Most people’s free time is not spent being productive. If we’re honest, not many of us spend all that much free time actually creating something. Kevin Marble, however, can claim that he spends both his free time and his work time productively. As a senior at Wheaton College, Marble is a full-time student, assistant residence director in a dormitory, and a songwriter who has released a full length CD while juggling everything else in his life.
Millennials are often seen as the generation of “clicktivism.” Clicktivism is a negative term created to define a type of activism enabled by the internet, such a signing a digital petition and feeling like that alone makes a difference. Kevin Marble went beyond the ideals of clicktivism, and created something as a creative outlet and to help others.
Kevin created a full-length, professional-sounding LP all on a college budget. Kevin and a crew of 39 friends were able to raise the money, record every track, complete the mixing, and create the album cover within the fall semester of 2012. In February 2013 the album “What are You Afraid Of” was released on Kevin’s Bandcamp page as well as on cd baby and iTunes. Kevin made it advertently clear that he could not have done the album alone, the backup vocalists, the drummer, and Mark Sommerville for doing all the mixing. With a crew of 39 people helping him, all it takes is a look at his Facebook page to see the effort put in by the whole team in making the album a reality in Shea studio at Wheaton College, as well as Groovemaster Studios.
Surprisingly, Kevin doesn’t have an extremely musical background. He grew up in Forest Grove, Oregon, with two older brothers — Joel and Justin — and a younger sister, Kylie. His parents Charlie and Anita raised all four children in a Christian household. His background in music began as a child when he played the piano, but never really got into it. The summer before his freshman year of high-school his mom taught him 4 chords on the guitar. From those first four chords he began writing his own lyrics, chord progressions and melodies for the vocals. Since then he has picked up the harmonica and the mandolin and sings/plays all three instruments in his album “What are You Afraid Of?”
Kevin actually did something that most Millennials only dream about; create something new and do something revolutionary. It began with an idea, recording an album has always been something that Kevin aspired to do. That idea eventually landed itself a Kickstarter page, which turned into $3,852 to make the dream a reality. The money was spent to get time in the recording studios as well as to create physical copies of the cd’s.
Writing music and placing it online for anyone in the world to listen to and critique is an extremely exposing endeavor. When asked about what his purpose was in recording his music and presenting it to the world his message seemed clear. When asked about his favorite song on the album Kevin said that it would have to be “Tumblin Down.” It is not a personal story like some of the other songs on the album are, but the message behind the song really encapsulates what he wants to do with his music: to use his own experience, or others stories, to turn them into something that someone can draw help and encouragement from in their times of hardship and struggle.
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/87022397″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
Kevin has sold enough copies of the cds to pay off what debt they created going into the project, but not enough to really come out with any extra profits. He plays and creates music for the sake of music. All profits will probably end up going back into the fund to create more music in the future. It’s not a lucrative business for the artist.
Kevin graduates this fall and plans on going to Canada to work in a church with a pastor. He would love to write and play music as an artist for a career but honestly sees it as a hopeful side-job to his ministry work. He said if a major record label picked up his music he would gladly go to create more music as a career. He has moved beyond dreaming and clicktivism into creating something to make a difference in individual lives.
(All Photos thanks to Kevin Marble’s Facebook Page)