Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Students with UTalent Records share their hopes for the new year

Teagan Jensen

In a city like Austin, with endless creative avenues, college offers fresh experiences and opportunities. For freshmen Luis Hernandez and Sanni Sari, pursuing music with UTalent Records, a student-run record label, seemed obvious. 

While Hernandez and Sari pursue different sounds and genres of music, they share a common passion that started during childhood. Sari started studying piano in Europe before moving to America, where she took lessons at Rice University to become a classically-trained pianist.

“When I was five, my mom gifted me an electric piano for my birthday. I started improvising on it,” said Sari, who grew up in Finland. “I improvised “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” and she was impressed that I could do that.”

Hernandez, who hails from the Rio Grande Valley, said he taught himself how to play guitar and sing, gaining experience performing at local restaurants. 

“Before UTalent, I already had a pretty big basis on my music and my music career,” Hernandez said. “But moving to another city (like Austin) is a very different experience.”

Hannah Jackson, president of UTalent Records, said when the label first began, it focused more on learning about the music industry and hosting guest speakers rather than supporting artists. But in recent years, she said their work shifted toward helping student artists like Hernandez and Sari create projects and put themselves out there through performances and marketing. 

“One of the biggest things new for this year is the artist roadmap,” Jackson said. “We’re covering what it means to develop your brand identity and defining the scope of your project.”

The label tasks signed artists with creating a project, typically an EP, and members of the label help artists in a certain capacity. For example, the label manages a street team of student artists who consult students like Hernandez and Sari on creative aspects, including photography, graphic design and even the production of their original music.

“It not only helps the artists themselves that are wanting to put out music, but it also helps students who are looking to get experience,” Jackson said. 

While both follow their music-making dreams, the pair said they found it essential to study something more career-oriented. Hernandez studies speech, language and hearing sciences, and Sari majors in business, but both say that pursuing music full-time remains a priority.

“I ended up going to UT because I knew that music might not happen for me as a career,” Hernandez said. “I have plans on studying something more solid that I can find a job in … (but) I’ve worked really hard on my music, and I can see that I’ve reaped the benefits from it.”

Hernandez and Sari said they feel optimistic about their future goals in the music industry as they prepare to release music in the coming year.

“I wouldn’t need to be number one as long as I sense that my music completes me,” Hernandez said. 

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