We’ve changed things up to keep you on your toes! This week’s Campus Celebrity is 2002 Millersville graduate and singer/songwriter, Erick Macek. Recently, Erick appeared on an episode of NBC’s The Voice.
Originally from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Macek studied and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in art (commercial art and graphic design) and a minor in graphic communications.
During his time at Millersville, he participated in club volleyball, soccer, intramurals and the study abroad program.
“The study abroad program was a great cultural experience and a self-sufficient independent experience that helped me open my eyes to the world along with ‘toughening me up’ for the future,” he said.
Erick studied at the University of North London where he had an art class that met at a different museum every week. While he had to write a paper each class, it was still an amazing experience.
“We started from the Renaissance to modern art, and saw famous artists’ paintings, like Van Gogh, Picasso and Di Vinci, first hand,” the 2002 Millersville graduate explained. “To be a young student in a different county was an amazing experience.”
Back in the Ville, his favorite classes were visual communications and graphic arts. “I learned so much in those classes,” he said.
Erick explained that Ms. Jeri Robinson-Lawrence was his teacher for graphics and one of the most supportive teachers he ever had.
“Mrs. Robinson was sweet, so motivating and she took time for the kids,” Erick stated. “She believed in us and to a fresh mind at that age, it’s very important… she left a lasting impression. My experiences at Millersville set a good precedent for life after college. There was a sense of responsibility that was instilled in me to succeed in my future.”
While he had been interested in music as a child, it wasn’t until his first semester of college that his journey into the music business began.
“I did not know at that time, but playing the guitar was something I just couldn’t stop doing!” Erick said, as he explained that his roommate was the one with the guitar. “I played throughout my college career.”
After graduation is really where he got serious about music and jumpstarted his career! He won an “Overall Singer” award at a worldwide Actors, Models and Talent for Christ (AMTC) competition in Florida.
“My mom always said I was a dreamer,” Erick said. “I felt as though it was that time to spread my wings!”
So he packed his bags and headed to Southern California.
“I was at a good point in my life where nothing was holding me back to make that kind of a big move,” he explained. “I haven’t looked back since.”
He says you have to take big risks even if you think you know the sacrifices that are being made.
“I knew I had to leave my family, which is a big risk considering I am very close to them,” Erick said. “There is no guarantee that you’re going to make it, and to a more realistic scale, that you’re even going to be able to eat or pay rent. They are sacrifices I was willing to take.”
After moving to California, he was awarded “Best Male Vocalist of the Year” from the Los Angeles Music Academy. According to Erick, this gave him the confidence to pursue his career for the “long haul.” Winning awards like LAMA “Best Male Vocalist of the Year” and “Best Singer/Songwriter of the Year” keeps him driven, focused and gives him validation.
“These awards are a testament that I have something to give and in another sense are very humbling,” he explained. “Because getting an award for something you LOVE doing is just that much sweeter.”
So where does inspiration come from to write songs?
“I feel as though I can get inspired by a rock if I chose to,” he joked. “I’ve grown in my career where I’ve been forced to write songs about a specific topic. Which is challenging, because it’s really easy to make a slip up to make a song sound cheesy.” However, he does assures there is hope. “The more you write, the more you learn, so the future will turn a new leaf and new songs will flourish. It’s an ongoing process I love.”
And how did Erick respond when we asked him about what was in store for him in the future?
“My schedule tends to be very Carpé Diem, but there are things in the works; I am in talks right now about touring Europe in the summer,” he said.
“What I have learned in this industry is that life can change in an instant and your entire schedule needs to adapt,” Erick said. “I am very optimistic about the future and who knows, maybe a Millersville University show in the future?”
For more information on Erick and his music, visit facebook.com/macekmusic.