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Inside the Mind of CALYPSO

By Jennifer Ward

Persistent, passionate, and productive. Those are just a few of the words used to describe Purchase freshman, Gordon Conner, a studio composition major slowly beginning a music career and, in turn, beginning to make a name for themselves.

As a Trenton, New Jersey native, Conner grew up constantly surrounded by music for their entire childhood; their mom was even a musician herself, and their dad was a street artist. While being constantly surrounded by music and creativity, no surprise that Conner turned out to be a performer themselves.

“Having that upbringing and talent that my mom passed on to me, how can I not take advantage of that?” Conner said.

“They’re so prolific, which is something that is so admirable to me,” said Frida Rahmani, a freshman cello performance major. “They’re someone who makes people feel very comfortable when around them.”

Since 2020, Conner has been releasing music to the public on streaming platforms using the stage name CALYPSO. Their first single released was titled “Tear It All Down” and is currently at over 180,000 streams on Spotify, helping them reach over 15,000 monthly listeners from all over the globe.

A red figure on top of a black background. In the middle of the picture the word "Creature" is posted in creepy red font. The artist's name, CALYPSO, is printed in the bottom left corner.
"Creature" ablum cover (Photo by Gordon Conner)

“‘Tear It All Down’ was the first song that I ever fully released, ‘mixed’, and ‘mastered’. I’m putting that in quotation marks because I truly had no idea what I was doing,” Conner said. “People like it, so that’s good! It’s not like it’s painful to the ears or anything.”

Since then, Conner has released multiple singles and an album. Their most recent single, “The Exorcist,” came out on April 17.

“Their music is like when you drink the water in your bed next to your nightstand, but it’s actually Sprite,” said Emmett Kelly, a Purchase freshman. “You listen to the song, and you see the cover art. You maybe have a different idea and maybe the idea will connect or be similar to how water is to Sprite, but it has a lot more spice than I think anybody is expecting.”

“Gordon really pops out with very sophisticated types of production and general passion,” Kelly continued. “Just a surprise to most people. You expect one thing, but the way that they do it shows that they have a very general creative mind. It’s very much adored, especially by me.”

Both Rahmani and Kelly have been featured in Conner’s debut album, "Creature," released Dec. 6, 2021, in their own respective collabs.

“Every person I’ve recorded with has done such a good job, I don’t think the album would be what it is without the people I’ve collaborated with,” said Conner.

Conner releases music under a self-described, “horror-pop” genre. They pride themselves on the fact that they are able to release music that is able to speak on real-life issues in the world, particularly ones that they relate to.

“Yes, what I sing about is hateful, but it doesn’t come from nowhere. I’m angry in my shit because I have a reason to be,” said Conner. “I only should speak on issues that affect me because I would never want to talk over people if there’s an issue that has quite literally nothing to do with me.”

They hope to use their platform not only for music but also to highlight important matters that mean a lot to them.

“I feel what I’m feeling when I feel it and I write about that,” Conner said. “I really don’t hide my lyrics in flowery language. I’ll use some sort of language to convey the theme of what I’m going for but I’m not shy about what I write about.”

Conner is consistently described by those close to them as someone who is passionate and knows what they want. According to their peers and friends, they are someone who is not only great at what they do but who also remains humble while doing it.

“Just the overall themes of their songs, concepts, writing a whole bunch in their notebook, their little doodles, the tracklist: there is a very direct passion needed to do something like that,” Kelly said.

With their music having such a unique sound, it allows them to stand out from other artists out there, especially mainstream ones. “It’s the music you would hear during a Halloween party. It’s like themed music in the coolest way. It very clearly puts an image in your head,” said Rahmani.

While drawing inspiration from video game soundtracks and from artists such as Melanie Martinez and Ashnikko, Conner’s music stays particular to them.

“Usually when people ask for inspiration, having musical talent in my family, hating the world we live in, and listening to artists sing about the type of stuff that I want to sing about,” said Conner.

While some may feel annoyed about a slow rise in streams and followers, Conner feels the opposite. There’s something in it that keeps you humble. A person DMs you and it just makes your day,” said Conner. “I feel if there was a super sudden rise then there would be voices that you may not notice. I’m appreciating every single person that reaches out to me and lets me know how much they love my stuff which makes my cold heart explode.”

Conner with their face and upper body painted red. They have fierce white-blue contacts in and have painted the outline of their cheekbones, collar bones, and similar details in black.
Conner in scare make-up (Photo by Gordan Conner)

Music is not the only one of Conner’s passions. Scare acting, like when costumed people in haunted houses or at fright nights will jump out at patrons, is also something that they remain passionate about. The way that they present themselves with their outfits and make-up is what draws attention to them, their personality is what captures it.

“Gordon stood out to me very quickly with those neon purple platform boots,” said Rahmani. It seems they’re very sure of themselves. Like how they present themselves, everything they’re going for, their image. They really know.”

With a steadily rising career, Conner admits that they don’t want to put projections on where they are going to end up in the future, and instead just want to see where life takes them.

"I have no fucking idea where I’m going to end up to be completely honest,” said Conner. “I feel if you have a set plan, and something goes wrong it’s like ‘shit, what do I do now?’ I want to be hopeful.”

You can stream Conner’s music, including their new single “The Exorcist” on all platforms. Updates about their creative projects can be found on their Instagram @lunar.calyps .

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