Southern Miss’ Her Campus Celebrity of the week is Dr. David Echevarria, also known as Dr. E.
Dr. E is known around campus as the Associate Professor of the Department of Psychology, but he is also highly known for his great musical talent. He is a native to New York where he earned his PhD in behavioral neuroscience at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Dr. E started playing guitar at the age of 12 and has been playing ever since. At the age of 16, he got his first bar gig. Then he started playing professionally during his 10 years between undergraduate and graduate school.
Her Campus: “The two things I know you best for, Psychology and music, seem like two totally different interests. How did you get interested in both of those?”
Dr. E: “In my mind, spending my life playing music and studying psychology/neuroscience makes sense. When I played professionally for 10 years, I traveled around the country and met different people from all walks of life. And I was amazed that the more people appeared to be different, really the more they were the same as far as core values and beliefs. And so I just started thinking about the things that made us the same and made us different and all of my questions kept returning to a biological or brain basis so I was really interested in how the brain made us both the same and different.”
HC: “I can see how behavior studies could be affected by music. Did your interest in Psychology influence your interest in music? Or vice-versa?”
Dr. E:” I focused on the studies and experiments that led to earning my PhD, but I eventually returned to my interests in music and I thought, how does this understanding of music or processing of music…how does that work in the brain and what are there similarities and differences?”
HC: “As someone who has heard you play and loves your music, I can see how much you get into it. What does music mean to you and what has it done for you over the years?”
Dr. E: ” Music really is my life’s blood, my oxygen, my soul. And that might sound a little cliche or even over the top, but it really is the truth. It is my essence. Music has always been my best friend. It has been the one constant in my life for the last 37 years.”
HC: ” Lastly, any favorite places to play, songs to play, or people to play with?”
Dr. E: ” Currently my two favorite places to play are any outdoor festival where I can have a full band and we can just crank it up really loud and just let loose, but along with that, I love to play the Skylight Lounge which is downtown. It is a very small venue and we don’t even really play very loud so it is very, very quiet and intimate. So these two things have this incredible juxtaposition in effort and experience which is pretty cool. My favorite songs to play are any of my originals. It really is something that comes from my core. Something that really is most personal to me and something that I have the most passion about. As far as favorite people to play with, I am very, very fortuante in Hattiesburg to play with some of the best musicians I’ve ever played with. It would be very difficult to name one person and certainly I wouldn’t want to do that at the expense of getting the rest of them mad.”
Dr. E is one of my favorite local musicians to listen to in Hattiesburg, so if you ever get the chance to see him play, don’t miss it!