Deacon Profile: Jack O’Connell

Sophomore Jack O’Connell is very involved around campus. He works with Project Launch and hopes to earn a leadership position on the Club Basketball team. However, O’Connell’s passion lies in music. Since his senior year of high school, O’Connell has been making music under the name Cambii, releasing songs such as “Rollin,” “Kick it With You” and “Pull Up” on Spotify and SoundCloud. His music is popular across campus, and in the future, he hopes to use his marketing major to work in the music industry.

How did you get into making music?

In high school, I was really into basketball and that used to take up all my time, but when I came to college, I stopped spending time playing and picked up music. I’ve always loved music, but I never really thought I would do anything with it. Then my dad kind of got me into it.

When I was younger I tried to play piano and guitar, but I didn’t really follow through. It took me up until this summer to really learn everything about mixing and mastering and just making everything sound good. I just do the vocals and production now. When I applied to Wake Forest, instead of writing a supplemental essay, I wrote a song. I guess that’s when I started recording music — about three years ago. Coming into college, I was trying to walk on the basketball team, but it was pretty difficult and things just didn’t line up. I believe everything happens for a reason, though. I spend my time doing other things, like making music, and it’s going well.

Where does the name Cambii come from?

The name comes from the word cambio in Spanish, which means change. It just reminds me that things change and people change, but I’m always open to [change]. 

How has your music influenced your time in college?

The weirdest part is hearing other people, like friends, play your music. Before, I was just making music for myself as a way express myself and I really enjoyed it. But now, they ask me when I will put something else out. I just recently put some new music on Spotify and there are a few more coming. Right now, music is just a hobby for me. One of my friends told me about a musical production class, which I’m looking into. I’m also looking into musical clubs. In the future though, I don’t intend to be an artist — but if something happens, it happens. I’m a marketing major and I recently thought about working in the music industry. I haven’t looked too deep into the idea, but it would be great to work for a record label that incorporates marketing.

Is there a particular artist who has influenced you in the past?

My favorite artist is probably John Something. I like his style because he doesn’t rap as much — it’s a lot of more singing. If I was going to compare my music to someone, it would probably be Little Dirk, because I’ll rap some and sing some and find a balance there. But I like that John Something really sings, it’s not classic rap — it definitely makes you feel something. Other than that, I would not say I’m trying to be like any particular artist. When I hear a beat, I just let myself express it.

What kind of music do you listen to? Is it different from your own style?

I think my taste in music and my style of music are pretty similar. I definitely listen to a wider range of music than my own genre. The type I like the most would be hip-hop, rap and R&B, which I try to incorporate into my music. But I also like listening to reggae, some alternative and rock.

What kind of feedback do you usually get on your songs?

When I was starting off, people would usually give me advice like “it sounds kind of fuzzy here” or “you can change something here and there.” Lately though, I haven’t been given as much of that feedback. I guess if people are playing it on their own or listening to it, that’s a good sign.