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Mike Stud brings 'college pop' back to IC

BY EMMA MCCLATCHEY | NOVEMBER 06, 2014 5:00 AM

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Baseball-player-turned-pop-star Mike Stud will make Iowa City one of his first Closer Tour stops at 8 p.m. Friday, He will perform in the IMU Second-Floor Ballroom alongside Clinton Sparks and Austin Harris, all brought by the SCOPE.

Originally from Rhode Island, Stud was recruited to Duke University on a baseball scholarship. Stud set numerous school records in his freshman and sophomore years but sustained an arm injury in 2009 that kept him out for a season — leaving him to pursue other interests.

“I was focused on academics, but my eyes were set on a professional baseball career,” Stud said. “When I got injured, everything came tumbling down. The music thing was so unexpected, but it took my mind off being injured and gave me a fresh outlet.”

While recovering from surgery, Stud wrote and recorded a playful rap called “College Humor” with his friends and posted a music video on YouTube, which quickly went viral. His next few musical experiments also attracted hundreds of thousands of views, and Stud began attracting a fan following outside the sports arena.

“[Going viral] is pretty weird. I had very low expectations, but it just happened. I didn’t think it’d translate into a career,” he said. “It’s been a pretty steady rise; I’ve been working and working and chipping away at it, trying to get the Mike Stud name out there.”

Stud said his “name” has come to be associated with an upbeat party sound, popular among Internet-savvy young adults and college-town audiences. His first studio album, Relief, reached No. 1 on the iTunes hip-hop album sales and No. 2 overall, while his sophomore album, Closer — released July 7 to kick of his #StudSummer Tour of the U.S. — peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard charts.

While most of his music is lively and humorous, some of Stud’s most popular tracks have been slower and more introspective, such as the single “Closer,” his first to be picked up by Top 40 radio stations.

“People connect to the stuff I’m talking about and can sense when someone is genuine,” he said. “I write about the lessons I’ve learned from my trials and tribulations.”

Friday will mark Stud’s third stop in Iowa City — a town Stud said he is “obsessed with” — after performing twice at Blue Moose since 2011. This time, the rapper said audiences can expect an even more fun-filled show, featuring live instruments and his friends performing different characters onstage.

While Stud still remains an athlete at heart, he said the last eight months have reinforced his love of writing and performing music.

“I can now say wholeheartedly that I feel like this is what I’m meant to do,” he said. “My passion for creative music is finally equal to my passion for baseball.”

Tickets for Friday’s show cost $25 and can be purchased online or at the Hub in the IMU.


MUSIC
Mike Stud with Clinton Sparks and Austin Harris, presented by SCOPE
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: IMU Second-Floor Ballroom
Admission: $25


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