Drawing inspiration from Nat King Cole and John Legend, UMass Lowell sophomore and local artist Dom the Composer concocts a raw and sincere debut single.

Channeling a soulful tone and warm, welcoming melodies, Dominik “Dom the Composer” Hyppolite aspires to not make a crowd scream and shout, but rather pause and listen. The young musician confronts his struggle with anxiety and self-doubt and turns them into a plaintive narrative drenched in honesty and self-expression. Garnering influences from musicians like Nat King Cole and John Legend, Hyppolite breathes new life into contemporary R&B with his debut track, “If I Believe.”

Hyppolite’s love of musical performance began when he was seven. “During my last year of high school, I wrote real music. Once I saw the impact I could make using my voice and my words, I was sold,” he says. “I decided to major in music; I wanted to develop a platform where I could reach a large audience and help people who were going through the same things.” 

“If I Believe” is a cathartic and poignant debut that offers a spark of hope for those who struggle with mental illness. The track begins with a haunting, slow piano melody that eases the listener into a deep vocal harmony; the timbre is crisp, powerful, and pensive as Hyppolite spins his narrative, detailing the internal struggle of the anxious thoughts that drown out reason. A light electronic effect on his vocals pairs with the backdrop of the piano’s minor key to flow with the lyrical structure. Hyppolite croons with a doleful sound to his vocals, which grow stronger as the track climaxes, showing the true nature of the young musician’s vocal potential. The vocals are mesmerizingly matched with the piano, and it turns into something ghostly. Lyrically, the track describes anxiety as a “monster under the bed” that convinces us that we are not good enough. Hyppolite acknowledges that he has “been fighting every day” and assures that someday soon, the monster will be “underneath him.” The song drives home a critical message: mental health is extremely important. “We are constantly trying to change ourselves,” Hyppolite says. “We feel uncomfortable in our own skin, we live in our heads and tell no one. It needs to change.”

Hyppolite aims to start a movement that empowers people to open up about mental health. He wants “If I Believe” to be an anthem, to encourage those who are struggling to speak up. “Tell your story, get help. Every person is unique and deserves love,” he says. “I wanted people to know that getting better is hard, but you can do it. I got better with help, faith, and a loving community by my side.” The most important aspect of this movement? That those who are struggling know that they are strong, they are loved, and they are enough. 

As he continues to grow as an artist, Hyppolite aspires to start discussions within his community and to begin using elements from a plethora of genres. “I need to study older eras of music, as well,” he says. “I feel like there’s so much to learn and I have only scratched the surface.”

For Hyppolite, the most rewarding part of music is the relationship between the artist and the audience. “It is amazing to think your words relate to so many people,” he says. “They feel what you are feeling at that very moment. Vulnerability is difficult for me and many other people my age. Music, for some reason, gives people confidence or the will to open up. Music makes me feel like I can really explain myself.” He also wants to make sure he understands and empathizes with his audience. He draws from other’s experiences as well as his own. “It’s my goal to make music that makes you think about other people’s mental health, stages of love and infatuation, and cherishing the little things in life,” he says. “I want to create art with other people’s perspectives in mind.”

With raw, sincere vocals and crisp instrumentation, “If I Believe” proves that the young artist has staggering potential.

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