Pursuing one’s passion is often at odds with academic commitments but Callum Clark, known professionally as CJC, has struck a balance between both worlds.
For Clark, the rhythm of life beats not only in lecture halls but also resounds through his profound love for music. Trying to balance a demanding schedule while starting up a business in the music industry has been no easy task.
Although it’s a challenge, he and his project partner, Nate Aldworth, have embraced it passionately, proving that unwavering commitment and dedication can lead to a balance between education and pursuing one’s interests.
With this, Yeo Records and the Lucid Project were born as testaments to Callum’s entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to supporting artists’ endeavours while also carving out his own musical path.
These projects began as a casual exploration of music during COVID, and what initially seemed like a passing phase slowly transformed into a significant part of Callum’s life.
“The more we did it, the more we realized, hang on a second, we’re actually getting somewhere. We’re really enjoying it. So, over the course of time, we took it more and more seriously,” said Clark.
This transition from a casual pastime to label manager, student and artist has not diminished the quality of his work
Instead, it has become the catalyst to perfecting his craft despite his academic and personal commitments.
“His work ethic is second to none. He does distribution, marketing, all that. Without him, we wouldn’t be anything,” said Aldworth.
With Callum’s leadership, Yeo Records quickly transcended their duo project, now orchestrating not only collaborative ventures but also fostering the personal musical ambitions of other artists.
“We stopped doing that duo project. It was just a fun little pastime, but now it’s blown up into its own thing,” said Aldworth.
Currently, Yeo Records has grown to house a plethora of artists varying in genres, such as ChampyG, Embis and 44RON.
However, becoming a label owner has taught him that being an artist is not just about music; it’s about a robust teamwork ethic that permeates his artistic ventures. He strives to create a collaborative environment where artists get to have more of a say over their work.
“The record label industry for a lot of years has been the label rips off the artists. They make a ridiculous amount of money; then artists have horrible contracts and deals that they can’t walk away from. That alone is why we kept doing new records because we believe in giving the small artist a chance,” said Clark.
Navigating the whirlwind of these different worlds and their obligations can be daunting, but Callum approaches this challenge with a blend of pragmatism and enthusiasm.
Many college students struggle to manage their time. However, Callum has found a way to change his schedule from “squeezing in” his passion for music amid a bustling academic schedule, to intertwining the two as complementary parts of his life.
Unlike many creative professionals, Callum does not set specific project deadlines, preventing unnecessary pressures that often stifle innovation. Rather than forcing ideas or inspiration to flow, he embraces flexibility as a cornerstone of his approach.
With his intuitive approach to productivity, Callum has found success in navigating the rigorous waters of academia without sacrificing his artistic goals.
“The hardest thing is to find time because we only have a finite amount of time in our day. The only thing you cannot replenish is time. So my way of growing changes, depending on how much of a goal I need, to do it one thing to another,” said Clark.
By replacing a rigid schedule with a natural flow of work and rest, Callum finds himself able to balance his education and career and have a personal life.
Though Callum pensively acknowledges that the road to balancing academic responsibilities, creative passions, and entrepreneurship is not devoid of challenges, self-discipline helps immensely.
“While it’s good to listen to your body and not over-push yourself, there are also times when you need to get [stuff] done, and if you don’t get things done, then you’re never going to accomplish anything. So, having really good willpower is probably the key,” said Clark.
Despite his struggles, he continues to push forward, turning a COVID pastime into a career.
As he aims to continue growing as both an artist and manager he is also working to provide smaller artists with a label that will benefit them and their art. He expresses the importance of patience and willpower for others starting out in music or even looking to balance any career with an education.
“If you love what you’re doing, you’ll find a way to do it,” he says.