From a hobby to a record deal: One student’s road to making music

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Ben Chaverin, junior in operations and supply chain management, recently released his fifth single. Right now, it's a hobby that's grown out of his childhood love for music, but in the future he hopes to make a career out of it. (Kaylie McLaughlin | Collegian Media Group)

When Ben Chaverin, junior in operations and supply chain management, was a kid learning how to play the guitar, it was just for fun — a way to connect with his dad and brothers who also played.

“My brothers and I and my dad always liked singing,” he said. “My dad is a fantastic finger-style guitarist, so we all learned to play around the same time and I just kept with it.”

Chaverin, who now has a record deal, recently released his fifth single. The song “Shoulda Known Better,” went live on Spotify, Amazon Music and Apple Music on Feb. 22.

The song falls under the acoustic-pop genre. He said that his musical style is inspired by several artists like John Mayer and Charlie Puth, but the general message he aims to portray in all of his songs is to tell stories that help people process what they are going through.

“Whether that be if they are struggling with mental health, are in a tough situation or if they just need a pick-me-up,” he said.

His newest song is no exception.

“It’s about blaming yourself and processing how you feel about yourself coming out of a relationship,” Chaverin said.

(Courtesy photo Ben Chaverin.)
(Courtesy photo Ben Chaverin.)

When it comes to making music, Chaverin says he doesn’t have a set formula. Each song entails a different process and comes to him in different ways.

Usually, each song he collaborates on comes from an artist who already has a track, but needs a singer. He currently works with a Chicago label that produces primarily electronic dance music and connects him to other artists to collaborate with.

“Shoulda Known Better” on the other hand was all him. Chaverin produced the song entirely on his own from the at-home studio he put together in his closet.

“I have the equipment to line my guitar into the computer and I spent the last two years learning how to produce,” he said.

After Chaverin’s music is ready to be launched, he fills out a form for a company to distribute to streaming services. He pays the distributor, but gets a percentage of the earnings every time someone listens to the song.

“My short-term goal in the next year is to release another song that I think is really good this summer, and, with the practice of this release and if angled correctly, could do really well,” he said.

Chaverin said he hopes this will open him up to new opportunities, like music videos and the marketing side of the music industry. He said he plans to use his degree to find a job to get situated in and make some money.

“Then, if I have an opportunity in music that I can do full time, I’ll do that,” he said. “By then, I will have worked for a few years and hopefully have enough in savings to go on tour.”

Ultimately, Chaverin hopes that his career is launched within the next five years and is at a professional level. Nevertheless, he says even if he does not succeed in music, he will continue to play, no matter what.

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