In conversation with Rory Sturgeon: The Exeter student making music from his uni room

He’s recently taken inspo from Tom Misch and Loyle Carner

As Exeter Uni students, we all have our own hobbies and interests. For most of us, that involves one too many Venoms on a TP Wednesday and swiftly regretting it the day after during your 8:30am (if you even make it that far). But, for the very few of us, we actually use our talents for something worthwhile. I’m sorry, but no, seeing how many wines you can do before you chun doesn’t count (apologies to the hockey and rugby students). Also, I hate to break it to you, but getting through a vape a day isn’t quite the skill that employers are looking for. Instead, I present to you: Rory Sturgeon, a music artist currently studying at Exeter.

Despite being in his third year of modern languages (and currently doing a year abroad), Rory also finds time to write songs from his room in Valencia and shares them with his 16.8k TikTok followers. Combining his love of music with his personal experiences, he’s written a lot of his songs about the struggles of growing up, and he also revealed that he has some unreleased songs about his girlfriend, Odette, who he met on the second day of first year (awww).

Speaking to The Tab Exeter, he told us that: “I started writing little songs when I was 18, but properly got into it when I came to uni (so, when I was 19 because I had a gap year). I’ve been writing and producing music for the last six months so I’m releasing a bunch of new things that I’ve produced and written all from my uni room.”

When asked about his inspiration for his music, Rory said he’s gone through a lot of different phases. He said: “When I first started writing, I was listening to lots of Mac Miller, Frank Ocean, Easy Life, and Tyler the Creator. Now, I listen to something new every single day. Most recently, I’d say that I’ve taken lots of inspiration from Tom Misch, Loyle Carner and more jazz stuff as well as some hip hop.”

In terms of a career in music after he graduates in 2025, Rory said that: “Long-term I’d love to have it as my job (whether that be full-time or part-time). I don’t know exactly how it will work out but I want it to always be something I do in my life. I’d love to have my degree thrown in with my music, so my dream is to live in Spain and own a music studio, working on my own music as well as with other artists, and playing in venues out there and all over the world.”

He continued that he’s received a lot of support and said that TikTok is a big part of his success: “My family and friends are always so, so supportive but to be honest it’s the people on TikTok that make it. I’ll get random messages from people saying how much a song means to them, and it makes my day! All the songs I write are personal to me, but whenever I get messages from other people saying they relate to it, that’s the reason I do it – to write songs that other people can relate to.”

Rory will be returning to Exeter for his fourth year this September and so we asked for his opinions on key aspects of an Exetah student’s life. This is what he said:

His favourite Exeter club? Rory said: “It has to be TP – TP Wednesdays if we are being more specific. I do athletics at uni so sports nights are always the best!”

And what about his favourite Exeter coffee spot? “It’s a rogue choice but I would often go to Artigiano if I had a lot of work to do. It’s good coffee AND good vibes in there.”

Rory’s favourite Exeter takeaway is Efes: “Definitely Efes. The boxes are just what you need after a night in TP. It’s not too expensive and it always hits right.

His most favourite part about Exeter are his mates. He said: “The group of people I have met here and the sports societies – training and socials are a highlight of my week.”

And finally, Rory’s least favourite part about Exeter are those early morning starts: “8:30am seminars. I will never understand why that’s a thing. I’d also love for there to be a society for producers or people who make their own music to find like-minded people!” (Exeter does have Beats and Bass society or Campus Bands – but perhaps there needs to be something for individual artists in different genres).

Rory’s new song, Beautiful Dreamer, is being released on Friday 19th Jan and you can pre-save it here.

You can find more of his music on Spotify @Rory Sturgeon, TikTok @rorysturgeon, and Instagram @rory_sturgeon

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