Ceez The World!
Chris Hearn is from Columbus, Ohio and most wildly known for creating music under the name CEEZAR.
CEEZAR has spent the last four years in New York City studying music business at the Steinhardt School of NYU. There he also minored in religious studies. While enrolled in school, he’s worked for Sony, interned for FADER, served on the student government and more.
His collegiate career ended in the spring of 2018 with the great honor of being selected as the student commencement speaker.
He credits ONLY God for taking him from the North Side of Columbus and putting him behind the podium at Yankee Stadium for the prestigious commencement ceremony.
FPM caught up with CEEZAR to talk ask him about his college career, his next steps, and what it was like to be selected as class speaker.
Why did you select NYU?
I’m a hip-hop artist, and had a great time releasing music and doing shows in Columbus up through high school. But of course, school is something I’ve done well with throughout my life also. And I really wanted to go somewhere where I could develop my artistry and my intellect as much as possible, and NYU is that. A very high-level academic institution that’s in the middle of the most vibrant creative city in the world. Perfect fit.
Did you enjoy your college experience and why?
I definitely enjoyed it. Largely for some of the reasons I listed in the previous question, but more so because of the challenges I’ve faced. To be real, if I knew the challenges I would’ve faced at NYU, I would have been very hesitant to come. But if I didn’t come here, I would be nowhere near as powerful as I am now. This road was TOUGH. Very, very difficult. But I was rewarded so much throughout. I was given access, friends, resources, and experiences. Now I understand why they say “if you can make it in NYC, you can make it anywhere”.
Anything that you think the people should know that you’ve been up to, since being in school? Any big career moves or achievements?
There are of course so many things that have happened in my time here. Different things I’ve been working on or things I’ve become involved with. Too much to list everything. I’ve been focusing mainly on community building though, and of course being a creative in general. A lot of the same tactics or thought processes I use to get people to attend an artist pop up are used to get people to come to meetings and programs. From my work at Sony as a college marketing representative, to my role in NYU student government as director of diversity, to the music I create and share as CEEZAR, my main focus is to create spaces where people can gain the resources they need and use them to build with each other.
This is one of the dopest projects I’ve had the chance to work on with SONY. @crtfdclassics and @steverifkind are celebrating the 25 year anniversary of one of hip hop’s classic labels. Starting with this giveaway. Click this link to enter https://t.co/C7zwVvaAkZ pic.twitter.com/ru7RbCwpBl
— Chris (@CEEZtheworld) May 13, 2018
How did you get selected to be speaker?
Mannnn, they truly showed me love. God blessed me. But the formal process started with each school selecting a representative to put up for consideration. My school chose me, the business school, chose someone, the college of arts and sciences chose someone, and so on. From there, the university selection committee (composed of administrators from across NYU) looked over all of our profiles. Grades, involvement, recommendations, etc… Then they selected four top candidates and called us all in to interview. After this, the chose the final person to be the student speaker. Me.
How did you react when you found out?
Dawg. I was at my internship at The Fader, at a table with other interns and our supervisors, and I refreshed my email. As soon as I saw that I was picked, I took the deepest breath ever and of course was smiling mad hard and just leaned back in my seat, kind of in shock. I didn’t want to make a scene because I wanted my mom to be the first one I told, so maybe 5 minutes later I went to lunch and called her and told her. And from there the news spread.
— Chris (@CEEZtheworld) May 12, 2018
How are you feeling right now? What’s your mind like?
I feel strong. I feel like I made it out of the wilderness after my 40 days and 40 nights. I really want to test my strength though. Of course, coming out of school and adjusting to life is a big enough challenge. But I want to find constructive ways to challenge myself to continue this growth that school has previously provided the environment for. I’m ready to relax. My life in college became progressively busier. During senior year, my schedule was full from about 8:30a to 9p, and that didn’t include study time at all or my job at Sony. So I’m looking really forward to having the opportunity to just sit in my apartment and watch Netflix or go somewhere and chill. I think my general feeling is excitement. Excited to see how my life will change, and excited to see what I’m capable of. I also really want to spend time with my family. We have so many little cousins, and I have a godson. A lot of people whose lives I really want to be involved in.
What’s next for you?
I just placed my deposit for an apartment in Harlem, so I’ll be in NYC for the next year. I’ll be working in the music business still. Marketing, event production, brand partnerships. I’m still deciding which company is the best fit. I’m SO excited to work on and release new music. I’m very excited to be the best. I have time now and have all intentions to reach my highest level creatively. I have songs ready and they will be releasing very soon. I also have some event and business ideas I’m excited to have the time to work on. And painting. That’s what I see going on in the short-term future.
Said that we got a lot on the way and I meant it. Graduation isn’t the only thing I’m looking forward to in May. #justintime #ceeztheworld #getthismoneyisalreadyout #imightdosomethingandnotannounceit pic.twitter.com/Fwf1xQPABZ
— Chris (@CEEZtheworld) April 15, 2018
Any special shout outs you want to give?
My mom, God, my family. Of course Columbus, Ohio and all the people in it who have inspired me and supported me. The city has given me so many reasons to be proud to claim it. Northside. And to the people at NYU who made space for me and poured into me.
Is there anything else that I didn’t ask that you want to say?
I just want whoever’s reading this to know how grateful I am for what’s happening and that that’s been the key to my blessings. I have a lot of cool plans that involve everyone and I can’t wait to place myself back into the things happening in the city. You can do anything you want. Determine your own value. Cavs in 3.
Keep up with CEEZAR on all social media at @ceeztheworld and check out his site: www.ceeztheworld.com