Norman Urbanek, who performs under the name Ayo Norm, is a third-year studying environmental technology and management who recently released an album titled “Stand” on Bandcamp and later released the album on Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, etc. Urbanek has dedicated the album to the Black Lives Matter movement and is donating the proceeds of the album to the movement.
Urbanek talked with Technician about this album and his inspiration behind it.
Technician: Tell me a little bit about “Stand” and the inspiration behind it.
Urbanek: Stand is a little 10 song beat tape. I like to call them beat tapes. I’ve made a couple in the past of just chill beats that I put together because I know a lot of my friends like to study to it. That’s kind of my goal of putting them out. With “Stand,” I wanted to support the protests that were going on across the country and across the world, and I didn’t feel comfortable being out there physically. I take care of a lot of a family, and I didn’t want to risk getting COVID. I decided that I would put out the tapes like I normally do, and I would donate the proceeds to different bail funds across the state. Depending on how big the traction got, I might go nationwide, but I was focused on the state.
I didn’t really change up the content within the tapes. My goal wasn’t to make it a protest album. It was more just something you could listen to while you were in quarantine, but it’s dedicated to the protest, because that was my goal.
T: How do you normally go about making these tapes?
U: With “Stand,” I did something different than I normally would. I make beats often. I try to make one every day. I just make them and compile ones that fit together and put it out as a project. Normally I just upload them to Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, the regular stores that are available to me.
With “Stand,” I wanted people to be able to donate, so in addition to uploading that album to the streaming platforms, I also used Bandcamp because it enables artists to sell their albums or their songs more directly than you would through the Google Play store or something like that. I chose Bandcamp, and then, probably two weeks after, I uploaded it to Spotify and all the other platforms. The same rules apply: I dedicated all of the donations from the album straight to bail funds, and I’ve also committed all of the earnings that I’m making from streams to bail funds as well.
T: Do you feel like NC State has had a role in your path of pursuing music? I know you mentioned you like to make tapes for your friends to study to.
U: I wouldn’t necessarily say that. I’ve always had a taste for music. In high school and middle school, I played in the band, but once I got into college, I was able to learn the software that I use, FL Studio, through my roommate. From there, I’ve been teasing with it on the side. With luck of finding people who are also interested in music, you get more inspiration. When it comes to putting the tapes out, I like to focus on chill things, because it’s easier to listen to than if I put out a whole tape that’s nothing but really energetic, hard music. I don’t think it fits my personality to put out something that’s high energy all of the time.
T:Is there anything else you want to add?
U: See how you can get involved if you’re interested in getting involved. Stream the music if you can’t go out to an actual protest. Find something you can stream. There’s a lot of links and videos going around that all the ad revenue is donated to whatever organization. If you’re in quarantine and you don’t want to go outside, there’s ways you can help out without physically being present.