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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

VH New Music Fridays: An interview with Nashville’s Brett Koolik

We sat down with Vandy alum and musician Brett Koolik for an inside preview on the next chapter of his music career.
Sophie Edelman
Happy New Music Friday! We spoke with Vandy alum Brett Koolik.

After graduating from Vanderbilt in 2021 with a biomedical engineering degree, Brett Koolik began studying for the MCAT. However, after reading the first passage of the prep textbook, Koolik started to think that maybe becoming a doctor wasn’t for him. Instead of sticking to this original plan, Koolik decided to make his life-long love and hobby—music—into his full-time career. 

“It’s funny…I never thought that I was going to do music. It was always something I just did in college. But I was looking back at an old yearbook from kindergarten, where I had been asked ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ and I said ‘a rockstar,’ so I’m chasing the dream,” Koolik said. 

After playing classical piano for almost the entirety of his life, and casually producing music in college, Koolik has finally committed to producing, writing and singing full time. His most recent release “Double Take,” a fun, upbeat and funky pop song, reflects his casual approach to life.

“It’s a feel-good,” Koolik said. “You can really do anything to that song.” 

In the near future, however, listeners and fans will hear a different side of Koolik, upon release of his debut EP. The inspiration behind this collection of songs is a recent trip that he took to Montana. 

“I was in a cabin for a week, and it was a really crazy experience just being isolated with my friend, far away from everything else. I was inspired by [Montana’s] beauty and peacefulness,” Koolik said. 

He also noted that he created this body of work much more for himself, rather than for the confines and expectations of radio.

“I had so much fun making these songs, so I just want people to have fun listening to them,” Koolik said. “Hopefully everyone will have their own deeper interpretation of these songs, but I just kind of focus on enjoying making the songs as much as possible, and I hope that that translates to the listener.”

When he isn’t writing and singing his own music, he’s doing the same for others.

“I want to pursue music for the rest of my life for sure, but I’m not sure exactly in what capacity,” Koolik said. “I find writing and producing for other people just as fun.”

In his experience, Nashville has certainly lived up to the nickname “The Music City.” 

“It’s the craziest thing ever. I was at Panera today, and I overheard people saying they needed more pop writers, and I sent my information over to them, and they got back to me with an artist that might be a good fit—this wouldn’t happen anywhere else,” Koolik said.

Alongside prepping for his debut release, Koolik hopes to begin performing his work live and hopefully seal a publishing deal. In the meantime, keep yourself up to speed with his work and new releases by visiting his website, Spotify or Instagram. 

For the biomedical engineers still struggling with the latest chem lab, it might be time to take a page from Koolik and reflect on some of those elementary school dreams.

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About the Contributors
Charlotte Edmunds, Former Staff Writer
Charlotte Edmunds ('22) can be reached at [email protected].
Sophie Edelman
Sophie Edelman, Former Staff Writer
Sophie Edelman (‘24) is studying cognitive, child and educational studies in Peabody College. As the former Music Correspondent, she is passionate about expanding coverage of local musicians and performances. She loves fish tacos, thrifting and working at Vanderbilt’s Acorn School! She can be contacted at [email protected].
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