at the same time (although it’s not necessary). All work and no play is no way to live, so my suggestion is to get creative and find ways to blend them both. That’s right, you should have your cake and eat it too!



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