KSU alumnus to open tonight’s concert

Nicole Stempak

As a Kent State freshman, Chris Harris thought the athletic atmosphere needed a spark.

“It was more of a thing about school spirit,” he said. “I was just going to the game, enjoying myself, but feeling like something was missing.”

Harris asked himself what he could do, what could he bring to the table.

“I started out creating songs for the football and volleyball teams just as a way to show my love and respect for what all those teams did,” he said.

Today, Harris is known as DJ $crilla and the Kent State alumnus is the opening act for the Jay Sean concert tonight at the M.A.C. Center.

The Cleveland Heights native won an award for best album “Me, Myself and I” at the Ohio Hip Hop Awards in September. The album has current hits “So Digital” and “What It Is Tho.” He was the first rapper to perform at the Grand Ole Opry.

To show his appreciation for Kent State at tonight’s concert, he will debut a song written especially for the university titled “I Am KSU.”

Harris wrote the song based on his own experiences while a student. He is a 2006 electronic media production alumnus.

‘“I Am KSU’ is something I created about a pure love and affection towards Kent State University, the people there, the students, the buildings — everything,” Harris said. “I created something fun and energetic. I just needed to bring it back.”

Soon after Harris crafted his football and volleyball songs, other Kent State teams — including men’s basketball, soccer, softball and gymnastics — started asking for their own personalized songs.

Harris continued performing for the athletic teams and at local venues like The Robin Hood and the Rathskeller. He also performed at Midnight Madness and during halftime of the ESPN BracketBuster game.

Harris said he catalogued his songs on his Web site. That and word-of-mouth soon landed him other jobs.

Universities across the country asked Harris to write songs for their athletic programs after he graduated. Harris has created songs for the University of Southern California, Arizona State University and University of Maryland. He also wrote a personal recruitment song for Les Miles of LSU right after the 2008 National Championship Game.

“Some of the other schools saw what I was doing for Kent State University and thought this would be great for (them),” he said. “Kent State, by allowing me to perform at a BracketBuster halftime, really opened me to other opportunities and experiences. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Kent State.”

Harris still writes songs for other colleges and universities. He said he does a lot of research to write a song.

“Being from Kent State, I know Kent State like the back of my hand,” he said. “I highlight a lot of the good things of the university. When I’m creating a song, I’m out there in the field. I’m talking to people about what makes your school unique and use word play to use what they say in a positive energy.”

Contact public affairs reporter Nicole Stempak

at [email protected].