Irvine 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
Sitton 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.