I recently sat down with Sterling Rowe ’19 to discuss his music, his life, and his plans for the future. As he pursues a degree in Music and Tech, Sterling continues to experiment and hone his craft, producing eclectic beats inspired by a long list of personal idols. It’s truly remarkable the way Rowe approaches music production– his unabashed positivity, his drive to improve his skills, and his willingness to step outside of his comfort zone are all the makings of a man who will likely have a long and prosperous career.
Sterling played a number of his songs for me during our interview. While some producers have a distinct style– their beats usually sounding eerily similar– the ones Sterling played for me were indicative of his incredible range and knowledge of music history. The songs went from 80’s style synth-pop to a sampling of the Ghost Town DJ’s hit “My Boo” with a bass line so smooth it felt like I was being swaddled in velvet. Another song he played for me, “If I Flipped on You I’d be Fake”, was a love song that lacked all of the cheesy elements typical for that genre.
“I found something and I kept messing around with it. I just wanted to try something different, something no one is really doing,” Rowe remarked when I asked him about his motivation to create and innovate. “It’s the subtle shit that really gets me,” he said with a laugh, focusing on the smallest details in his beats that would likely go unnoticed to the average listener. Rowe’s beats are meticulously detailed, and it’s this dedication to perfection that makes them so great.
When I asked him what he thinks is next in his career he took a moment to think and then responded, “I don’t want to come to a point where I hit a wall and stop. I don’t want to have self-doubt. I never want to slip up. I want to be at a point where I know I can make whatever song I’m thinking about, without worrying that I won’t know how.”
Sterling’s love for music can be noticed almost instantly, and if you see him around campus, nine times out of ten he’ll probably be wearing headphones, absorbed in the music. This semester Sterling worked with the Enrich program here at Conn to teach middle school students from New London the basics of music production in programs such as Garage Band. Sterling was impressed at how talented some of the kids were, but I have a feeling that his passion for music and unrivaled positivity definitely helped motivate the students to try their best.
Sterling offered a few pieces of advice to budding artists. “Don’t be ashamed for wanting to express yourself,” he said, “being an artist is more about who you are in your day-to-day life and using the emotions that come with that to create. If you know what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it, you’re in a way better position.”
Sterling knows himself, and that’s more than half the battle of being an effective artist. He isn’t pursuing a career in music to make huge sums of money– he’s pursuing a career in music simply because he loves music. He wants to collaborate with all of his idols including Kanye West, Pharrell, Metroboomin, Mac Miller, just because of the immense knowledge that can be gained from them, not because of their commercial successes. Sterling’s positivity is truly inspiring and represents an outlook and worldview that seems to be more and more difficult to find in today’s tumultuous times. A selection of songs is available for listening on Sterling’s Soundcloud page at www.soundcloud.com/marsaillesrowe, and he will be debuting his final music project along with the rest of the music department in Cummings Arts Center this Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 7:30pm. •