Nerves were high for Nick Najarian, a sophomore communication and media studies major and local musician, as he prepared tirelessly throughout the week for his first live acoustic performance on Montclair State University’s acclaimed radio station WMSC.
This was the first showing of WMSC “Unplugged” of the semester, which aims to gather musicians and songwriters ranging from the local campus community to, hopefully, one-day touring acts that often get airtime on the radio’s programming.
Programming and engineering director Nate Williams, a senior communication and media arts major, notes the inception of the show.
“This was actually an idea that our production director, Chaz Campbell, had,” Williams said. “I always wanted to do a show like this, but [Campbell] helped bring it to life. It’s all come together to make this wonderful space where we can showcase local talent, such as [Najarian], and I hope it continues after I graduate.”
Najarian, as mentioned, set the stage for others to follow as the first act to take the airways. He played a set of eight songs ranging from covers of artists like Weezer and David Bowie, as well as his own independently written songs.
As the first musical guest of the show, Najarian felt the experience was humbling.
“I was definitely honored and really privileged, but with that came a lot of stakes,” Najarian said. “How was I [going to] set a good impression for others to follow? I was very nervous throughout the process, but eventually, I definitely came into my own.”
Needless to say, he made the most of his opportunity by simply having a great time and masking whatever nerves he had with ease and grace. He made jokes, did impressions and even brought props for his cover of Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” which he made uniquely personal in a way that would make Sir Elton himself proud.
Najarian hopes this show becomes a good starting point for people to find their calling.
“I think it’s very inspiring that WMSC wants to have a platform for smaller artists to debut their skills in front of a large audience,” Najarian said. “It’s a great thing for local musicians here on campus since there are so many of us.”
The show will continue to air in the future as more musical guests are curated and scheduled, but until then WMSC has tons of other programming produced by student voices that can be reached via iHeart Radio, their website or more traditionally, via 90.3 on the dial of the radio in your car.