Do you ever feel like there’s just not enough time to get your homework done? Or maybe studying for that weekly quiz is nothing but a pain in the neck?
For Keene State College junior political science major Brooks Hubbard, there is no time to set aside for schoolwork.
However, Hubbard’s job outside of school (lucky for him) is also his love and life aspiration—music. Just last week, Hubbard played five shows in a row. One in Vermont, the next in Sunapee, N.H., Friday in Portsmouth, and Saturday in Manchester.
College life is difficult to balance on its own but Hubbard has been on the Dean’s List for the past two semesters.
But while he is succeeding with his schoolwork, music is his specialty. “I’ve never had guitar or voice lessons. It’s all self-taught, self-proclaimed,” Hubbard said.
Hubbard started on the drums when he was only three years old, but when his dad gave him a guitar at the age of nine that’s when it all really began.
“Some kids you give an Xbox or Nintendo and they learn how to play themselves,” Hubbard’s father, Gary Hubbard, said, “Well Brooks did that with the guitar instead.”
Gary also said that he goes to his son’s shows, tells his friends about them, and whenever he hears his son’s music, he can’t help but feel an “immense sense of pride.”
“It’s incredible how much the support can help your confidence. Doing something like playing music is like you almost feel naked sometimes,” Hubbard said, “putting yourself out there without any confidence is hard.”
Hubbard said his dad used to be in a band, so he understands “the music thing” and passed it on to him. Although his mom may not understand, Hubbard said she and the rest of his family are “incredibly supportive.”
“They have never said anything like, ‘It’s a good hobby but get a real job,’ a lot of people outside of my family have told me that but I don’t listen to them,” Hubbard said. His friend Brendan Doyle though, also a student at KSC, is not one of those people who blurs Hubbard’s vision. “You can listen to one of his [Brooks’]songs and see it being a big hit like Jason Mraz,” Doyle said.
“He’s really easy going on stage too, I think that’s one of his biggest assets.” Through his strong support system and passion for music, Hubbard is so dedicated to pursue his dream that his gig opportunities have left him with not one free Friday night until July 26.
For now, Hubbard said he usually sticks to two or three shows a week during school but the summer may sometimes bring six or seven consecutive shows. The trouble with that is that he just might lose his voice. However, Hubbard is still learning and has come across a few remedies.
Hubbard said some musicians will tune their guitar down a half step and play at a lower key.
But for him, he really tries to drink a lot of water and get a lot of sleep. “It’s hard with a lot of school work,” he said, but he also is learning to breathe properly from his diaphragm.
When it comes to booking gigs, Hubbard said he usually takes care of that himself. However, Hubbard has his agent to thank, Paul Costley, for helping him get his name out a little more. “Word gets out really fast,” Hubbard said, “So basically, I don’t have to ask anyone to play at their venue anymore. I book so fast now, it’s crazy.” Hubbard said he started out doing open mic nights.
“Open mics are the best way to start performing regularly,” he said, which seemed to work out since he gets paid for his gigs now. It’s not about the money for Hubbard though. He said his biggest inspiration is Jack Johnson because he hasn’t accepted any of his payments from his past two tours.
All of Johnson’s money goes to charity. “That just totally puts those sell-out people to shame,” Hubbard said, “and to think I could make a career out of doing what I love holds more value than any money.”
Doyle said he sees that too. “Money isn’t a big thing to him,” he said, “I think he just wants to do what he loves and make a difference.” “Sometimes I’m the last one to bed and the first one up in my dorm,” Hubbard said, “I notice that and it’s hard sometimes.” Hubbard said he relies on the few moments a day he has to relax. Whether it be going for a run or just watching TV, another way he relaxes is playing his guitar. “The fact that I play music as my job is therapy,” Hubbard said.
He also said that it’s KSC that keeps his grades up. Freshman year of college Hubbard started out at UMass-Lowell.
“The teachers here [at KSC] connect with students so much more. I have more of an obligation to get my work done. I’m so much more interested in everything I work on here because of that connection,” he said.
As of now for Hubbard, so far, so good—but his future awaits. He said his post-graduation hope and plan is to travel to Los Angeles to pursue his music.
With a connection to a producer in L.A., it seems Hubbard can only move forward to live out his dream.
With such a positive attitude and love for what he does, the sky’s the limit.
Rebecca Farr can be contacted at