Before We Go to Sleep (EP album)

Verdi Degbey '16

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The project: Drawing from poetry written just before he fell asleep, Mr. Degbey created a spoken-word EP with original music about self-identity and other late night thoughts. He points out that while his music has the form of rap, it has a slow pace that suits its purpose: to be listened to before going to sleep.

From his reflections essay: “I made this project for people who struggle with ‘fitting in,’ which is something I go through all the time… It wasn’t until recently that I realized that it was totally okay to be different. Being different is actually way more of a gift than a curse. I see social isolation as more of a distinction. I use the large amount of alone time I have to create art that is well received by the public. Being the outcast gives me that path to create work that is out of the ordinary, or out of the box, which brings not only personal joy, but joy to others.”

Biggest challenge as a scholar: “I started writing poetry before I came to Williston, and I’ve continued to do a lot of writing. But I never thought about recording what I wrote and putting it on a beat. I found it really hard to sit down, record something, edit it, add a beat, add another beat if that beat doesn’t work, and change the tempo of what I’m saying. The original idea was to make a spoken word project with music and it turned into a rapping project, which was a new experience and fun but definitely challenging.”

Surprising discovery: “Every day I’d come in to the studio and I’d be surprised that I’d create a new piece. Then I wouldn’t use it. I think it’s that I have a lot to say and I just would want everyone to hear everything.”

Tip for future scholars: “The biggest thing is come knowing what you want to do and what you want to accomplish by the end.”