‘Live your best life’: More than just a saying for 5C student-run record label

White male college student sits at a desk making music with a laptop and electronic musical devices.
Kevin Woods PZ ’22 is a hip hop artist working with Live Your Best Life Records (LYBL), a student-based record label at the Claremont Colleges.

Live Your Best Life Records wants people to do exactly that — live their best life. Here at the 5Cs, the student-based record label is working toward that goal by supporting student artists through an inclusive and encouraging environment.

LYBL, which was formed in fall 2018 and is based at Pitzer College, aims to “support student artists by funding artist platforms, promoting releases and hosting events,” according to its Facebook page. LYBL hosted its launch concert at the Pitzer Apron in October 2018 and has since continued to organize concerts at the 5Cs to support student artists. 

LYBL currently represents 12 artists on multiple platforms, which include SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Music, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook, and a wide array of genres.

Kaylyn Wright PZ ’21, who cofounded LYBL with Ralph Gustavo Zamora PZ ’21 and Cam Cocking PZ ’21, said he got the idea for the label during summer 2018 after becoming aware of the large community of student musicians and getting immediate positive feedback after asking friends if they were interested in a student-run label.

“Everybody seemed really excited immediately, so we … started a club,” he said.

Wright explained that LYBL’s significance goes deeper than just a college club — it’s also about being able to reflect the identities and experiences of its represented musicians.

“On a deeper level, [LYBL] is a movement,” he said. “For me, [wanting to start LYBL] came from a place of struggling with being a queer black male, being … mixed — all my conflicting identities.”

As a result, Wright said he wants to use music to help people see how they can be their authentic selves and live their best lives, “regardless of what boxes that they’re put in.”

Kevin Woods PZ ’22 is one of LYBL’s hip hop artists. He said he joined the label as a first-year and is now going to LYBL leader meetings as well as helping with sound design and technology.

“The meaning behind [LYBL] is … to foster greater support towards art and [do] what you love to do to the best of your ability [while] having … people to support you through that,” he said.

Sharrieff Muhammad PZ ’21 is another hip hop artist working with LYBL. He said the label runs on a delicate balance between school and work schedules.

“It’s … trying to find the perfect [balance] of the work,” he said. “From Monday through Wednesday, [I’m] doing all [my] schoolwork, and then Wednesday to Sunday morning [I’m] doing everything for [our] art and making sure that … we’re not falling behind.”

Muhammad also emphasized the community and collective aspirations of LYBL. By aiming to create a positive and inclusive space, he hopes LYBL embodies the meaning of “life your best life.”

“We … move together as one,” he said. “There’s no ‘I’ in team here. We’re [making] sure that everybody feels like they have a place here and that everybody’s involved if they want to be.”

LYBL also puts on concerts that strive to emulate professional events, Wright said.

The label’s most recent event was the 5C Halloween Party at the Pitzer Clock Tower. Wright said the concert had “the most people that have ever been out to Pitzer, which was wild to hear from [Campus Security].” 

Woods said LYBL is thoughtful in ensuring that events run smoothly and represent a variety of voices and perspectives. Last semester, it did a workshop about gender inequality in the music industry and regularly hosts recording and production workshops that are open to the public.

“We’re trying to teach people how to work with music, [whether they] are interested in DJing or interested in producing [and] songwriting,” Wright said.

In regards to the future of LYBL, Wright hopes to solidify their label at the 5Cs before venturing into the music scene in Los Angeles.

“We’re just focusing on being the best that we can [be] at Pitzer and the 5Cs and developing ourselves as leaders [and] as artists in whatever positions we are in,” Wright said. “Then [we] plan on really [helping] develop people who are interested in [entering] the music industry. We’re going to start doing shows in L.A., making contacts and doing networking events.”

Muhammad also expressed wanting to take LYBL off-campus eventually. He said spreading the message of living your best life “globally” is one of the big goals for LYBL. 

Woods echoed this sentiment and placed an emphasis on staying inclusive.

“I feel like [LYBL] is going to be a really big movement, and I’m really excited for what’s going to happen,” Woods said. “I just hope that after we [graduate] we make sure that we put the movement in hands that will make sure to be inclusive and foster the idea of bettering yourself and bettering your own art.”

Facebook Comments