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Emerging Chicago EDM Artist Drops Out of College To Pursue Music Dream

By Justin Breen | August 14, 2015 5:56am
 Francis Parker graduate Ned Mower dropped out of college to focus on an emerging career as an EDM performer.
Francis Parker graduate Ned Mower dropped out of college to focus on an emerging career as an EDM performer.
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Ned Mower

CHICAGO — Ned Mower has no regrets dropping out of college this year to pursue an emerging career as a electronic dance music performer and producer.

The 20-year-old Lincoln Park resident and 2013 Francis Parker School graduate left the College of Charleston (S.C.), where he was majoring in sociology, earlier this year during the middle of his sophomore year. He's now fully focused on creating EDM, and his tunes already have been featured as background music on several of YouTube star Casey Neistat's videos.

He's also produced several recent tracks and, by the end of the year, hopes to play them at a venue.

"I always heard throughout my life that college is a place where you discover what you want to do, but I already knew what I wanted to do," said Mower, who goes by the stage name Hurley Mower (Hurley is his middle name).

"To waste more time and money on a degree that wasn't beneficial to me didn't make sense. If I took the safe route and invested in a sociology degree and eventually got a job in that department, all I would want to do is make songs all day anyway."

His new "classroom" is in the basement of his parents' Lincoln Park home. His mother, Brooke, a professional photographer, said she understands why her son gave up on college — for now.

"He's a social kid but he left his friends, beautiful Charleston and the freedom and fun of being away from home to live in the basement and pursue what he loves," said the Latin School of Chicago graduate. "The house was literally bumping from the bass of his basement music lab. Even if you can't hear it, you can feel it.

"My husband [Grove] and I still hope that Ned will use college to meet his ends, but we've given in to the fact that he may never get a traditional college degree. I admit — that often gives me pause and worry, but worrying is what moms do," she added.

Mower has been obsessed with music since first playing guitar as an 8-year-old. He discovered EDM when he was 15 through the Ableton computer program.

Last year, he served as an intern with Chicago Hip Hop blog Fake Shore Drive under Andrew Barber, and also was an intern at River North music production studio See Music for Chuck Bein. See Music's clients include Chance The Rapper, Jaguerra, ZZ Ward, Cook Kids and BBMG.

"Ned is a hard-working kid that is just getting started," Bein said. "While he was working for me at See Music, he was soaking up everything around him like a sponge. His beats literally got two or three times better-sounding in a couple months. Looking forward to hearing what is next for him."

In addition to performing, Mower wants to work with some of Chicago's top hip hop artists, "blending electronic music and hip hop together."

"My recent focus has been on creating a library of music to attract other Chicago artists to collaborate with me," Mower said. "I want people to know that I'm a Chicago artist, not just a producer on SoundCloud."

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