UF students navigate a changing music industry

Two UF students continue to overcome obstacles as they develop their musical careers

By Grant Goodfellow, GoodfellowG@Findlay.edu

Two students at the University of Findlay are turning their dreams into reality as they pursue their passion in music.

Jackson Gruber is a freshman at UF majoring in pharmacy. Adonai Bumba is a sophomore on the UF football team and majoring in computer science with a minor in accounting. They both recorded and released music on multiple platforms, such as Spotify and Apple Music.

Bumba and Gruber proved managing schoolwork and a time-consuming hobby is possible. Bumba, who releases music under the name Ado, dedicates plenty of time towards his music even with a busy schedule.

“I think that’s a big misconception with college is that we don’t have time to do it, but we really do,” Bumba said.

Bumba included that his music helps improve his social life by making more friends. Instead of making music for fame, he wants to perfect his craft while putting out a product that he enjoys.

“In terms of my personal growth and where I want my music to go, I think I want to touch people more,” Bumba said. “You know when you listen to a song and it just hits you? I want my music to hit people.”

Gruber, who releases his songs under the name EchoSociety, put out a 14-song album during his time at UF. Most nights, he can be found in his dorm room either making beats on his computer or playing one of the many instruments he brought with him from his home state of Texas.

Gruber may seem to know what he’s doing now, but it wasn’t always that way. He had to figure a lot out on his own.

“There were lots of setbacks and lots of trial and error,” Gruber said. “But also, lots of YouTube, reading about it and talking to people who were in the field to improve.”

Gruber has done a few live shows in Texas and is hoping to find somewhere to perform in Findlay. He’s in the process of trying to find a drummer to perform with.

Gruber encourages others to chase their dreams even if they don’t quite know how.

“A lot of people get this impression that you have to be at this certain level or you have to have all this gear, when in reality everyone starts somewhere,” Gruber said.

Alex Davis is a communications professor at UF and faculty advisor of the campus radio station, 88.3 WLFC, the Pulse radio. The radio station is working on a recording studio that would be open to students on campus. While there is no exact timetable for its completion, Davis hopes it will be finished before the end of the semester.

New technology changed the way people listen and create music. Students, such as Bumba and Gruber, can now write and create songs from the comfort of their dorm.

“I think the access, availability and ability of technology that we have to produce and consume is a beautiful thing,” Davis said.

Technology made it easier for amateur artists to create songs but also has its drawbacks. Davis acknowledges some of the challenges that up-and-coming artists, like Bumba and Gruber, face.

“Everybody wants to be a rapper, podcaster, singer, DJ, producer, engineer, which is great, but it also makes it tough to actually succeed in that space,” Davis said. “The question still stands, what really separates you?”

In the increasingly competitive field of music, it’s hard to distinguish yourself from other artists.

“Attention spans are really short,” Bumba said. “If you’re not getting someone’s attention in the first 10 seconds, they already hit the skip button.”

There are many different jobs available in the music and media industry other than professional singer. This includes music directors, marketing team members, program directors and record label executives. Davis encourages students to try new things during their college career.

“Anytime is the time to experiment and create, but college even more so than ever,” Davis said.

Bumba, Gruber and Davis all expressed similar ideas that they believe anybody can pursue and be successful in music, if they are determined and willing to work.

“You can do whatever you want to do,” Davis said. “You just have to figure it out.”