Just who is a typical CASL graduate? The simple answer is that there is no such person.
CASL alumni have a diverse range of skills, talents, experiences, and goals. By "spotlighting" someone every other month, we hope to introduce you to our diverse group of alums... and maybe you'll see a familiar face.
CASL Alum Jonathan Franco, who majored in Communication, returned to his alma mater to share his love for music. Franco performed a mini concert for students in professor Liz Rohan’s class when the semester resumed after Spring break. We had a chance to catch up with Franco and speak to him about life as an alum.
How long have you been playing/writing music?
Jonathan Franco: I've been playing/writing music essentially since I was old enough to hold a guitar - with varying degrees of quality, as you can imagine. My dad plays and writes music as well, so I started early and never really stopped.
What musicians (past, present, both) inspire you?
JF: Far too many to list! The Microphones, Mount Eerie, Leonard Cohen, Éliane Radigue, Silver Jews, Hiroshi Yoshimura, Yo La Tengo, Jim O'Rourke, Bill Callahan, Duster, Elliott Smith, my friends, and my band mates.
What was your major in college and how has that degree helped you in your musical profession?
JF: I was a communication major, which gave me the opportunity to take a lot of writing, film, audio, and visual art classes. My poetry classes and independent study with the late Professor Bill Linn had a particularly profound effect on my lyric-writing, as did my creative writing class with Professor Tija Spitsberg. My film and audio classes with Professor Jennifer Proctor certainly influenced my use of field recordings and my branching into sound design and soundtrack work for film, which, in turn, has influenced my own music. I'm very grateful for the knowledge and experience I gained while in school.
Your favorite genre of music is ... and why?
JF: That's a tough one. I'm quite bad at picking favorites. I tend to look for music with interesting or unusual uses of sound and thoughtful lyrics. A lot of what I listen to probably falls into the indie category, though that tends to be very broad and not always the most accurate descriptor. I also love a lot of instrumental ambient / sound collage / musique concrète music.
Leah Olajide, a 2011 CASL communication alumna, speaks about her scholarly essay in the new publication Michelle Obama's Impact on African American Women and Girls which was published in August 2018. Olajide discusses her research process, and how her work as a CASL student prepared her to write this timely and necessary essay.