Art and business
WHILE GROWING UP in Senegal, says Issa Diop '08, his parents wanted him to be an engineer like his brothers. Diop had other plans. "In Senegal," he says, "music is huge." He started writing songs, and eventually won a green card lottery that allowed him to come to the United States in 2003 and study marketing at PSU.
"That was a turning point in my life," says Diop, who prefers to go by Issa (pronounced E-suh). Now he's making it as a singer and a partner in his own label, Just 4 the Records. "It opened the door for musical emancipation and discovering the talents that I have."
"I value education a lot," he says, "because then you know how to manage your career. I like to find the balance between art and business." Issa, whose music draws from R&B, pop, and African influences, points to hip-hop moguls like P. Diddy, Jay-Z, and Akon (a Senegalese-American) as models. He started his own label, he says, because, "I didn't want to wait for a big label to approve me. I don't have to wait."
He's right. His song "Warm Me Up" was featured in the Internet series Who... and in July 2009 he opened for Billboard chart-topping artist Jay Sean. Issa's songs are available on iTunes, and his new album, Rules of Attraction, is due out in mid-2010. "It's a mix of pop, R&B, and dance," he says. "Very upbeat. It's gonna be really fun."
[caption] The music of Issa Diop ‘08 is influenced by hip hop, R&B, pop, and the music of his original home in West Africa.
Working in song
THE HOPES and aspirations of working Americans—waitresses, millworkers, corporate executives, and many others—are reflected in the songs and monologues of the musical, Working, playing at Artists Repertory Theatre, 1515 SW Morrison Street, March 5 through 13.
The Theater Arts Department is taking on the stage adaptation of Working, a Studs Terkel best-selling oral history. The late Terkel, a longtime writer and Chicago radio personality, wrote the book in 1974 from his interviews with regular working men and women. The musical sets their everyday lives to song, including some original scores by singer songwriter James Taylor.
Performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 7, at 2 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at the PSU Box office, 503-725-3307, or through TicketMaster.
Teeing up for Hollywood
AT 4 A.M., most of us are sound asleep. But for the past four years, Steve Lundin '87 has been wide awake and writing until it's time to go to work at the engineering business he owns with his in-laws.
His early morning efforts have paid off. His first novel, Shooting an Albatross, is a psychological thriller set in 1943, a year in which the PGA cancelled professional golf, leaving a perfect opportunity for the Army, which was occupying El Rancho Golf Course, to play the Navy. The book follows Private Evan Wilkins through a tale of love, rivalry, murder, and golf.
Lundin's wake-up call, so to speak, came in the form of a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 1995. "This illness made me see that I didn't want to be some 90-year-old guy saying that I want to write, but never having done it." So he took up his longtime goal of becoming a writer.
Shooting an Albatross reeled in producer Jon Fitzgerald, a veteran of studio and independent films as well as a golfer. Fitzgerald bought the option to make a film based on Lundin's novel and commissioned the writer to adapt it into a screenplay.
Lundin says it's too soon to tell when, or if, his words will make it to the screen, but adds, "Listen to these cool words: he's sending it out to talent and financiers!"
Hastur Lord: A novel of Darkover
Weird words: A Lovecraftian lexicon
Hillary Clinton's race for the White House: Gender politics and the media on the campaign trail
Oaks Park Pentimento: Portland's lost and found carousel
Crafted over time
Far from the edge
ABOUT FANFARE: We want to hear about your books and recordings and your future exhibits, performances, and directing ventures. Contact the magazine by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, sending a fax to 503-725-4465, or mailing Portland State Magazine, Office of University Communications, PO Box 751, Portland OR 97207-0751.