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The Clipper

The student news site of Everett Community College in Everett, Washington

The Clipper

The student news site of Everett Community College in Everett, Washington

The Clipper

Eems Throws Audience Through a Loop

Eems+engaged+the+audience+with+commanding+stage+presence.+
Rob Ziegler
Eems engaged the audience with commanding stage presence.

Singer/songwriter and live loop artist Eems wowed his audience when he performed in the Jackson Conference Center on Wednesday, Jan. 31. The hour-long concert was organized by the Trojan Activities Board.

Eems, the self-proclaimed “black guy with an ukulele,” is known for his covers, beatboxing and live loop content. His style of music involves playing just one element of a song and setting it to loop constantly, slowly adding more loops until he has a fully developed song.

Eems performed in Jackson Conference Center. (Rob Ziegler)

The wood-paneled stage was backdropped with a pair of black curtains and string lights. There was a set-up in the middle of the stage made up of sound equipment, keyboard, ukulele, foot pedals and a standing microphone.

Eems, wearing a black sweatshirt and a pair of headphones over a backwards baseball hat, opened by asking the audience if they knew what looping was. Upon receiving blank stares from the audience, he began playing his song “Unbreakable” to show off how it worked.

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Eems used a keyboard, his ukulele and loop pedals to create melodies. (Rob Ziegler)

He used beatboxing and the synthesizer on his keyboard to set the beat, then started playing a melody. Once all the backing loops were built, he began singing. He set his own vocals on a loop and harmonized with them, turning himself into a one-man choir. He would start and stop loops to change the pacing of the song or develop different melodies.

“I grew up in a music family,” Eems said after the first song. “I used to think I’d be a rapper… but I like being different.”

His second song was “Closed Doors,” a love song about growing old together, dedicated to a couple in the crowd.

For his third song, Eems chose a volunteer, Rachael Hendrickson, to perform with him, then asked the audience for words to use. Picking randomly, students gave three words: space, elasticity, and zamboni. He used them to create backing vocals for Hendrickson while she rapped surprisingly well about the pressure of performing on stage.

Next was a cover of “Treat You Better” by Shawn Mendes, followed by an improvised campus song complete with insults about Edmonds Community College’s mascot, the Triton. The final song of the concert was a cover of T-Pain’s “I’m Sprung,” in his unique style.

Eems’ style worked well in a live environment. The act of building up each part of the song, the beat, melody and harmonies, was a spectacle to behold.

Rachel Hendrickson volunteered to join Eems on stage for an enthusiastic performance. (Rob Ziegler)

The timing required to start and stop each loop in time with the rhythm was impressive. Including the audience was a great touch. It kept them engaged and thinking about how he makes music.

His pacing was also great, stopping loops to create personal moments or making new ones to build up momentum, all of it was exhilarating. If you couldn’t make it, you really missed out.

This performance is only one stop on his tour of 18 colleges across the country, which started in South Carolina and will end in New Mexico. Check out Eems’ Spotify, Youtube and Instagram accounts to hear his music for yourself!

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About the Contributors
Devin Culver, Social Media Manager
What is your dream job? My dream job would be an informational YouTuber. It is similar to an independent journalist, but with more flexibility and the ability to reach a larger audience. What is an issue or topic you are interested about? I am interested in urban design, how cities can be built to be walkable and practical for people’s lives. When you aren't doing things for the Clipper, what can you be found doing? Outside of the Clipper, I like to play games like Valorant, Destiny 2 and Lethal Company. Otherwise, I play a card game called Yu-Gi-Oh.
Rob Ziegler, Photo Editor
What is your dream job? My Dream Job would pay me an exorbitant amount of money every Friday. I would work four days a week & have at least three months of vacation so I could travel the world & explore. I get to pick my boss. I would work with a small, young, energetic, and talented team. The work would be mostly outdoors. When you aren't doing things for the Clipper, what can you be found doing?  When I am not doing things for the Clipper, I could be found running and biking the trails on northern Whidbey Island where I live. Last summer I hiked 1400 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. I plan to spend the summer break hiking the remaining 1350 trail miles. What is your greatest life achievement? My greatest life achievement was my work as an Aircrewman in the US Navy. I began as an acoustic operator in the P-3 “Orion” submarine hunting aircraft.  I also flew as a Rescue Swimmer/Door Gunner in a SH-60 “Seahawk” helicopter. Later I flew as a flight engineer in Gulfstream jets  and finally as a Loadmaster in the C-40 “Clipper” cargo Jets.  One of my favorite memories was performing rescues during Hurricane Katrina.

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