Summer 2022 Alumni Highlight Article
Some people stumble upon music, others seek it out in each part of life. Zach Collier falls into the second category. In the past year he has released two EPs, “The Graduate” as a solo production and “Rue de Paris Sessions” with his band, Michael Barrow & The Tourists.
Collier described his EP, “The Graduate,” as a self-specific project. He had been working on it since his time at BYU. The third song “I’m Not Any Better” began as his Capstone project before graduating with his Bachelor of Arts in Commercial Music in 2018.
Creating “The Graduate” was something Collier said he really enjoyed but that he prefers to collaborate with a group. Making music with a group has given him confidence and has connected him with one of his greatest supporters, he said.
Trevor Harmon, a former guitarist for Michael Barrow & The Tourists, the band Collier is a part of, has encouraged him to produce “The Graduate.” Collier said that Harmon would call and check-in to help hold him accountable in the process of making it.
Producing an album is a consuming process so it is necessary to manage time well. Collier said that he groups tasks into “time chunks.” He sets a certain amount of time for each job and responsibility. This organization is necessary as his work includes being the co-founder and editor of Provo Music Magazine, internal communications coordinator for the college of engineering at BYU, producing his EP, being a member of Michael Barrow & The Tourists, and a husband and father.
As a member of a band, Collier has had the opportunity to perform live and in a recording studio. When playing in a recording studio, Collier said the process is very methodical and thoughtful. However, he said that performing live is exhilarating and he’s able to feed off the energy of the crowd.
There is a lot of work that goes into performing live, especially because Collier’s band recently returned from going on tour. Collier said that it takes a lot of courage and you have to prepare so it feels natural on stage.
There is an Italian word that a friend of Collier’s shared with him that connects with wanting your performance to feel effortless. Sprezzatura. Collier said his friend described it as “planned spontaneity.”
He explained, “it's about practicing so much that you don't make mistakes. Making excellence a habit helps your performances feel effortless and fun instead of stilted and rehearsed.” Having courage and solid preparation are lessons Collier said he has learned through many years of creating music.
Collier said he believes music is inherently collaborative, we need each other to make music. The last take away Collier said he learned is that “everybody's good at something and everybody sucks at something, but everyone has something to offer.”