Students explore ‘Lessons’ of love on first mixtape

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For Elon University junior Deanna Fox and senior Darrius McQueen, a lifetime of relationship experiences resulted in something beautiful — the completion of “Life Lessons,” their first mixtape as Dulcet Entertainment.

“‘Life Lessons’ is just what the title says it is — a mix of songs that take a person through the feelings of a relationship and the lessons that someone usually learns,” Fox said.

McQueen said the 13-track R&B mixtape allows for a variety of teachings.

Senior Darrius McQueen (left) and junior Deanna Fox explore music through “Life Lessons.” Photo submitted.

“The tracks each have a different viewpoint of relationships,” McQueen said. “It has stories about finding that one person. It also has stories about breakups. A lot of this is drawn from personal situations as well.”

Fox and McQueen decided to record the mixtape after many suggestions from their fellow Elon Gospel Choir members.

“Both of us are in the Elon Gospel Choir and that’s how we met last year in the fall, and we built a relationship and a friendship from choir,” McQueen said. “People would tell us to make some music together and toward the end of last school year, we did.”

Fox said the duo started recording songs over the summer, and only toward the beginning of the school year did they decide to record a complete mixtape.

“The process was fun, crazy, stressful, but a great experience for me,” Fox said. “We had times where we would get frustrated with ourselves, the music, the process in general but it was well worth it.”

According to Fox, she and McQueen each wrote their own verses and individual songs, and then collaborated on writing the choruses. McQueen produced all the music for the mixtape, a process he learned as he went along.

When recording, McQueen said they often did work on the album from across state lines.

“I was in Florida at home for most of the time, but most of the recording together was done at Elon,” McQueen said.

The name the duo chose to record under, Dulcet, came from a long process of searching for something that both felt represented their music.

“We looked for a long time to try and come up with a name that was unique and one that’s never been used and one day we came across Dulcet,” Fox said. “I love the name for the meaning, which is sweet and soothing, melodious. Since we are an R&B group I think this represents us well.”

All 13 tracks on the mixtape are original and are intended to tell a story. Every song has a different tone, some happy and some intended to help propel someone through tough times, Fox said.

Fox and McQueen’s favorite track on the album is “Fade Away” because it was the first song by Dulcet and the first song Fox wrote.

“I also like ‘We Will Be Alright’ because of the beat and the feel of the song,” Fox said. “It’s very uptempo and a happy song in general.”

McQueen agreed “Life Lessons” takes listeners on a journey.

“The mixtape takes you from the beginning to the end of a relationship,” McQueen said. “If you’ve been in a relationship, you know there’s a lot of lessons that can be learned, and ‘Life Lessons’ explores that.”

Both Fox and McQueen have a strong background in music. Fox played in her high school band and sang in her school’s chorus. McQueen’s mother has been singing since her youth and started him on piano lessons at only five years old.

“I went from piano to saxophone,” McQueen said. “So I’ve always been around music and always loved music.”

On a football scholarship at Elon, McQueen said music “jumped back into (his) life” when he joined gospel choir and praise team. The praise team is a group of six students, including Fox, who do praise and worship and visit several churches.

Both said they wish to continue working with their love of music by performing more this spring. McQueen said the duo is currently in the writing process for another potential mixtape as they promote “Life Lessons” via Facebook and Twitter.

“We are trying to have another performance for SUBLive soon before the year ends, so look out for that,” Fox said.

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