Trip Yang, BASc’11, just released a musical tribute to his alma mater. Inspired by hip hop artist Jay-Z’s collaboration with singer Alicia Keys, “Empire State of Mind,” the song is a love letter to McGill, fittingly titled “McGill State of Mind.”
Yang’s song extols the pleasures of life at McGill and in Montreal, while making mention of many of the University’s landmarks and institutions, including Gert’s pub, the Three Bares and the McGill Daily. Last fall, Yang undertook the ambitious task of creating an accompanying music video. After months of filming and editing, the video—which features locations from across downtown campus and numerous cameos from faculty students and varsity athletes is now out on YouTube.
Watch the video:
We caught up with Yang, a New Jersey native, to learn more about what motivated him to embark on this project, and what message he hoped to share with fellow alumni and students through the song and video.
Q. What gave you the idea to create the McGill State of Mind song?
A. I wanted to create a song and music video that embraces all the positive aspects of going to school at McGill, from feeling a sense of fulfillment with a student group to being inspired by a prodigious professor. We often see videos about a university’s newest research breakthroughs. These videos are of course important but there’s never been a school wide McGill video about the diverse life. We wanted to show this view of the student experience in a professional-quality yet lighthearted music video.
Q. At what point did you decide to make a music video for the song?
A. After we released the song in September, the next step was to create a music video that featured all the vibrant aspects of campus life, from varsity athletics to student leadership to award-winning professors and everything in between. We started working on the music video in September and we released it on YouTube this month. We had a team of over 20 members consisting of the band, production team and other project volunteers. The McGill community was extremely receptive to our unprecedented project. Hundreds of students, athletes, professors, and staff were involved in the recording, filming, editing, sponsorship, and promotion.
Q. How did you find time to create the video during your time as a student?
A. I started writing the lyrics and recruiting band mates for in May – just a couple weeks before my convocation. It was a relaxing Montreal summer, so making music was the perfect hobby. My band and I wrote, rehearsed, and recorded the song that summer. From September to March, our production team worked on planning, filming, and editing the music video. In that period, we had four very hectic weeks of filming. We must have filmed for over 30 hours that first week – I could barely remember sleeping!
Q. What was the main message you wanted to communicate with the video?
A. In addition to showcasing McGill’s rich campus life, our goal was to promote a “community” feeling that could be shared among active McGill members, alumni who wanted to relive fond memories, and prospective students interested in attending one of the best academic and extracurricular universities in the world.
Q. What are your favourite memories from your time as a McGill student?
A. The first week I was at McGill, I was filled with a sense of excitement at all the possibilities in front of me. It’s a feeling I’ll never forget. I get that same adrenaline rush when I work on ambitious projects like “McGill State of Mind”.
Q. What are you up to these days?
A. Currently I’m involved with President Obama’s re-election campaign as a community organizer. It’s a lot of hard, persistent work but I like to relax by taking regular trips back to Montreal and visiting old friends!