Sometimes it's a hobby that turns into a lifelong passion, and no one knows that better than recent Ball State graduate Paul Whitacre.
Although he graduated in December 2015 with a degree in advertising and marketing, Whitacre just released his first EP on Tuesday — something he said he's wanted to do for a while.
The EP, titled “Catch and Release,” features six songs that Whitacre said fall into the indie folk genre of music, but are heavily influenced by his faith.
“I think before I got serious about my faith in college, my music had no meaning,” Whitacre said. “There was really no reason for me to be playing except for self-gratification. But, after pursuing my faith, the focus was no longer on how these songs could get me attention, it was on how these songs could help other people.”
Whitacre said no matter what faith people follow, he hopes the songs will connect to listeners in an individual way, bringing them hope.
If you want to learn more about Whitacre’s story and hear some of his music, go to www.paulwhitacre.com.
Although Whitacre is gearing up to release a full album, “Coming of Age,” later this year, it wasn’t until his junior year of college that he really started following his musical passion.
“Before that I was really just kind of messing around,” Whitacre said. “But then I wrote a couple songs where people really started saying they like it and wanted to hear more.”
It was also in college when Whitacre said he met Clay Langebartels, who Whitacre said pushed his career to the next level with his own musical talent, and Antwaine Robinson, who creates music videos for Whitacre’s songs.
Whitacre's recent video for his song “Beth” was filmed in Indianapolis, and he said he got the inspiration for the song while dating a girl at Ball State.
“When I was in high school, I decided my mom’s name sounded good with my last name and so I wanted to date a girl with the same name, Beth,” Whitacre said. “After I started dating Beth, she told me that she’d always wanted to marry someone with the last name Whitacre.”
While things didn’t work out with Beth, Whitacre said his fans really enjoy hearing about his experiences.
But his musical talent isn’t the only experience Whitacre said he uses to help his career. With his marketing and advertising background, he's able to promote his music to an even wider audience.
“It has helped me take a more business sided approach than most musicians have,” Whitacre said. “I have a better understanding of marketing strategies and how venue owners operate.”
Now based in Colorado. Whitacre said he misses playing at Muncie venues, including The Cup and Be Here Now. But pretty soon, Whitacre said he hopes to return to his alma mater to play songs off his new album.
“It feels awesome just to look back and see the music I was releasing in the last couple years and the progression to now,” Whitacre said. “Getting to partner with my Indiana friends has given me a keepsake and memory for myself. It gives me hope and excitement for the future.”