Sociology freshman Nesrine Majzoub performed this past Wednesday as part of the Associated Students, Inc. acoustic series.
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It was a typical Wednesday in the downstairs of the University Union (UU). Students were rushing to get to class. Some were waiting in a 50-something person Starbucks line. Others were doing homework with friends. Then something happened that broke routine. A few guitar chords hung in the air and sociology freshman Nesrine Majzoub (Nesrine Faith is her stage name) opened her mouth to sing.
It was the start of the Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) acoustic series, a three-part event that features student musicians playing two-hour sets throughout the quarter next to the Starbucks in the UU. The acoustic series gives students a chance to play their music in front of a campus audience and also adds to the coffee-shop ambiance of the UU.
“It is hard when you are first starting out in the music scene because you don’t always know where to start, but once you have initial exposure, I think it makes it a little bit easier,” Majzoub said.
Students passing by stopped to watch Nesrine Faith sing during breaks between classes and work. Some only stayed a few minutes, while others took a seat and watched the whole set. Philosophy freshman Alea Grundler heard the music that filtered up to the upstairs of the UU and wandered down to check it out.
“What is so cool about it is that Nesrine was in my cultural geography class last quarter, and we would sit next to each other every day and talk about social justice and human rights, and she is a fascinating person,” Grundler said. “I came down to the UU and thought that someone had a beautiful voice, and then I realized it was her. I didn’t even know she sang.”
Not only did Grundler like Mazjoub’s music specifically, but also the idea of student performances in the UU.
“I am really pleased that there is live music inside the UU,” Grundler said. “It’s cool. I don’t think they have done that before.”
While it was Majzoub’s voice that drew in Grundler, there were other contributors to the music. Majzoub performed with four other student musicians she met in her residence hall. Aerospace engineering freshman Zack Davis played harmonica and keyboard.
“Poly does a really good job at grouping people based on their interests, at least for us,” Davis said. “Ours is music themed, the ‘resonate tower.’”
The first time Majzoub met the friends who helped her in this live performance, they had a huge jam session with several people in their tower. This was the first time they have all performed together publicly.
“I think our musical tastes overlap a little bit, but we all have our specific styles,” Majzoub said. “We all bring different styles to the table, which I really like. I have always wanted to play with a band and have more energy, so this was really fun. I am really happy these guys were able to help me out.”
Mazjoub and company played mostly her own original songs and a few covers ranging from recent songs to classics.
“‘Feeling Good’ was my favorite, because it went really well with all of the instruments we were playing,” Majzoub said. “There is only so much you can do with so little space and acoustically based instruments, but that one really worked. It was kind of a nice switch because most of the songs we played were written by me, and I love playing songs that I have written, but it’s cool to switch it up.”
A few songs were from her recently released EP, “The Summer in Between,” that she recorded before starting her first quarter at Cal Poly this past September.
“I purposefully didn’t play some of the songs on the EP, because if people wanted to go buy it, they would be surprised,” Majzoub said. “I also wanted to try out some songs that I haven’t played before. Most of the songs that were included in the set today I haven’t played for many people.”
Majzoub has been writing music for as long as she can remember, before she started playing musical instruments.
“I have been writing music before I even knew how to read music, which made for some really awkward songs from a fifth grader,” she said. “But, I mean, it has eventually developed.”
She comes up with her lyrics based on her own personal experiences she wants to share with others. In fact, many times throughout her performance, she invited people to come up and talk with her after the show because she wanted to get to know them and connect.
“I think it is one of the greatest feelings when you realize, through music, that somebody else is feeling the same thing as you,” she said. “When you hear a song on the radio and you say ‘Wow, that is exactly how I feel.’ I love that — being able to resonate with other people and be able to connect to people in ways that normally wouldn’t happen.”