Sessions @33 is a brand-new series featuring Columbia College Chicago music artists performing a 4-song set in an intimate performance space at WCRXFM, Columbia’s very own radio station. In addition to the artists getting exposure, students from various departments are gaining real-world experience by filming, recording, and collaborating on each session. This week we were graced with rising hip hop/alternative artist, Alijah Tha Great. Please support these fantastic up-n-coming artists, as well as the collaborative efforts of the students involved behind the scenes, by watching Alijah’s session on YouTube, as well as listening to the podcast version on either Apple, Spotify, or Stitcher. Alijah is also featured below in my Profilin' blog entry this week.
As he continues to captivate audiences with inspirational and heartfelt lyrics, along with an endless amount of positivity and kinetic energy, Alijah Tha Great, aka senior Marketing major Alijah Williams, is making quite a name for himself as not only a performer, but an artist who takes the time to prioritize. This summer served to re-focus his energies in areas that needed his attention. He realized that not only is the grind real but taking time for oneself became priority number one. As Alijah explains, “I found myself spending summer days mainly focusing on my mental health and learning to reconnect with myself. Leading up to the summer I realized how hard I was working for the benefit of others, without really making time to work on me. I found myself having to rekindle a certain passion that I used to possess that would contribute to my happiness.”
Alijah’s outgoing personality and willingness to share his story have always been two trademarks of his creative output. An expert at building relationships within the industry, he found that his path this summer was full of life changing moments. “I performed at the “From the ‘Go Fest" and networked with some amazing artists from the city. The biggest highlight that merged my personal and music journeys was going to see Taylor Bennett, and the conversations we had before and after his show. At the time, a part of me was unhappy with myself professionally because I felt like I wasn't doing certain things correctly and without knowing this, he said some things to me that really provided a well-needed boost of personal and professional confidence. I'm forever grateful to him for that.”
For Alijah, one of the many caveats of doing a small, intimate set without an audience was the bonding between fellow students who were filming, recording, and archiving his performance for Sessions @33.. According to Alijah, “I think anything that promotes collaboration between people of different backgrounds and interests, that allows them to express themselves and their passions, is key to great art. That's what's so special about these things! I believe a series like Sessions @33 show students the outcomes of engaging in collaboration and the benefits of it. You'll always walk away gaining more than you lose.”
With summer winding down, Alijah turned to another artist he admires to describe his vibe /song of the summer. “My choice is, ‘The Highs & the Lows,’ by Chance the Rapper. I think I've replayed that song more than any other one this summer. Those reflective emotional experiences contribute to greater success down the line so learning to accept that my lowest of moments make my greatest ones even more special has kinda been my theme for the summer.”