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A Conversation With UCONNIC Opener, Student DJ ONNAME

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

If you go to UConn, I’m sure you’ve heard of UCONNIC: our school’s music festival, put on by student-run programming board SUBOG, that brings in a famous headliner and several student performers for an epic show each spring. Trippie Redd is headlining this year, but I’m more focused on the awesome lineup of student openers that will precede him. I sat down with William David Rincón, the student DJ known as ONNAME, to learn more about his musical pursuits and his life as a student and artist.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Thanks for sitting down with me! You’re opening for UCONNIC this year, for the second year in a row after a great performance last year. How did this all come to be?

I come from Colombia, and in Colombia, I used to DJ a lot. So when I moved here for college — I’m the only one in my family here, everyone else is back in Colombia — I tried to continue with the DJing stuff. I saw the UCONNIC opportunity, one student gave me the link, and I thought, “I’ll give it a try.” I applied with one video that I have on YouTube, it’s like an hour long, and they saw that and I guess they liked it. I had to apply again this year, and I applied again and I got it.

Can you tell me a little more about your childhood?

I was born in Miami, but a year after I was born my parents took me back to Colombia. I was raised there my entire life, I went to high school there. I learned German, so I now know three languages. It was just very fun, to be honest.

Was there any particular reason you learned German?

My uncle, from my mom’s family, he’s a neurosurgeon. He went to Germany to finish his major, and that was a big change in my family because he was the first one to introduce the German language to our family. After he learned German, my mom really fell in love with that, and she used to visit him in Germany and everything, and she was like, “yeah, I want my son to know German as well.”

So how did you get into music?

Well, that comes also from my mom’s side. She plays guitar and she sings opera. And I used to have an uncle; he passed away. I didn’t get to meet him the right way, because I was like three years old when he passed away, but he was like the mastermind of music. He used to play everything. Like he was the soul of the party and everything in our family. And my family’s also related to Shakira.

What?! Like, tangibly related to Shakira?

Yeah. Like, we’re family. She’s my second cousin or something like that. I get free tickets to her concerts. And my uncle happened to be one of her teachers. There are pictures in our family books where she’s at our family reunions when she wasn’t that famous.

So that’s how you got into music. How’d you get into DJing specifically?

So DJing was another branch that I took in my life. I learned eight instruments. When I was 14, I stopped playing the piano, which was my main instrument. I was like, I want to do other things with music, like I want to produce and everything. And then I started watching YouTube videos of DJing. And on one trip that I went on with my dad, we went to an island. And that island happened to be owned by one of his friends, and there was a nightclub. It was midday, but there were people already there. And he went to my dad and was like, “yo, we don’t have a DJ.” And he knew that my dad was very into music as well. But my dad was like “yeah, my son is a DJ,” because I was playing music on the trip there. They put me in the DJ booth — it was like the professional stuff — and were like, “yeah, just start playing whatever.” And I just started playing and it was natural. That was about seven years ago.

That’s awesome. So how does it feel knowing you’ll be opening for UCONNIC again this year? Are you excited?

I’m excited. Definitely excited. Just because the first year, it was crazy. And I really enjoyed it, like it was something that I never expected to do here. And as a freshman, I didn’t know how big of a deal it was. But my friends were all going crazy about it. So after the concert and everything and I was like, damn, I really did this. But now I’m just so happy to get a second year and I just want to kill it more.

Was it the biggest crowd you’ve ever performed for?

Yeah, definitely.

That must’ve been nerve-wracking.

At the beginning, I was shaking. I didn’t want to mess up or do something that people wouldn’t like. But when I got the rhythm and everything, I was just relaxed. It happens every time when it’s your first time doing something.

I can imagine. So what’s the story behind your stage name?

So I was opening my artist account on Spotify, Apple Music, and everything and I was looking for an artist name. I just grabbed a piece of paper and started playing with my name, my whole name. I was rearranging letters and everything to see what sounds good. And at the end, I realized that my two last names match perfectly. My first last name is Rincón, which ends with “on,” and then my second last name is Name. So I was like, yeah, I can just use that. Because that’s my mom’s name, and my dad’s name, so I want them to be part of it somehow. So I just left it at ONNAME.

That’s so cool. What’s your best story or your favorite memory from Your DJing career?

I have a lot. I would say my favorite memory would definitely be UCONNIC. My first UCONNIC last year was crazy. But also the first time I played at Huskies. A lot of people went, and everyone was singing along, jumping, I was just so happy.

What’s the best part about being a DJ?

You get to party, like comfortably. And you get to party with your music. And if your music is the one that the people also like, that’s just perfect. You get paid to party, I guess.

How would you describe your taste in music?

I would describe it as diverse. I go through a lot of music every day, just to find one song that will kill it for the next Saturday. And every day I’m looking for new music from different countries and everything. I tried to look for the best in every part of the world, but it’s just too difficult.

That sounds like a lot of work.

Yeah, it takes a lot of work. But I have some DJ accounts and some websites that I like to go to. And I just go through all their songs, their new releases, and everything. I concentrate while studying, but I also listen to these songs that are released. So if I like one while I’m studying, I’ll just download it and go back to studying.

You’re currently a sophomore at UConn. What are your plans for the rest of your time here?

I opened a student club here at UConn this semester, actually, it’s brand new. It’s called New Music Revolution. And what I want to do is give the students that also want to be DJs that exposure of DJing the bars or getting UCONNIC. I want to make the club the supplier of DJs for all of UConn and around. While practicing DJing and everything, I was always alone. I didn’t have someone to tell me what to do or how to learn it faster. So yeah, I want to teach every UConn student that is interested in becoming a DJ.

ONNAME will be opening for UCONNIC, along with several other student artists and groups, on April 7. Tickets can be purchased through SUBOG.

Amanda McCard is a junior at UConn majoring in environmental studies and journalism. She writes a range of articles for Her Campus, including ones about culture, entertainment and travel. She is a Sustainability Intern at the UConn Office of Sustainability, where she helps write the monthly newsletter and creates engaging social media content. She has written articles for Planet Forward, an environmental publication based out of George Washington University. Amanda loves hiking, creative writing and yoga. She likes to make her own bath products and dreams of learning to scuba dive.