By Hannah Schultz, Features Editor

“I started making these songs the day I was born.”

For Markus Cook, this past Friday was an important day—it was time to release his album: Oreo.  Students were given the chance to experience a new way to enjoy the album release through a gallery which juxtaposed artwork along with Cook’s music.

The event was a collaboration between Cook and Esther Jadhav. “Esther Jadhav over at Intercultural was talking to me, and I told her what I was working on,” said Cook. “She wanted me to share it within the context of campus because we both agreed people here needed to hear this.”

“My hope is just to open people’s eyes,” said Cook of what he wanted students to gain from the album. “If an AU student sees themselves in the issues presented, I hope they can work on that in themselves.”

Cook’s music draws on experiences he’s had in his own life and the problems he sees in the world. For example, his favorite song off the album, “Crystals & Cigarettes,” deals with how society views issues surrounding mortality. “I’ve noticed this romanticized view in our generation of death and depression,” said Cook . “We’re obsessed with people like Kurt Cobain who killed themselves and led destructive lifestyles, and that’s who we want to be like. I’m just trying to point out how empty people have let their lives become and that we need to change that.”

My hope is just to open people’s eyes

“[The music] didn’t hit me the way I thought it would,” said senior Lydia Cisco, who attended the album release event. “I thought it was interesting the way that the artist was seeking to find something that everyone could relate to and something everyone could resonate with in some way.”

“I really like the artistic expressions that he made with the lyrics he wrote and the artwork and the music,” said senior Eunice Awoniyi. “It’s just very creative, and I think it informs people about a lot of different things that are going on right now and about his life.”

Cook’s style is “Lo-Soul.” “Like Lo-Fi rock made in a garage or something, but it’s soul in the vein of Marvin Gaye or Frank Ocean,” said Cook. The album is now available on Apple Music and Spotify.

“Race is something I don’t think has been given a proper platform here on campus, and maybe this art can open the door,” he said of what he wants students to know about his album. “It may not be a pretty conversation where you can drink coffee and laugh about it, but it needs to happen regardless.”