Top Tracks: Evan Campbell

Columnist Morgan Magid crosses into broadcast territory to discuss the KCOU music director’s favorite album.

By Morgan Magid | Sept. 16, 2015

Tags: Music

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This week, I decided to take a rather bipartisan approach to Top Tracks, and went across the Student Center to talk to KCOU’s music director, Evan Campbell. The sophomore journalism student hails from Dallas and joined the station last year after wanting to get more involved here at Mizzou. His favorite record, released in early 2000, has become a popular milestone in modern soul music.

What is your favorite album?

My favorite album that I listen to the most and know the most about would probably be “Voodoo” by D’Angelo. It’s like an old…like, 15-year-old soul record from the early 2000s. It’s kind of minimalist, funky, jazzy.

How’d you find that?

My dad got me into old, old soul like Marvin Gaye and Al Green and then I just kind of started to creep up time-wise like through the ‘80s and ‘90s until I found (D’Angelo’s) really famous music video. I don’t know if you’ve seen it — the one where he’s naked, basically, and the camera just does close-ups on his upper half and he just sings into the camera. And I saw that and was like, “What the hell?” and then I dug a little deeper and was like, “Oh yeah, this is some good jams.”

Did your parents show you a lot of music when you were younger?

Not really. I mean, my dad, he really likes Bruce Springsteen, and especially northeastern rock and roll. But I did a lot of searching on my own. He likes a lot of the classics, like the oldies, and my grandfather was an engineer for jazz records, so he showed my dad a lot of the music he knows, but my dad didn’t really pass that on or anything.

Did D’Angelo’s record affect your joining KCOU?

Yeah, definitely. When I first went to KCOU, that was my first intention — to just get more music like that at the station. Because soul music is just underrepresented, I feel like, at any station.

Have you always loved music this much, and did this record influence that love?

Oh, yeah. It’s one of those records that you kind of step back and you figure things out about yourself and about the world. It shapes the way you think. One of the big underlying things about the record is that he sings…it’s kind of like an ode to women. It’s shaped my thoughts on women and other types of music and opened my mind to other types of music and other types of culture, so it was definitely a big record for me.

Coming from Texas, is soul music something that’s popular?

Well, actually, the area I’m from right outside of Dallas, there’s a soul scene. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Erykah Badu — well, she’s pretty famous, especially within Dallas. She plays soul music and around the time “Voodoo” was recorded, she was recording in the same studio and (her and D’Angelo) worked together, they’re good friends. And she went to the same high school as me in Dallas, so she’s big there. And there’s a couple bars downtown that she plays at, like, every week. And a lot of jazz and soul musicians actually cycle through these small bars. I guess the culture of Dallas is mostly, at least music-wise, soul and jazz.

That’s interesting that it’s so big. Most people I’ve talked to have picked pop or rock records as their favorites.

Those are what I grew up on, I guess. Not so much pop as rock, but growing up, that’s what I first got into. But as I’ve grown up, if I get tired of one genre, you move to another one. So I learned about soul when I was 14 or 15 — that’s when I really got into D’Angelo ,and then the rest was history. After that all I listened to was soul and then got into funk and jazz. So now I hardly listen to rock anymore.

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