Freshman Christopher Murphy, also known by his stage name “Khari Levard,” has been pursuing the one thing he’s dreamed about since eighth grade — his music career.  Though there was a time when he dreamed of being a professional athlete, he realized his real passion was for music, with or without the fans. 

“If there was no incentives for making music I feel like I would still love to do it. But I feel like as far as sports, I only love to do it because people are watching,” Murphy said. “I look at that as having more passion for music than sports.”

Murphy, like many other student creators on campus, is following his passion through content creation. Becoming a recording artist is his dream, but it all starts with what Elon has to offer. Students around campus run small businesses, make music, choreograph dances and more to follow their dreams or work toward setting themselves up for a brighter future. 

Perfecting his craft

In eighth grade Murphy’s friend Daelon Carr, who goes by the stage name “Deezy,” told him he was good at lyrical writing and then rapping them. Before he knew it, Murphy was making music with Deezy, which then began his music career. 

Murphy draws inspiration for his music from J.Cole. Murphy studies his music and the production that goes into it to learn and shape his craft.

“I use that as motivation and put it in my own form, but every now and then I guess you can kind of see a little bit of his inspiration in my music,” Murphy said. 

A music production and recording arts major, Murphy said school work sometimes interferes with his music creation, but other times it helps him learn more about the art. 

“There's other times where I have to do work for school with classes and it's not like that is work to me,” Murphy said.“It's just like doing what I love.”

Running a business

Freshman Lucy Horn started her business during quarantine when she saw other sellers make large profits off of her own purchases on Instagram. She began with reselling thrifted clothes, but now makes her own products. 

Horn sells sweatshirts and tote bags with original designs printed onto the material with a Cricut. She creates the designs, prints them out and adheres them to the product.

“I started kicking it up and started making a pretty good amount of money,” Horn said. “Then once I did start making my own things, the amount that I was bringing in probably tripled … last year I think I made about $20,000.”

According to ZipRecruiter, the average small business owner salary for North Carolina is $45,748, which Horn makes about half that amount. 

Though her business keeps her busy, Horn prioritizes her academics, where she puts on her  “vacation mode” to put school first.  

“If it comes down to having to talk to a customer and tell them that I will not be able to complete it on time, and that I'm willing to give them a refund or send them another sweatshirt, I’m more willing to do that than I am to miss something for school,” Horn said.

Engaging as an artist

Students who place orders from Horn can receive free campus delivery as a way to engage more with the Elon community. Murphy, on the other hand, said he doesn’t advertise his music much on campus. 

“I have a couple of people here on campus that know about me making music. I’m kind of a quiet guy so I don’t really tell too many people,” Murphy said. “I would like to expand my fan base a little bit.”

Murphy finds inspiration in the world around him and takes a few months to brainstorm the lyrics for his songs. He said he will think of what to write for a while then will sit down and write the whole song at once.

"A lot of my ideas come from what I see, what is around me, what I find interesting,” Murphy said. “If there are certain feelings or things that I'm going through, that's where a lot of my inspiration for writing comes from."