By Gillian Williams
The center stage comes alive as the overhead lights flicker on, and shades of pink and blue reflect off the white surrounding walls. Cole Clinton, 21, smoothly slides his headphones over his ears and begins to tap his foot to the beat of the music.
Clinton is a student DJ for 1st Gen, a record label that works with college students in planning events for student DJs and other music creators. 1st Gen, was founded by Matthew Mizrahi, is in 20 college cities, and has hosted over 33 events. Mizrahi started 1st Gen after wishing he had more useful resources in college to pursue a career in the music industry.
Mizrahi believes that anyone can create music and be the next generation of the industry. He now has recruited a team of six SMU students to help plan 1st Gen’s first show in Dallas Thursday night. Three SMU students will be featured DJs hosted at the Cross Faded Barbershop in Deep Ellum.
“We have been planning this event for about four months now and can’t believe the day is almost here,” Mizrahi said. “We are expecting a turnout of around 300 students and can’t wait for them to hear these up-and-coming artists perform.” Mizrahi said.
Max Prather, 22, has been involved in 1st Gen for over a year and has firsthand seen its influence on the SMU community. He started as a DJ for his fraternity at SMU.
“I began during my sophomore year and never thought it was something I would be able to pursue as a sports management major,” Prather said. “I love that at 1st Gen we are able to provide opportunities for students, like me, to make their dreams of performing a reality,” Prather said.
Mizrahi believes he has created a community where individuals are free to be creative and authentic. His goal is to break the boundaries between industry professionals and students hoping to gain access to the music world.
“All anyone needs is the resources and opportunity, which we aim to provide, to kick start their career,” Mizrahi said.