“This Institution” by Rachel Kate Gillon ’09

“This Institution” by Rachel Kate Gillon ’09

Rachel Kate Gillon, College of Charleston

Rachel Kate Gillon, College of Charleston

Her degree: B.A. in studio art, with a concentration in sculpture

Her gig: Appearing on Charleston’s music circuit and beyond with her band, The Shaniqua Brown. Their debut album was released in August.

Playing on the track: “I played the guitar, percussion, organ and vocals, but I’ve got to throw out some creds to Bill Carson ’99 for playing the saw, Diego Villena ’11 for cello and Jamey Rogers and Alan Price for producing and mixing.”

Writing “This Institution”: “I knew I wanted it to be a bit more obscure than just writing straightforward words about college. I wanted it to make people think harder than that so they could wrap their minds around it the way they wish. This is the connection with the listener that I love – even though I wrote the song with the subject of college in mind, it can be interpreted by the listener in a different way. I just thought about my college experience and laid down the chord structure, then played away and wrote some lyrics. It’s funny how some songs just seem to pour out of you faster than others.”

The idea behind the song: “The song did turn out kind of dark – but the meaning behind it isn’t. (Just as an aside, I had to include something about College Lodge, and that’s represented in the lyric, “Sit with me and we’ll take pride.” We took so much pride in living there!) Mostly, ‘This Institution’ is about the lost feeling students get when they get to college. You’re in this big group of young, lost souls who have just been set free. And it’s OK to feel lost. That’s what I’m trying to say in the song: It’s OK to be confused. Most everyone else is in the same boat. There’s a lot of pressure to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life. How do I know if I’m going to like being an archaeologist? A psychologist? A teacher? For me, making a decision was half the battle – I wanted to do it all! That’s one thing about going to a liberal arts college: You can do it all!

“So, ‘This Institution’ is about taking all of those worries and letting them go, banding together, supporting each other, learning and growing together: so many things.”

Musical highlights: “It’s hard to say. If you want to go way back, when I was 6 or 7, I was in a Sammy Kershaw music video called ‘Working Woman’s Holiday,’ so I wish you would have asked me then! The past year has been a real learning experience. It’s been really amazing growing with The Shaniqua Brown and growing as a musician myself. It’s a constant journey and it’s so exciting to know that the journey lasts forever!”

Rachel Kate Gillon, College of Charleston

Paying the rent: “I work at a recording studio in West Ashley called Collective Recording, taking care of biz. I also work a few days a week at The Early Bird Diner – only the best diner in all the land!”

Check out more music by Rachel Kate Gillon.

Lyrics for “This Institution”

These walls they’re paper thin
So small they can’t keep us in
Well we stumble from door to door
wonderin’ what we’re doin’ it for

The pressure cuts like a knife
come to find nobody’s doin it right
we’ll decide to undecide
sit with me and we’ll take pride

We don’t even know what we came for
We don’t even know why we’re here
We don’t even know what we came for
We don’t even know where we been

One wrong move can’t end this fight
All the money’s been sacrificed
when summer sweat hits you it’s hard to imagine
anything bad could ever really happen

We don’t even know what we came for
We don’t even know why we’re here
We don’t even know what we came for
We don’t even know where we been
we don’t even know what we came for
we don’t even know where we been

Listen to all of the songs on The Soundtrack.

– Photos by Sully Sullivan

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