JPulse: rapper, producer, pianist, peer counselor
Think back to two years ago, when a new sophomore named Jeff Chin first made his rapping debut performing at an all-school convocation. He was nervous and shaking and somewhat shorter than his current 6-foot-2-inch self.
“I think you’d call what I had ‘butterflies’,” he later said. Jeff recalled the mixed feelings of anticipation and dread that filled him while he waited in line for his first performance onstage. “When I got up there and started rapping, the butterflies went away and it was a lot easier than I thought it would be.”
Now 18 years old, Jeff, both taller and more mature, has greatly improved his rapping.
Jeff’s love for music initially started with the Jamaican reggae he frequently listened to as a child growing up in Jamaica. “The music and the sound, I learned to listen to it.” he said. Now that Jeff is older, he listens to many different genres of music. Among his favorites are rap, jazz, and hip-hop.
“At the end of the day, hip hop combines so many music forms that it will always be my favorite. If I could do any type of music though, it would be jazz. I love the sound of it. But I like rapping the most.”
There are few people in this world that have such a wide list of ‘favorite’ artists as Jeff does. Among his all-time favorites are Imogen Heap, Notorious B.I.G., Common, Late Night Alumni, John Legend, Janelle Monae, B.o.B., Jhene Aiko, MGMT, Skream, Brian Culbertson, Pharrell, Wiz Khalifa, and Stephen Marley. “I am also into old school Hip-Hop and R&B such as Pharcyde and Boyz II Men,” said Jeff, “There are many more favorites, but to list them all would take away the majority of this page. I am not bound by genre; if a song has a good melody and a positive message, I like it.”
Jeff started writing his own music as a sophomore. Along the way, he encountered things that didn’t work for him before he finally stumbled upon a method that just clicked: associating rap with poetry made it easier for Jeff to write his songs. “When I make a new song, I don’t just listen to the music, but also to the words. In a good song, the words will come to the music.”
Not only does Jeff write his lyrics, but he also produces his own music. “A producer is someone who can turn feelings and imagination into a relatable language: music.” Cooperating with Daniel Yoon ‘12, whom he commends as an amazing beat boxer, Jeff has had the opportunity to work with a variety of people at Loomis with unique talents.
Aside from being a rapper and producer, Jeff also has many hidden talents. He plays three instruments, including the guitar, basic saxophone, and the piano. He especially enjoys playing the piano and has a particular talent for playing by ear because he finds that reading the music slows him down. In addition to performing his raps, Jeff also showcases original songs on piano he has composed.
Musical talents aside, Jeff also enjoys serving as a Peer Counselor. Alongside his Peer Counseling partner, Steven Wang ‘12, Jeff dedicates himself to serving as a positive role model for his freshmen and helping them get adjusted to Loomis. Jeff’s experience with his family plays a large role towards his being a peer counselor. Jeff is the oldest child in his family, with two younger sisters and a brother. He says that his responsibility as a role model at home has helped him do the same at school. Jeff’s family also has a huge impact on his work as a musician too. By running ideas past them, he can get the feedback that he needs to make his music the best it can be.In the future, Jeff plans on studying medicine at UConn. But with a smile he says, “If I can do something in the music world, if I get good exposure, then I’ll definitely go as far with it as it will take me.” From this interview and from his role on campus, it seems like Jeff will not go wrong in any direction he chooses to pursue.