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UT Austin student finds the balance between school and making music

'I went straight from, like, never having even recorded a single song to try to make an entire song,' says Coleman Jennings, who's now working on an acoustic album.
Tyler Stubblefield
'I went straight from, like, never having even recorded a single song to try to make an entire song,' says Coleman Jennings, who's now working on an acoustic album.

Coleman Jennings is a full-time college student by day and a country artist by night in the Live Music Capital of the World.

Jennings was born in New York and lived in Connecticut until he was about 7 before moving to Texas, and he’s called Austin his home ever since. His love for music started with his mom and singing in choirs.

“So my mother was on a sort of off-Broadway sort of thing, so she was very musical, artistic,” Jennings, said. “Since I was very young, she had my sister and me take vocal lessons.”

At the end of his sophomore year, he started a band with a former cover group, dubbing themselves Coleman Jennings and the Roaddogs. Jennings spent the summer of 2022 making five or six songs and driving back and forth from Dripping Springs to Austin – writing, composing and producing every song on their EP, “Know No Leash.” He said every part of the process was new to him.

“I went straight from, like, never having even recorded a single song to try to make an entire song,” Jennings said. “And produced with all instruments and figuring it out and doing it the right way and making it sound good.”

Many have asked Jennings about the inspiration behind the EP’s leading song, “Caroline.”

“It’s not really about anybody in particular; it’s just that I thought Caroline was a great name. It’s a phonetically good name for a chorus, for lyrics in general,” Jennings said. “I just wanted to write a song about maybe a couple that I envisioned in my mind or something.”

The work has been well-received around Austin – which poses a bit of a challenge for a full-time college student. Jennings, an English major at the University of Texas at Austin, has found himself balancing college classes with performing and missing whole days to go to the studio.

“It’s never been too much of an issue, and I can do my schoolwork, I can work at it, and then I can still have the time to do everything else,” Jennings said. “I will say the biggest issue has been absences. I’ve missed quite a lot of class.”

Coleman Jennings and the Roaddogs are usually at tailgates, small music venues, fundraisers and Greek life events. They’ve gained some fans – particularly UT students like Robert Gonsoulin.

“My favorite memory about the event was just Coleman and his band talking to the audience as we were listening to his performance, interacting with us,” Gonsoulin said.

Sam Seifert, a music manager who helps manage Asleep at the Wheel and other acts, has also advised other young artists.

“It’s about just being as creative as possible all the time and using all of these new mediums and outlets that are free and available to showcase yourself, and as long as you keep showcasing yourself, whether it’s the internet or live performance,” Seifert said.

Up next in Jennings’ music industry journey is an acoustic album to be released soon. He said all he wants to do is write songs he believes in, which he hopes can make the world a better place.

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