UNL sophomore Harrison Smith aims to make his dreams become reality
Harrison Smith began his journey at UNL last year not knowing what career he wanted to pursue, but his life has changed immensely since. Now in his sophomore year, Smith seems to have it all figured out thanks to his lifelong passion in music.
“I developed a passion for music at a young age after I got my first drum set for Christmas when I was six, and that was the first time I had my own instrument. I started playing drums and got heavily into rock music and my love for music has grown since,” Smith said.
Growing up, Smith played the cello in his middle school orchestra and slowly from there he progressed into creating his own music.
“The first time I created music was when I was a sophomore in high school, I got a software called Logic Pro and messed around with it a bit, but it was just a hobby back then and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it,” he said.
Leading up to his freshman year in college, Smith still wasn’t sure how he could make a career out of music so he enrolled into the College of Business at UNL. He was also interested in business marketing growing up and with both of his parents being successful entrepreneurs, it made sense.
It wasn’t until later in his freshman year when a career in music became a real possibility after he discovered a new hobby, disk jockeying, often abbreviated as DJ’ing.
“I was introduced to DJ’ing after I went to my first Electronic Dance Music show at The Royal Grove. Darude was headlining and KevyCav was the opener. I was super fascinated with the whole process and having control over everyone in the room,” he said.
DJ’s take recorded music and use equipment that can play two or more sources of music simultaneously which allows them to create unique mixes of songs for live audiences.
“When I first started out, I bought a $20 mixing board and started producing my own music in my dorm room. I told my parents and friends about what I was doing and my dreams in music, and nobody took me seriously, they didn’t understand music was what made me happiest,” he said.
Harrison Smith said the doubt people have in him and his music is what drives him.
One of Smith’s biggest supporter’s is his girlfriend Mady DeJoy. “Music is definitely the thing he is most passionate about and since I’ve known it, it’s driven everything he does. I know he works really hard and it’s super motivating to watch him be so dedicated to something and succeed with it,” DeJoy said.
Late in his second semester at UNL, Smith finally made a name for himself. He organized a charity EDM concert at The Royal Glove in Lincoln where he had the opportunity to open for upcoming artist Spirix. In addition, the event raised over $1000 which was donated to the I’ve Got A Name foundation.
Smith spent the following summer at home in Omaha where he lived off his savings, didn’t work and spent all of his time in his room mixing new music. Smith was in full pursuit of turning his new hobby into a lifelong career and this became more clear when he applied to a music production program in Los Angeles, California.
“I applied to a school called Icon Collective in Los Angeles where they teach you the ins and outs of Ableton Live, which is the main digital work station where you produce your own music,” he said.
Then in July, Smith received the exciting news that his application to Icon Collective was accepted and he would attend the music production school the following summer in 2019.
“It was kind of my last resort, I told myself if I wasn’t accepted then I would just continue pursuing my business degree here at UNL, but I was accepted and I’ll be taking a year off of school to pursue my biggest dreams in music,” he said. “It felt amazing, surreal, like everything I had worked for up to that point was worth it.”
Now in his sophomore year at UNL, Smith set up a full work station in his dorm room in Lincoln. His roommate Jarett Mari has been one of his biggest believers since he began his journey.
“As his roommate, I try my best to motivate him to accomplish more, but his internal drive outweighs my external motivation. With his work ethic and mindset, he can do whatever he puts his heart into,” Mari said.
In September, Smith released ‘Give You Up’ under his new stage name, ‘RVBY’, a name inspired by his cat, Ruby. “I chose to use her name because she lays on my desk when I’m at home and listens to me produce. She used to sleep on top of my amplifier while I played guitar,” he said.
On top of releasing his own music, Smith has performed at various venues in Lincoln, Omaha, Chicago and Minneapolis. One of his main goals is to headline at the Electronic Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, one of the biggest EDM festivals in the country.
With his drive, mindset, and everything he has accomplished, anything seems possible for Harrison Smith.