Bend it like Beckett

If there’s one thing college students across the nation need, it’s hope. We hope that we didn’t do as horribly as we think we did on that final. We hope for a miraculous explosion of motivation so we can complete all of our readings. We hope that Runk dining hall will serve something other than hamburgers for dinner. Hope is central to our lives here at U.Va., which is the message that former The Academy Is… frontman William Beckett brought to the University this past Sunday. His performance served as a fundraiser for the University chapters of To Write Love on Her Arms and STEP UP!, two on-Grounds organizations that work to support community members dealing with mental illness, addiction or abuse of any form.

Both University chapters have expanded their membership and outreach efforts in recent years, factors which greatly contributed to their ability to have such a large-scale fundraiser. Beckett has worked with TWLOHA at various levels extensively in the past, including appearing in the national organization’s tent at the popular summer music festival Vans Warped Tour several times. He credits his interest in groups such as these to a relatively bumpy childhood.

“Being the new kid every year or two was tough,” he said, referencing his family’s frequent moves from place to place.

His sister also found the instability quite difficult to manage — she dealt with depression and anxiety for a time. After witnessing her struggles, Beckett sees participation in events like the University fundraiser as a way of “supporting what I believe in.”

Beckett said he looked forward to performing in Charlottesville, mentioning how special a show can be for the performer and audience members alike when there is an atmosphere of shared experience, feeling and emotional investment.

Beckett also emphasized the special opportunity provided by more intimate shows like Sunday’s, where is able to perform as a solo artist. In the past several years, his “perspective has widened quite a bit,” and these individual performances allow him “to continue to grow” as an artist.

“I’m just honest,” Beckett said when asked about the process of infusing his feeling and emotion into the music. “I don’t really think about it as persona strategy.”

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