At McCombs students are urged to use their degree towards their individual passions from non-profit organizations to corporate relations. Only occasionally do we encounter a student that chooses to pursue the arts. Colin Leonard, BHP ‘16 and brother Drew Leonard, BBA ‘14, have found solace and success in the music industry. Colin has become a singer/songwriter and Drew is Colin’s manager.
Colin began songwriting in November 2012 and released his first album on iTunes shortly after. The album did very well receiving almost 2,000 downloads. Feeling confident in his abilities, Colin and Drew felt there might be a bright future ahead if they follow this path. The duo started a Kickstarter page asking for donations and met their goal of $8,000 in just 10 days. The page ultimately resulted in $11,000 in donations.
Most recently, Colin released Valleys EP, which debuted on iTunes under the singer/songwriter genre up against big names such as Ed Sheeran, Nickel Creek, and Passenger. Valleys held it’s own and reached #5 on the genre’s chart for 3 days and remained in the top 20 for two weeks. Colin and Drew are both very humbled by the success of the album.
The Leonard brothers have always had an interest in singing and music as they were both active in chorus groups at their local church growing up in San Antonio. Things really took off recently when Colin and Drew partnered together.
“We have meetings together, which is really just two brothers going to a coffee shop,” said Colin. During these meetings, the brothers talk about the future of Colin’s music career and how to create and maintain an online persona. “It’s been hard trying to strike a balance between being a real person that’s young and just 20 years old, but I’m also trying to pursue this professional career,” said Drew. Colin looks to Drew for creative support as well. When Colin writes a song he shares it with Drew for honest feedback that he can trust.
“Right now it’s all about building connections and trying to manage his personal identity, being a young, goofy college sophomore, while also building a more serious and professional online personality that fans can connect with and respect,” said Drew.
Colin sometimes struggles with time management when juggling honors coursework; work at a local church, involvement with Younglife and his music career. However, he is fortunate to have made many friends in the honors program to lean on for support and help in navigating his commitments. “BHP is a great opportunity and I don’t want to waste that,” said Colin.
When asked which professor has been most influential, Drew expressed his gratitude to marketing professor, Jonathan Highbarger, for teaching practical and applicable skills. Drew graduated in May with a degree in marketing and accepted a full-time position with SHI, a technology sales company, as an account executive.
Colin will continue to grow as a musician and work hard in the Business Honors Program. He is projected to graduate in May 2016.