Her Campus DePauw is excited to introduce our first Campus Celebrity of the semester, junior Jerald Parks from Indianapolis, Indiana! Jerald is currently a CRA and DJ at WGRE here at DePauw. He is looking to pursue a major in Communications and English Writing. Jerald also makes his own music and is an aspiring rapper. He’s a great person with a great personality, so here’s your chance to get to know him!
Her Campus: Hi, Jerald! Thank you so much for letting me take some time out of your day to interview you.
Campus Celebrity: It is definitely an honor and thank you for choosing me.
HC: Well, Jerald. Word on the street is you are an up-and-coming rap artist. What has inspired you to create your own music?
CC: Originally, Eminem inspired me to start writing my own music. The plethora of words that he had available to him that he utilized amazed me. I wanted to do that same thing. Then I heard styles like Drake where he blended genres together and had a sub-genre of Hip-Hop. I thought that was really dope, so I began to actually create music instead of just writing it.
HC: It’s amazing how such great artists have been able to inspire you. Let’s hope you reach to the top like they have! I believe in you. Since everyone has to start somewhere in the music business, you started at WGRE. Tell me a little bit about what you do you at WGRE. How does it feel working at WGRE and do you feel like it’s preparing you for your future?
CC: I like WGRE. I think it’s a huge opportunity that not many people on this campus take advantage of. I mean, it’s the #2 Rated College Radio Station in the NATION. How could you not capitalize on that? So I created the “Hip-Hop Hour” there (Thursdays, 9-10pm, by the way) as a result of my “tenure” there—I say tenure because I’ve been DJing at WGRE since the first semester of my freshman year. Right now it’s going pretty well and I tell myself that if being an artist in the industry doesn’t work out, my plan B is to become a radio show host, like “Sway in the Morning.”
HC: Working at WGRE will definitely set you on your way to fulfilling your plan B, but let’s just stick to plan A for now! I bet a lot of people out there believe in you and can agree that you won’t need your plan B! With working at WGRE, being a CRA, and a full-time student, does your music get in the way of your academics?
CC: All the time. I would say it’s the other way around, though. I feel I don’t take my academics as seriously as I should—but I’m a junior in college. I think I should start looking at the bigger picture (internships, networking, etc.) and, for me, that’s focusing on what I want to do after I walk across that stage next year. Right now, that’s music. Not to say that I don’t take care of my academics—I have been on the Dean’s List multiple times just to put my last comment into perspective. But if you had to ask me which one I’d rather do, I would choose music every single time.
HC: That’s not a bad way to look at it. You definitely see that bigger picture and it definitely seems to be working out for you since you have been accomplishing so much. Because you mention that you’re a junior, which is pretty much past the halfway mark of graduating college, where do you see/want to see yourself in the future with music?
CC: I see myself becoming as big as Drake. Dream big, miss big. But, if I grind to be as big as that, I might just mess around and end up working with/for him one day. Never be too scared of rejection or people telling you “no.” That gets old real quick. People will recognize talent, ambition, and success. They sniff it out. They see it. And they will see it in me. If they don’t like it, they will respect it.
HC: That’s a great way to put it. I really see your ambition and it’s something not many people have. So you create your own music—how does music help you?
CC: Music is my therapist. I listen to it and just vibe. Nobody just vibes anymore. It’s sad to see, but it’s true. Nobody just kicks back, listens to music, dissects it or uses music as a tool of unity and discovery. Now it’s just background noise. Maybe my mindset is “old school,” but music means something to me still. It helps me understand the people delivering the message and it also helps me understand the person I am listening to. That’s why lyrics are so important, and that indescribable feeling when you listen to music, and you share that feeling with the people around you, that’s real.
HC: I understand what you mean! You dig deeper to grasp that message the artist is truly sending out. You take the time to feel it and take it all in. You appreciate music for what it is. Since music is your therapy, do you think your music will help others?
CC: It already has. It helps me. I’ve had people come up to me in tears and hug me after some of the songs I’ve performed. I’ve had people tell me that they listen to my mix tape non-stop—people I don’t even know. I’m only growing, you know? I have a lot of people around me who would like to see me be successful. I have some who help me to be successful. Of course, I have others who kind of act like nothing is going on—they’ll learn eventually. To each their own. My own is just my music. My dream. You don’t have to vibe with my music, but you cannot deny its content and authenticity.
HC: That is definitely amazing to hear. I see a bright future ahead of you and wish you the best of luck! Again, thank you so much for letting me interview you. Congratulations on all your success and future success as well.
CC: I want to thank you as well. Stay tuned for #TimelessFlow2015.
If you would like to listen to Jerald Parks and follow him through his journey to success, check out his SoundCloud below.