Prepared to Prepare: Rod Kim Talks About Transitioning from College to Career
Imagine the versatility of a Swiss Army Knife with its “12-tools-in-one” capabilities and you have a good picture of composer, performer and producer Rod Kim ’05 (pictured far right with RKVC band mate Vince Cirino). Kim parlayed his major in contemporary Christian music and minor in digital media into a career that allows him to take charge as an artist from the creative and business sides.
“Greenville College prepared me to be a prepared person and started with what I was interested in,” he explains. The “P” word surfaces often when he describes his transition from college to career. Here’s a sampling:
Famous last words – “I’ll never use this.”
“It’s funny. I’ve found that on several occasions GC professors prepared me for things that were never on my radar. There were a lot of times my peers and I would say, ‘With what I’m planning to do, I won’t need this.’ It turns out that plans change, and you just need to be a prepared musician and prepared person.”
Self-sufficiency, an asset
Courses in songwriting and music theory required Kim to write pieces on the spot. As he knocked out commercial jingles in the classroom, he cultivated dexterity that he values today. “Because I have a strong understanding of so many various parts of what I do, I don't really have to rely on outside parties to move forward.”
Pictured above: Rod Kim and band mate Vince Cirino wrote the theme song for the Philadelphia Phillies mascots.
Equipped to solve problems
While sight singing and reading comprised the toughest part of Kim’s education, he has used the skills repeatedly to move projects forward. “Often in situations that stump others, I’ve been able to take the reigns.”
Out of the classroom into career
Kim recalls a memorable conversation with Professor Veronica Ross that set his course in college. “Initial assessments my freshmen year predicted that I wouldn't finish college or do very well, and I remember sitting in her office while she told me this was an opportunity to break the statistics.” He succeeded not only in completing his degree program, but also in landing a job in his field upon graduation.
Prepared to negotiate creativity
Ten years later, Kim speaks highly of every professor he encountered at GC. “Probably the most influential still to this day is Dr. Michael Johnson and Ani Johnson. Dr. J shaped my recording and engineering skills as well as the nuances of pop music theory and performance. Ani gave us everything we needed to know about the business side of music so that we wouldn't be in the dark trying to negotiate our creativity.”
Prepared as a person
Though Kim focused on music at GC, he still values experiences he encountered outside of the classroom like planting trees in St. Louis, canoeing with classmates and visiting Chicago to learn about Christianity in culture.
“It all came at me from seemingly random angles but kept me ready for so many situations,” he explains.
Today, Kim produces artists across the U.S. and internationally. He also performs with partner Vince Cirino as part of RKVC, a self-deprecating romantic pop rock duo that bridges the gap between songs of heartbreak and love “without making you want to jump off that bridge.” Last spring, the pair collaborated on a theme song for the new mascots of the MLB Philadelphia Phillies (pictured above), yet another opportunity to showcase Kim’s versatility.
Read more about GC grads in the music industry:
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