My name is Hank Link, and I am from Kissimmee, FL. I am a senior Music Business/Church Music double major at Southeastern University in Lakeland, FL. In January, however, instead of returning to Lakeland for another regular spring semester, I made the ten-hour drive to Nashville for what would prove to be a pivotal time in my life.
From the first day I arrived at CMC, it was clear that this would be the most transformative semester of my college career. The facility was really well-equipped to give us everything we needed to get hands-on experience creating, writing, and performing. I was pretty nervous because this was the farthest away from home I had ever been for this long, but I quickly made some friends that were able to make me feel at home in Nashville. After our initial showcase, I was really impressed by all of the talent that was here in the artist track, and I was concerned that I would fall behind—I had never written any music outside of a church setting. But soon after that, I told my brain to shut up and I just started to write using the techniques that our writing instructor gave to us. To my amazement, it worked! I had written a song I didn’t hate for like the first time ever! Even other people liked it!
Coming here, my only real goal was to become a better songwriter. This meant that every week, I would go through the same cycle of “Oh no, the magic is gone! I’ll never write again” to “Here’s something alright” to “I hate this” to giving up, then revisiting the idea and finding something usable. And as the weeks passed, I found that I was actually getting better! That was probably the most exciting part of the whole semester. I was so happy to see that with a little guidance and some focused effort, I was actually able to improve in something that seemed so elusive and difficult.
During my time in Nashville, I found a really nice church called Ethos, and their praise and worship team was composed entirely of one man and one woman with an acoustic guitar. It was some of the best worship I had experienced in a while. It was a really good lesson from God that with all the production or lights in the world, it won’t be successful if Jesus is not the center of focus. It gave me some much-needed perspective, and it is a lesson I will carry with me in my own worship leading endeavors.
As the end of the semester nears, we are focused on taking a show out to a few different schools in the country. Our classes are coming to a close, and it has given me the opportunity to reflect on all that has happened this semester. I’ve been able to write new songs, have them critiqued and improved by industry professionals, record them in a studio setting, make connections in the city, and make lifelong memories with my semester 32 family (yes I said family, I know its saccharine but I mean it, stop rolling your eyes). I do not regret a moment of it, and this will definitely go down as my favorite semester.
– Hank Link