Student musician plans for one-shot mixtape

By Claire Buchanan

Kenneth Leftridge, senior jazz studies major, plans to create a one-take mixtape with Free Lunch, a hip-hop and jazz band comprised of students who perform Mondays at the Holmes Student Center’s The College Grind.

Leftridge and Free Lunch have started writing songs and collaborating with local vocalist Sydney Jay and rapper Mic We$t, who will make appearances on the mixtape. They plan to release the mixtape and YouTube cover videos in December.

Leftridge said he and the band are following the hip-hop trend of recording mixtapes instead of albums. Free Lunch will perform mostly hip-hop and R&B covers on the mixtape.

“We’re just gonna try to do everything in one shot,” Leftridge said. “So instead of how normal people would do stuff in multiple takes … layer stuff and do it over a long span of time and put one sound over one sound over one sound, we’re doing it all at once.”

The band will record a music video during The College Grind’s Monday jam session Oct. 27.

“We really want to get the attention of other known artists so they can put us on tour,” Leftridge said. “Other people online do stuff like that to get known.”

Leftridge said although Free Lunch is mostly a cover band, the mixtape will feature several original songs.

“There’s really not a lot of hip-hop and R&B bands out there and that’s what we want to be,” Leftridge said.

When composing and recording music, Leftridge likes to have a live sound rather than use a computer.

He writes “jazz and hip-hop mainly,” Leftridge said. “I write for instruments and vocals, too. I’ll take a jazz standard and change it into a neo-soul type vibe. I also write beats for rappers. I really plug the aspect of using a live band for stuff so it’s not just electronic, it’s a live band. When I say I write beats for rappers, you’re probably like, ‘Oh, he uses a program.’ No, I use an actual group.”

Free Lunch, which features Leftridge on saxophone, has been performing in DeKalb and Chicago and played at this year’s Homecoming bonfire.

“There’s stuff that we did that I arranged,” Leftridge said. “Right now me, Mic We$t, AC Noel … we’re about to start working on a project. We’re going to start releasing videos on YouTube for our group.”

For Leftridge, music is not a hobby but something he hopes will become his livelihood.

“I can’t see myself being happy doing something else,” he said. “Honestly, I just want to play for as long as I possibly can. I plan on teaching at a university at some point, but for right now I just want to tour around the world and play as much as possible and write for other people.”

Assistant Scene Editor Sabreena Saleem contributed to this article.