Walking in the dark on the cold hard wooden floor, the sound of his heart pounds to the beat of the drums that will eventually start playing. As he takes his spot behind the mic, glancing down at his shoes and taking a deep breath, the light floods the stage and the crowd erupts into cheers. The curtain is pulled away to reveal Kolby Hart; it’s showtime.
Kolby, student by day, singer-songwriter by night, dropped his first single “Where the Wind Flows” Oct. 2 on Spotify and iTunes. Though his song has less than 1,000 listens on Spotify, he has 74 monthly listeners.
Kolby said his main interest is performing music on stage, whether alone or in a band.
“That’s my favorite part, singing live because I’ve gotten to the point where I do get nervous, but it doesn’t affect the singing,” said the senior marketing major from Tyler. “It’s easy to get shaky voice. I’ve done it so much that I’m to the point where I’m comfortable doing it, and thats the best part, especially with a group.”
Kolby said he had an interest in music from a young age, and even though he quit, he found himself back into the world of music.
“I’ve been singing since I was in kindergarten, and actually pursuing it since senior year of high school,” Kolby said. “As a career I stopped pursuing it freshman and sophomore year, but then I was like, ‘I can’t just not do music,’ so I started looking into how I could actually do it as a career and I started to make my own stuff and buy equipment more.”
Before Kolby had access to music recording equipment, he would film himself singing and upload the videos to YouTube. Kolby said his peers were shocked once they discovered his singing videos because he was shy in high school.
“I started uploading stuff junior year of high school and I didn’t tell anyone about it, it was pretty low key,” Kolby said. “People knew I could sing but they didn’t know I was pursuing it in any way, so at my high school I shared it and they were like ‘oh my gosh!'”
When he started attending ACU, Kolby said he no longer had the time to dedicate uploading to YouTube. He decided it was time he focused on finding a way to make music as a viable career path, and getting his name out there.
“Honestly this past year I’ve gone away from the YouTube channel but I still care about it, that’s where my name started,” Kolby said. “I haven’t pursued it as much so that I can focus more on Instagram and making music and getting it on Spotify.”
The main catalyst of the shift from YouTube videos to song-writing is the access Kolby now has to proper music production equipment.
“This is the first time I had all of the equipment I need to record stuff so like at this point I can sit down and record whatever comes to my mind which I’ve never been able to do that because I always need some other chord or some other instrument or something,” Kolby said. “It makes it so that if I have any ideas I can just record it which, usually I’ll have ideas at random points in the day and then just forget it about because I don’t have the means to do anything with it so it’s easier. It’s more fun now, because its so simple.”
In order to get a song published on a major music platform such as iTunes or Spotify, an artist must go through a third-party which handles the logistic side of the publishing process. Kolby went through the process to have his song appear on iTunes and Spotify, however, he said getting songs published is not a difficult task, the difficult part is getting song recognition.
“Once it gets up you have to do something with it, it can’t just sit there,” Kolby said. “It’s just one song right now, but hopefully I will get up more songs up, but I’m definitely promoting once it goes up, and also figuring out how to promote because I’ve never done that before for Spotify.”
Kolby said his music genre is mainly alternative, but he has not fully figured out what his sound is yet.
“I really like Coldplay, so they inspire a lot of my music,” Kolby said. “I am trying to have others tell me what it sounds like to get their view on what kind of genre it feels like.”
Kolby said he is not sure about his life after graduation, he has a broad range of what he can do with his marketing major.
“I can either go directly into the music industry, like the business side of things. There’s a lot of opportunities there,” Kolby said. “I could go the riskier route of just performing and doing gigs, or I could go into business and do music on the side. Ideally I’d like to perform, but that’s not always realistic financially.”
Looking toward the future Kolby said he wants to put more music out into the world.