The Student Union Ballroom saw the release of UConn IDEA Grant recipient Julian Yuliawan’s debut EP “Big Dreams” on Saturday night. The project had been in production for the past year and culminated in an exciting and inspirational night of R&B music.
The event began with a quick meet-and-greet with the audience during which Yuliawan explained his influences and creative process.
“My main influences have been Kanye, Jon Bellion and The Weeknd. I have focused on how their music was on the come-up and try to emulate that style,” Yuliawan said.
His performance mirrors these influences on tracks like the opener “Epiphany,” which has Weeknd-sounding vocals over Bellion-sounding production.
Even before the performance started, the room had a palpable buzz.
“Everyone’s excited, there’s a lot of energy here,” Angelo Signore, an eighth semester biology and geography major, said.
Signore heard about the event through his mutual involvement with Yuliawan in the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. Talking to more members of the audience further revealed the singer’s reach in the UConn community.
“I met Julian in high school actually, while visiting UConn. We were playing pong, I liked his energy. We became fast friends,” Jarred Krause, an eighth semester communications major, said.
The performance that followed was a clear example of the overwhelming charisma of Yuliawan.
Instead of going straight into the music, Yuliawan explained how he was able to take advantage of the UConn IDEA Grant program, which funded the whole project and gave him the freedom to go in any musical direction he wanted. Funds are only given to a handful of students each year and focus on creative or entrepreneurial projects from UConn’s most driven individuals.
Read More: Big Dreams: An interview with idea grant recipient Julian Yuliawan
During the performance, instead of sitting quietly, the crowd was asked to stand and treat it like a normal concert. This being my first concert in the UConn Ballroom, I cannot speak to every event that has taken place in the venue, but the crowd Saturday night had to have been livelier than most of those that had come before it. There was a group of four or five individuals in the front row who formed their own small mosh pit, at one point crowd surfing a lucky member of their group. While the forty-person crowd is quite small to be attempting a crowd surf, the ambition and bravery behind the decision have to be respected.
The highlight of the evening came before Yuliawan’s closer, “Chasing Dreams.” Here, the performer detailed his choice to leave the kinesthesiology program and pursue an individualized major in music and entrepreneurship. The monologue focused on the importance of chasing one’s dreams and, as Yuliawan put it, “not just doing things for money or what society tells you to.” The speech was a perfect ending to a night about “Big Dreams.”
If you want to check out Yuliawan’s new EP, it is available on Apple Music, Spotify, Soundcloud and Tidal.
If you are interested in a live performance here are his upcoming live events:
- Beanery Open Mic’s - Beanery, Tuesdays 4-730 p.m.
- UConn’s Got Talent - Student Union Theater, February 28th at 8 p.m.
- SUBOG Open Mic Night - Student Union Lower Lobby, March 5th at 6 p.m.
Teddy Craven is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.