Heads were nodding and hands were clapping to the sounds of Jared Campbell and his guitar on Friday, Jan. 28.
As students snacked on chicken winglets and pastries in the Smith University Center, Campbell shared some comical stories with the accompaniment of songs.
The songs that Campbell sang ranged from Jason Mraz, Justin Beaver, and even a piece of the theme song from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
While Campbell was performing one of the students sitting in the audience, Danielle Swanigan, expressed deep admiration for Campbell’s interaction with the audience.
“I think it was good how he interacted with all of us,” Swanigan said. “Being able to interact makes anybody that is a performer or a speaker real.”
Most of the songs that Campbell composes share the common message of determination and diligence to inspire everyone. Campbell said that the motivation that he gets to write his songs comes from God, his personal life stories, and people that inspired his life.
His current road tour, “The Blue Project,” is focused on reaching out to students to relate and open up to practical life lessons in his songs. Campbell named the tour after a song he wrote called “Catch a Glimpse of Blue.” In the song, Campbell talks about his realization that the sky is blue every day if one can see beyond the overcast clouds. Campbell wants people to get the message that everyone can experience joy in life and comfort through pain if they can look past the obstacles.
“The motivations from my music come from God, my wife, and important people with important stories,” Campbell said.
One song that Campbell shared with the students was about a boy with a prosthetic leg named Dan. Campbell titled the song “The Fight” because of the fight that Dan had to succeed to overcome his physical disability. Dan lost his leg because he had cancer in his ankle. However, Dan was determined to not let his leg literally slow him down. The fight that Dan had in him is what enabled him to become a multi-medal winner in the Paraplegic Olympics.
Campbell said that he has not recorded “The Fight” in a studio yet, but he encouraged everyone to go on YouTube if they were interested in hearing it again.
“I write songs, lyrically, that are open-ended enough to where you can insert your name here, or your heart here, and really have that song be your song,” Campbell said. “Dan’s story was very awesome, and it touched me to the point where I had to put his life story into a song.”
To make the night interesting, Campbell played a game with the audience by giving away free CDs to the attendees who were able to name out the people in one particular song that he wrote called “Change the World.” In the lyrics of the song, Campbell told the life stories of Rosa Parks, Michael Jordan and Aretha Franklin. In each story he did not primarily focus on their success, but he focused on their determination to change the world from lessons in their failures.
At the end of Campbell’s performance, he encouraged the students to make an impact in someone’s life and change the world.
Once everything was over, Assistant Dean of Students and University Programming Board Advisor LaTasha Brand shared commendable words about Campbell and his performance.
“Jared did a fabulous job,” Brand said. “Personally he is a down to earth young man. He seems to relate well with the students, and he has an awesome voice.”
Brand said that she believed that the entire performance was the highlight of the night, and she looks forward to having Campbell return in the near future.