IVC News > February 01, 2021

IVC Alumnus Releases Second Album

NicholasSitton.pngIrvine Valley College alumnus and musician Nicholas Sitton has released his second album, Necessary Empathy.

Sitton says he wanted to create a piece of work that encapsulated and interrogated his personal experiences at this time in his life, but also takes into account the political and systemic contexts in which they occurred.

“I was inspired musically and conceptually by St. Vincent, Beach House, Little Dragon, and Solange, to name a few, all of whom have unique and poignant takes on their experiences and how they intersect with larger ideas,” he says. “I believe that honest storytelling in music has great potential to inspire and teach empathy, self-reflection, and critical thought. I also believe that these skills are desperately needed during this time of political and social upheaval.”

Sitton has been developing his album since he left IVC four years ago. “In this time, I was able to take what I had learned at IVC and apply it and refine it. On this album you can hear how I took the tools I was given and ran with them,” he says. “I recorded, performed, arranged, and produced everything you hear on the album myself in my bedroom studio, so it is an intimate as well as expansive experience.”

His compositions also explore other facets of his life, he says.

“I believe that the unflinching and brutally honest reflection of my experiences as a queer person, imbued into my music, is an important and necessary step to take to expand and color the stories of the human experience,” he says. “My music exists to be enjoyed and to be engaged with critically, in both the beautiful and consonant as well as the ugly and discordant.”

Sitton attended IVC from 2013 to 2017 and began his music major in 2015.

“I learned so much at IVC,” he says. “The professors and staff in the music department were highly skilled and offered a wealth of diverse knowledge and experience. They went out of their way to offer growth opportunities and challenge me and my peers. They used their real-world experience to support and encourage growth and love of music. I felt very lucky for this access and, with the drive to learn, was able to build a foundation that still sustains me today.”

Sitton says he fully devoted himself to his musical growth when he was 19. The following year, he started studying music at IVC, during which time he wrote and recorded his first album, Some Days.

ArtbyBeverlySalas2.pngSitton cited the training and mentorship by several IVC faculty as being critical to his success and self-discovery. Sitton says that within the music program, Professor Daniel Luzko’s “passion for music and mentorship of students created a space for musical growth and exploration.” He also cited Dr. Matthew Tresler, “who challenged me and gave me a foundation that serves me well past my time at IVC.”

Sitton also studied the life sciences while at IVC. He says he “encountered the same level of care, passion, and dedication from the professors in that department. My curiosity and interest were matched and returned in equal measure.”

Specifically, he cited faculty members including Justin Wright, “whose passion and care for the world and its creatures is contagious,” and Dr. Devon Bradley, “whose resolve and kindness shapes every space she’s involved in for the better.”

He also became involved with the BEES Garden Club, which he lauded for creating both a literal and figurative space for him to connect to nature and his peers.

“My years at IVC were formative for my identity on a personal level as well as a musical and professional level,” Sitton says. He encourages current and prospective IVC music majors to appreciate the expertise and resources available to them in the program.

“Whatever kind of music you like or want to play, there is something to learn from everything they have to offer,” he says. “And make sure you’re applying what you’re learning to expand your musical creativity in some way. The best musicians are those that are in love with the magic and language of music.”

To listen to Necessary Empathy, visit Spotify or YouTube, or find it on any other music streaming service. Learn more about Sitton and his work on Instagram at @boybloom or visit boybloom.com for more information.

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