The music is not going to stop for Aboudi Lahib any time soon.
While navigating a full course load in his final year at King’s University College, the fifth-year Criminology and Sociology major is planning on pursing his masters and perhaps studying for his Law School Admission Test (LSAT). He has been a member of the students’ council, Sophs and Foot Patrol, as well as coached King’s Cobras flag football, proctored exams and played intramural soccer.
Now, he has been dropping the (digital) needle on dance tracks for record labels, such as Sony.
“It keeps me entertained,” said Lahib, of a schedule that keeps him on campus until 11 p.m. every night. “If I don’t have this, I’m just going to come home early, do music for a couple hours and then watch Netflix. I’d rather be doing things and helping somewhere. You are in university; you want to experience as much as you can. You meet these amazing people and you don’t want to go home.”
When home, Lahib works in his basement studio on his next EDM (electronic dance music) track. While labelled as such, he does not want to be pinned to just one type of music.
“I really don’t listen to EDM a lot. I’ll find myself listening to a lot of country and Broadway music, actually,” said Lahib, who goes by the name Kapre. “I’ve always been told the more you listen to it (EDM) the more you begin to mimic and copy it, which I don’t want. In a lot of my music, you’ll hear a harmonica, strong vocals, an acoustic guitar and other instruments. I don’t typically like the big sounds. I just love making it.”
Perhaps ironically, the London native was kicked out of music class in grade school for goofing around. Today, he receives royalties for more than 15 of his songs.
With dance music, he said, record labels often sign deals on a song-by-song basis, rather than taking on the full artist.
In high school, Lahib began playing around with some programs on his computer, thinking it was “kind of cool.” About three years ago he focused his attention on the music and, with the help of friends and other Western students, began putting songs together and shopping it to bloggers and A&R (artists and repertoire) folks from various labels.
“I would send out 200-300 emails each time and personalize each one,” said Lahib, who, despite having few managers over the years, has more fun self-managing. “I then started having labels coming to me and asking me for music.”
He was offered a spot on a North American tour – but he refused it.
“There were two dates in San Francisco that were literally on the same dates as my finals,” Lahib said. “Do I really want to risk failing these courses? You quickly realize there will always be other opportunities. One door closes another one opens.”
Lahib’s parents emphasized education first as he grew up. He heeds that call to this day – although he shadows it with extra-curricular and music.
A year ago, Lahib was not enjoying music – it felt forced. He told everyone from the record labels to his 40,000 Facebook followers that he was done. A couple of months later, however, he had an idea for a song. Things began flowing again.
Balancing, however, is not always easy.
“I’ve learned to take time off when needed and refresh myself,” he said. “Sometimes, it’s hell. But the more you get used to it, it works. Starting this term, I felt I was taking on too much. But after talking to my professors and going to office hours, I was back in the swing of things in a few weeks.”
Lahib will be creating his own label soon, ARL, to release his music to Spotify, SoundCloud and other music sharing websites. For the near future, music will remain a passion, a pursuit – but not yet a career.
“This (music) is something I never looked at as career opportunity, rather something that helps me get my mind off other things,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun. But I’d never drop out of school for this.
“Music has always been an escape for me. The day it stops being enjoyable, I’m done.”
DROP THAT BEAT