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Ian Jake Robleza Puts his Songwriting Skills Front & Center

With a major in Audio Arts, a minor in Philosophy, and a storage chest full of finely crafted songs, Ian Jake Robleza is creating his own destiny that has seen him going from writing his first songs a few years back, to flying out to Boston to record at a legendary studio.

Originally from Aurora, IL, and a graduate of West Aurora High School, Ian’s first foray into music began at an early age. “I first started playing music in 3rd grade, I wanted to learn how to play drums, but all we had in the house were bongos, so I started with that!”

After kicking about in a few different incarnations of bands with friends during high school, Ian started seriously writing solo songs during his senior year. Unbeknownst to him, his musical abilities would gain notice during an unlikely turn of events. “Long story short, there was this homecoming contest called Mr. Handsome, kind of like a beauty pageant for guys, to pick the homecoming king. My friends convinced me to do it, and I almost quit because I originally wanted to do the tight pants skit from SNL, and no one laughed at dress rehearsal! So, I said I'd stay if I could change up my act, and I decided to play the first finished song I wrote. I played it the next day, and I was so surprised to see a standing ovation in front of me. It was one of the few self-actualizing moments I've felt so far in my life.”

After high school graduation Ian contemplated attending a four-year college straight away, but decided that going to a community college would allow him to complete his general education requirements. There he received advice and a recommendation from his guidance counselor. “I chose Columbia because when I was in community college, my counselor recommended it for me. I was pretty aimless right out of high school, so she helped me out a ton. My original plan was to major in Philosophy at Concordia, but I didn't get the scholarship, so I decided to major in Audio Arts and minor in Philosophy at Columbia.”

Ian’s musical style is not something that you can place in a certain genre. Elements of 90’s altrock, combined with a sampling of today’s singer/songwriters would be the best place to start. According to Ian, “I'd describe my music as singer-songwriter, fundamentally acoustic. My general approach is that I want to try writing songs that sound good on their own, just guitar and vocals and nothing else...but I really like experimenting with arrangements and different instrumentation too! Sometimes, that really makes the song, I think. I have A BUNCH of influences...and some are not what you'd expect if you listened to my music. Twenty-One Pilots, The Weepies, and the Once soundtrack are some pretty notable ones.”

Being the featured artist for this week’s Sessions @33, Ian wanted to highlight the importance of the series. "I feel like it's a great way to combine the artistic departments together for collaboration. It felt like a microcosm representing something we might hope to experience in the future of our careers. There's a lot of moving parts. The performing aspect is good for exposure and experience in that particular setting, and the collaborative aspect of recording the video/audio too are key elements to make a great result!”

Ian’s future plans are not set in stone, but he is making inroads as we speak to a career in the music industry. “I've got three more semesters at Columbia, but I want to keep making music and help other people make music. I actually recently finished recording a song of mine in Boston with Plaid Dog Studios...I think it'd be cool to explore that avenue a little more in aspects beyond being the artist, like a recording engineer/producer.”

Sessions @33 is a 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 . Please support these fantastic up-n-coming artists, as well as the collaborative efforts of the students involved behind the scenes, by watching sessions on YouTube, as well as listening to the podcast version on either Apple or Stitcher.

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