By Chelsie Derman
Arts & Entertainment Editor
A college student nearing finals knows the feeling — books everywhere, papers lined up by professors, tests nearing closer — but with summer on the horizon, things may start looking hopeful. To give anyone a break during these next long couple of weeks, students can check out a new cheerful song released by two students at the College.
Christian Simpson, a senior mechanical engineering major, and Victoria (Tori) Maslov, a senior biology major, have been collaborating on their song for the past year. Five months after the birth of the idea, “Drive Anywhere” was released on Spotify on April 23.
“I started having an idea for (“Drive Anywhere)” around November, a melody of a verse at that point, and Christan was also thinking about this project that he was doing,” Maslov said.
Simpson’s project was aimed at creating three or four versions of one song with three of his friends. Simpson told Maslov his idea who then told him about her own song idea. And thus, they collaborated.
“We decided that Tori had (the) first verse and the chorus, but not everything,” Simpson said. “So then she came over, and then we worked on fleshing out all of the lyrics and making sure the melody was strong, stuff like that.”
Simpson went on to say how this would contribute to the project he wanted to do with his other friends.
“I recorded all of her vocals and sent it to my other friends that were going to do their own thing with it,” Simpson said. “But from there it was more: okay, they’re going to be more of the remixes of the song and then the one we’re working on will be the original with the full production that Tori wanted and I wanted.”
Victor Heras and EJ Gastaya, both freshmen, are two of the friends of Simpson’s who decided to make remixes of “Drive Anywhere.” Their remixes will be released Friday, May 7.
“It’s pretty cool. I was able to bring (them) together — they’re both freshmen at TCNJ and then I’m a senior — so I thought it would be cool to get to know them better and give them a better opportunity to really use some really good vocals from Tori that they might not have from other people,” Simpson said.
Simpson and Maslov would both characterize “Drive Anywhere” as pop.
“It’s definitely pop,” Simpson said. “You have to fill out a bunch of information when you’re releasing a song, like what’s the secondary genre? Stuff like that. And I think we said the secondary one was rock because it is very electric-guitar driven. So it’s a pop-rock mashup. But the vibe of it, like Tori said, is sunshine pop, very happy, very in-your-face.”
In the track, both Simpson and Maslov take turns singing, each taking half of a verse.
“When I was thinking about the song, and when writing it, I formed a duet in my head, and I had him in mind, so I guess when I was writing it, I was writing the melody for me and he was doing a lot of the harmonies, but then [Christian] decided to do more even duets so we are both featured pretty prominently,” Maslov said.
While Simpson had been creating music since the age of thirteen, recording and posting songs on YouTube and later Spotify, Maslov considers herself as more of a new artist. Simpson has about two full albums and one five-song EP on his Spotify. Passionate about music, he would love to make more in the future.
“If it was at all possible to support myself with music, I would do that,” Simpson said. “It just isn’t possible for me right now, but I’m trying to build up to that point where I could have that — at least a side project — for the rest of my days or if it really takes off, have that be my career choice.”
Maslov is now in a band with her sister. She said releasing “Drive Anywhere” fueled her passion to continue to produce music.
“Even though it’s not a hundred percent my career right now, it will always be my hobby,” Maslov said.
Maslov and Simpson both had a fun time doing this collaboration. From figuring out what should and should not go in the song to having their friends sing the song all the time, the experience was memorable.
“I like telling stories, and I think (“Drive Anywhere”) tells a really fun story. I think it’s relatable and that people can have fun with it,” Maslov said.