The In's and Out's of Nick Hagelin

The In's and Out's of Nick Hagelin

An exclusive interview with an award winning singer/songwriter and dancer, Nick Hagelin, who won the hearts of many when he was a contestant on The Voice.
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Nick Hagelin is an award winning singer/songwriter as well as a dancer who won the hearts of many when he was a contestant on The Voice. He is coming out with new music which I was fortunate enough to listen to when he visited the University of Scranton a few weeks ago. I had the opportunity to interview Nick about his musical background, his rise to fame before and after his time on The Voice, as well as where he plans to take his career in the future!

When did you start to be interested in music and the performing arts?

I grew up in a musical family, both my parents were singers who met in choir college. I remember doing a church play and being hooked. My mom was a voice teacher and I started studying ballet at a young age. When I made my first money dancing for American Ballet Theatre at age 12 I was hooked. I never really considered any career path other than performing.

At what point in your life did you decide you wanted to pursue music?

I had a band with my best friends that started in middle school. We were called “Fortnight” and I was became obsessed with songwriting from about age 12 or 13. My best friend Jon Kaiman and I would always be writing lyrics or playing chords and melodies on our guitars. He now writes for the LA times, I'm still writing songs.

Did you ever go to school for music?

I took the same AP music theory course my junior and senior year in high school, which really helped a lot of that information sink in. My real classical training was in ballet. I went to School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center in NYC from age 9-18. I got to study and train to live piano accompaniment for like 40 hours per week, plus the act of learning choreography to so much classical music was very enlightening.

When did you start writing your own songs?

I started writing music around age 12 or 13 and recording and performing it with my band throughout middle school and high school. When I was 18 I moved to Raleigh, NC to dance with Carolina Ballet. That’s when I really started writing, with more time and space to be with my acoustic guitar. I entered two songs into a songwriting competition and won first place. I used the earnings to build a little recording studio in my home, and I have been at it ever since.

Is there a specific type of audience you are aiming your music towards?

There were times, especially when I was first signed to my major label deal that I really focused on what I thought people would want to hear. Like “make this song for females age 13 -23” and make it sound like Artist X who has the number one song on the Hot 100. The benefit of this was that it was a great learning experience, trial through imitation. The downside is that I wasn’t writing from an authentic place and the music was not really that great. It lacked the emotional connection of music written from a place of pure inspiration, rather than imitation.

What would you say inspires you the most when writing music?

Life and love! A big lesson for me has been patience; allowing inspiration to unfold naturally. Some of the best songs I have ever written were “delivered” to me in almost complete form, like an instant download, other songs I have labored over for months at a time. In certain writing environments you can feel rushed to deliver a product by the end of the day or the session, and that can be tough. The best is allowing my music to manifest in whatever time it takes. I am often inspired by other people’s music, or events in my life, or co writing.

Who is your musical inspiration?

Sting is a huge inspiration, he represents the ultimate singer songwriter in my opinion, much like Van Morrison. I love everything about Michael Jackson, from his voice, to his presence movement, to his lyrics and songwriting. He represents the epitome of pop music. I love the great soul singers like Luther Vandross, Al Green, Donny Hathaway. More contemporary influences include Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, and Ed Sheeran.

You talk a lot about your family - especially your son Bash. How has your music career affected your family life?

It has been interesting! There was a period of time when I was young, trying to be a “pop star” signed to a major label, but also married with a kid, which was very taboo in the industry. I was encouraged to not share that part of my story, and try and portray a more eligible, single character. We tried this for a while and it ended up taking quite a toll emotionally on me and my family, but at the same time it was the advance money from the label that was supporting me and my family, especially dealing with my son Bash who was born with some special needs and had some serious medical expenses. What a predicament! It wasn’t in God’s plan for me to break out with a hit single under this pretense, and I am glad it didn’t happen. When I went on The Voice, I knew it was time to be authentic, and share my true story. What ended up happening was that the impact of sharing Bash’s story with millions of people was so much bigger than my self-centered aspirations to “be famous.” We were inundated with letters from special needs families expressing how much hope and inspiration my son brought to them when Pharrell invited him to walk out on stage. That little bow that Bash took for 10 million people was the crowning achievement of my music career thus far.

What made you decide to audition for The Voice?

I had a pretty popular youtube channel, and producers from various shows had been encouraging me to audition for a while. I ended up getting a personal invitation to audition from someone I knew when I was signed to Interscope. I was about 8 years into pursuing this dream, and was feeling a little stuck. This was the perfect opportunity and blessing at the perfect time.

How would you describe your time on The Voice?

It was amazing personal and professional development! I remember being sequestered in that hotel in California and my only goal was to give the best performance I could every week. It was like a Temple of Focus and Discipline. The live performances themselves were pretty nerve-racking, but everything behind the scenes was full of love and support. The show really wants you to do the best job you can, and give you all kinds of resources and coaching and rehearsals to give your best performance every week.

What was it like working with Pharrell and Christina as coaches?

The big appeal for me when I was debating whether or not to audition was the opportunity to work with Pharrell Williams who is a personal hero of mine. The idea of building a relationship with the best producer of my generation was so exciting to me. When he turned his chair I was thrilled. He is every bit the humble, grounded and spiritual person that he appears to be, and the limited time we spent together was a blessing. Unfortunately those early rounds don’t allow as much time to develop a relationship with your coach, so when Christina brought me back for the live shows it was a whole other ball game. Her faith in me was so inspiring. From the beginning she encouraged me to play to my strengths vocally, and dig deeper into my emotional expression. She was truly an angel and I am so grateful to have that relationship with her.

What were the best and worst parts of being on the show?

The best part of the show was the exposure, the fans and people who have been introduced to me and my family are still engaged and following me, which is the greatest asset and gift an independent musician could ask for. As I said before, Bash’s light really got to shine and he has been able to use the platform to continue to bring hope and smiles to people today.

The worst part was the “one-and-done” element of the performances. I come from almost a decade of performing live for audiences all around the world, and I love to interact and communicate with the crowd when I perform. On The Voice, its more like the Olympics, you come out and do your one song, full of nervous energy, and then it is over and await the “results.” In reality, music is not a competitive thing, it is an art form and mode of self-expression, so the whole competition show style was hard for me.

Do you feel like the show had an impact on you and your career aspirations?

Absolutely! I am doing many of the same things I was doing before the show, but now I have the edification and brand of being a “Voice Artist.” I think there are also fans who have been following the journey for years who were so excited to see my music reach a bigger platform.

You have multiple singles, albums, and EP’s on iTunes, how much success has come from those releases? Have you ever gone on tour for any of these albums?

I haven’t been on a steady “tour” but do travel around the country constantly, performing and promoting my music. I am so grateful to have so much music out there for people to enjoy. The “major label approach” is to massively invest in and promote one single and hope that it breaks. That process was exhausting for me, because it demanded that every song I work on a “radio banger” or smash hit. After my time at the label I started releasing my EPs independently and now when someone discovers me or my music they have my whole catalogue to explore.

The official music video for your song Blue Moon came out recently, can you tell us about the song and why you wrote it?

I actually wrote Blue Moon in the week I was eliminated from the show, and then recorded it in LA right after the season ended. I think it speaks upon a pretty universal feeling of not wanting to let go of something, be it an ex-lover, or a feeling or time that you can’t accept has ended.

The video itself was an amazing labor of love, me and my director Raymond Scott spent months choreographing the one-shot video, which used slow and fast motion and no edits to create a kind of surreal, continuous sequence. There is a cool behind-the-scenes video on my youtube channel that shows how we pulled it off.

Do you have any plans for an album release or a musical tour in the future?

When I came to Scranton I had some pre-release copies of my new EP The Water, which is now coming out officially this week! I am very excited about this new music, it is my first release since my time on The Voice. You can find it on Spotify, iTunes and Apple Music. My college shows are slowing down for the summer but I will be all over promoting the new EP! You can keep up with the dates at my website www.nickhagelin.com or follow the journey on IG/Twitter @nickhagelin

BLUE MOON MUSIC VIDEO

Cover Image Credit: http://www.nbc.com/sites/nbcunbc/files/files/images/2016/2/29/160226_2993221_Nick_Hagelin_Blind_Audition___Lost_Stars_.jpg

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

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The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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10 Character Deaths We Need To See In Season 8 Of 'Game of Thrones'

All men must die.

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The premiere of the final season of "Game of Thrones" is rapidly approaching and resolution is coming, one way or the other. There is some unfinished business between characters that will no doubt end in some gruesome deaths. These are all the deaths I hope we will see in the final season.

1. Cersei Lannister

I thought I'd just get this one out of the way first. We all know it's going to happen. The big question going into this final season is, "Who will end up on the Iron Throne?" Well, right now Cersei is still sitting on it, so for anyone to take control of it, they'll have to kill her first. Honestly, it's taking way too long to kill her if you ask me. I wanted her dead three seasons ago. There is no way she is surviving this season.

The only question that remains: who will kill her?

My bet is on either Arya or Jaime. Cersei is on Arya's list of people to kill and so far Arya has been pretty successful on eliminating everyone on that list. However, as fans of the book know, there is a prophecy Cersei received when she was young saying all her children will die and she will be killed by her brother. Half of that has already come true, so who's to say the rest won't as well?

Either way, it doesn't matter to me as long as she dies. I hope it's awful.

2. Melisandre

She's gotta go. Her allegiances are too shoddy and I don't trust her. She does virtually no good and has been either directly or indirectly involved in some great character's death. I have never really understood her powers or her Lord of Light shenanigans, but I have no time for it. Also, she's on Arya's kill list, so her chances of making it out alive are slim. She's super old anyway, she's lived her life.

3. Euron Greyjoy

Ew. Last we saw him, he was fleeing back to the Iron Islands after he witnessed the wight Jon Snow presented to Cersei. He believes he's safe on the Iron Islands because the army of the dead can't swim. However, I feel as if his time is running short and soon he will meet his comeuppance. At least, I hope so. He's just an awful character and I want him gone.

4. The Hound

This character has definitely grown on me since the beginning of the show. This is probably due to the character developing into a less stone cold killer and more of a killer with some emotion. However, he is on Arya's kill list, so if he has to die to fulfill her wishes, than so be it.

5. The Mountain

Little is known about this character except that he has killed loads of people before he was killed himself. But Cersei then had him brought back from the dead. I swear we never catch a break in this show.

Well, now we need him to die again because he has sworn his allegiance to Cersei, and nothing gets past him. In order to get to Cersei, someone has to kill him first. Also, he's awful, so that's another reason for him to die.

6. Robin Arryn

If you are like me, when you saw this name you probably thought, "This kid is still alive?" Unfortunately, yes, and it has been confirmed he will be in the upcoming season. While he has only appeared in eight episodes total, he managed to leave an awful impression. Even though the last thing we saw him doing was sending his soldiers to defend House Stark in The Battle of the Bastards, his past awfulness will never be forgotten. I hope the only reason he is in the new season is so we can see him die.

7. Jaime Lannister

Now I don't actually hate Jaime. I just don't see a way in which the series ends without him dying.

He is another example of a truly complex character. At the beginning of the show, he was flat-out awful. However, in the time he was held captive with Brienne, he was humbled and became a somewhat likable character. But all this redemption goes straight down the toilet whenever he is with Cersei. His sister brings out the worst in him, and he continues to ignore all the awful things she continues to do.

However, in the last episode of season seven, it seems like Jaime is finally starting to see the wickedness his sister possesses. The only way he can truly redeem himself in this new season is to defect from her or kill her. Now he'll be the King and Queen Slayer. Either way, he'll probably end up dead in the process.

8. Bran Stark

I have no real reason behind this besides the fact that I am so tired of Bran and his storyline. I know there are a lot of theories surrounding his Warging abilities and how he might further complicate the plot, but for the last few seasons, all he has done is sit and brood and I am sick of it. He can see everything apparently, but he has offered no help or guidance to anyone. I am sick and tired of the Three-Eyed Raven. It's time to throw this storyline, Bran included, into the trash.

9. Theon Greyjoy

This character has been on again/off again as far as his morals and allegiances go. At first, we hated him, then we had to watch him endure endless torture, which seemed to sober him up and regret the errors of his past so he might seek to right his wrongs. But then he dipped on his sister when she needed him.

While this seemed like a more cowardly act than a malicious one, it still didn't bode well with him trying to redeem himself. I don't necessarily hate him, but I feel the only way he can truly redeem himself is to die trying to get Yara back.

10. The Night King

Obviously, he has to die. There are a lot of theories surrounding who he is and what his motivations are, but I don't care. There is no possible way this series can end without him dying, or else everyone in Westeros will die. He just another big bad villain that needs to be stopped in order for humanity to continue. The build-up for the big showdown between him and his army and literally everybody else has been building since the very first episode of the show. There is no doubt in my mind that he will die. The only question is: How and by whom?

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