Please read our Data Protection & Use Notification to learn more.
Communications major Jonathan McCoy ’20 discusses his passion for music, poetry, and performing.
J: I went to Cheltenham High School, which is directly across the street. So I was always around. I even remember Dr. Loury hosting the Black Male Development Symposium. I came to a couple of open houses and was like, “This school is so close, why not come here and make things simple?”
J: Long story short, when I was young, one of my friends in my hometown of Milwaukee, Wis., who was a little older than me, taught me how to rap, how to freestyle. We would bang on the table and freestyle all the time. When I was five or six, I remember my mom telling me [my friend] was getting his GED at the Youth Development Center that my mom worked at. A while after, he died because somebody shot him. It was crazy for me, because I remember he was the one who got me into rap and hip-hop; I had never been exposed to it. I was growing up in a Christian household, and they really didn’t like rap. Since then, I’ve been free-styling and writing poems and stuff.
Another way that I discovered it was through poetry. I've always loved poetry, and I did the poetry slam every year that I was in high school. That was always a way for me to express myself and share a part of myself with people. Even if it's on the surface level, it has always been something that music has allowed me to do. I think that's why I love it so much.
J: My confidence comes from preparation. Proper preparation prevents poor performance. I think when you know that you're going to do a good job and you know that you've done all you can to be ready, you have confidence. Also, I know everybody, so it's pretty easy to just get up there on stage and perform for your friends. Even when I go places and I'm not performing for a bunch of people I know, I use that same concept— everybody is everybody. We're all in this together. We may have different insecurities, but we all just want to have a good time.
J: Only time will tell. I'm currently studying Communications here at Arcadia, and I'm doing my music outside of that. I'd like to envision a world of my own, where my studies and my passion converge. I want to have my own creative house and be an A&R (Artist and Repertoire). An A&R puts together projects for artists. Let's say Young Thug wants to put out an album. I would want to be the person who helps him find the production for his album, get his cover art together, gets the merchandising in the touring and stuff. I want to have a house where artists of any shape and form, the best of the best, come and converge with me. I want to inspire our generation to think outside the box creatively because I think that's something that we’re discouraged from doing from kindergarten and on.
J: Being such a small school, Arcadia helped me gain a little bit notoriety on campus. I think people still look at it as a joke sometimes, which is fine. I think the saying “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they support you” is one of the truest things I've ever heard in my life. Nobody wanted to pay attention to the fact that I was making music. Then some people listened to me and thought it was good, some people listened to it and mocked me. People are afraid to step out of their comfort zones and do things that they want to do out of fear of being judged, of being ostracized.
That's something that everyone struggles with. I'm not going to say I’m something special. People’s perceptions of me, are people’s doubts that they try to cast on to me. I rise above them every single time and the people that support me, love me, and listen to my music are the people that I do it for. So, at the end of the day, what I hope my music does for the Arcadia community is that it inspires people. I want it to be something that reminds people that they have a passion, a dream. I have a purpose. So even though sometimes there will be haters, there's always more love from other people.
I also really want to unify us and just have a good time. I feel like people are so stuck in their day-to-day routine that they don't know how to have a good time anymore. They always want to post on Snapchat or look around like, “Who's watching me?” Nobody wants to dance, nobody wants to laugh, nobody wants to sing. Since I want to be a person of purpose, I want to do this for the world, but I can start with Arcadia.