The day of rest inspires Elon junior Judah Brown to work harder in developing new music for EP


by Mariah Posey | October 31, 2017

By the rules of the bible, the Sabbath day is meant to command rest. But for Elon University junior Judah Brown, the spiritual day in addition to his mother’s words have motivated him to stay busy.

Since July of last summer, Brown has been hard at work on a new single titled “Mama Said” for his upcoming EP. He drew inspiration from childhood memories of attending church with his family and remembered his mother telling him to “never stress work on the seventh day.” From there, the rest of the song-making process came naturally.

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Brown’s cover for his new single, “Mama Said.”

“The lyrics came first–the first set,” Brown said. “I think I made the beat in 20 minutes. I just found the melody and worked off of that, and then I finished the lyrics. The progression hasn’t really changed a whole lot. Once I got the first two lines, I was already thinking about a rhyme scheme and a flow that I wanted to go with.”

Brown has been involved in music since the age of seven, but knew he had to decide on something more reliable as a career path. As an economics major, Brown sees his music as a side project, but appreciates the freedom of expression that comes with it.

“At the end of the day, I don’t want to be working nine-to-fives,” he said. “I don’t really like the super structured type of lifestyle so I think being able to step into music and have something more creative and independent, I’d really like that opportunity.”

Being involved in Limelight Records, Elon’s student-run record label, has helped Brown cease the opportunities currently available to him. Last Thursday, Oct. 26, he spent his evening fine-tuning his single for public release in McEwen’s editing bays. His manager, sophomore Tyler Fewin, said working with Brown is easy due to his dedication.

“He has an unbelievable work ethic,” Fewin said. “Judah is an incredible person. He spends a ton of time down here just doing work at any free moment he can get. He works unbelievably hard, which makes my job that much easier because I don’t have to stay on him.”

While music may only be a hobby for Brown, he appreciates Limelight for providing him more exposure to Elon’s campus community. As he continues to progress in his college career, he plans to continue using music as a way to reminisce.

“I like to use a lot of pictures of me as a kid just because it reminds me of my youth and my upbringing,” Brown said. “And I like to reflect on what I’ve learned from back then and how those lessons are shaping decisions I make now.”



Multimedia journalism by Mariah Posey | March 31, 2017

Al Drago is a photojournalist and class of ’15 Elon alumni. He is based in Washington, D.C. covering all things politics and currently works for the NYT as a contract press photographer for President Donald Trump. He visited journalism professor Janna Anderson’s class this Friday to talk about his experience at Elon and networking.


Al Drago in Philadelphia at a Hillary Clinton event in 2015 taken by one of his friends that he shared on Facebook.

Al Drago has been working since he was 16-years-old and by the age of 17, had daily bylines. It was a family trip to Boston more than 10 years ago that provided the 2015 Elon University journalism alumni with his first photography experience. Now, after delving into photography and journalism in high school as well at Elon, he works as a contract press photographer for The New York Times covering all things politics.

During the final months of Barack Obama’s presidency, he traveled with the then-president as a pool photographer covering the transition, the inauguration and first 100 days of President Donald Trump’s term. Currently, he and two other selected photographers are responsible for following the president everywhere he goes.

This Friday March 31, Drago revisited Elon to speak and share his wisdom on branding and networking to other journalism students.

Drago's Top 8When Drago was a student at Elon, he knew that internships were key. To remain focused on them, he made a piece of paper listing the different publications he could potentially work at ranking them on the level of achievability. He knew that he could work at The Burlington Times-News easily, but at the top level he listed the ones that were his dream jobs: The New York Times and the Washington Post.

“I knew I was going to work there someday,” Drago said. “And now I am.”

He didn’t know how it would happen, but something he had learned from journalism professor Janna Anderson stuck with him: if you want to be at the top, start out on top.

“You can advance your career in the first five years out of college more than you can in the 15 years after college,” he said. “Then, when you’re 30 you can have your cushion job and relax and go to Ibiza.”


Al Drago speaking during his presentation.

Drago kept his career goals at the forefront of his college career spending most days outside of class and in the community shooting real stories with real people.

“My Elon experience was based around the journalism I did, the journalism I committed,” he said. “And it was great because I got a four-year archive.”

He hit the ground running joining on-campus news organizations such as The Pendulum and Elon Local News, but knew outside experience was everything.

Some advice an editor gave him was, “You’re not going to get hired off of shooting on campus because it’s a bunch of 18 to 20-year-olds and that’s not what the real world looks like.”

“I started networking day one and cold-emailed editors,” Drago said. “Of course I said I want to work for you but also, ‘I love your photos. What camera settings did you use? Hey, these are the photos I took this month.’”

Eventually, editors took notice of his work and noticed that he was improving.

“I ferociously worked,” he said. “I knew what I wanted so I worked non-stop.”

Ultimately, his drive to work and ability to put himself out there got him hired at The New Times doing what he loves for a living at the age of 24. His multiple internships at the Durham Herald-Sun, Burlington Times-News, Raleigh News & Observer and the Baltimore Sun set him apart and gave him the opportunity to continue developing new skills.

His biggest piece of advice for aspiring journalists is to put yourself out there and “know your worth.”

Find his Twitter and Instagram here.