Every other week, Under the Moss captures the stories of the wonderful students, faculty, staff and community members roaming the College’s campus. Their stories remind us why we love CofC. 

“The goal of my music? Oh, gosh. I think it’s to make an impact, no matter if it’s four people or 4,000 people. I started doing open mics junior year of high school and when people came up to me afterwards and said things like, ‘I really loved your song’ or ‘Your song made me cry’, I remembered why I chose to share my music. I think humility is challenging for any artist, but as long as people are getting a message that speaks to them in their own way, that’s all I care about.”

Jamie Gray, a first-year student at the College of Charleston and member of the Chucktown Trippintones, was walking through Cougar Mall, guitar slung on her shoulder, on her way to East Bay Meeting House to sing a few original songs. Dressed in overalls, a baggy t-shirt, and eclectic jewelry, her purely organic personality was prominent at first glance.

RELATED: First-Year Student Recounts Helping Injured Man

“I started writing songs because during my freshman year in high school I found out a lot about myself,” she says. “One of those things was that I really loved writing poetry. I had things to say. I taught myself to play guitar that same year because I wanted to put melodies behind my songs.”

Gray says her mother sang at church since she was a girl and she would always look up to her from the pew and feel secure. Growing up in church and seeing how selfless music can be made her realize that the music she loved had nothing to do with her, but with the feeling that it conveyed to everyone listening.

At 16, she had the chance to sing with her mother in church and together they sang “His Eyes on the Sparrow.” She pointed to her left forearm, which bore the words “Because I’m happy, because I’m free,” the chorus from the hymn she sang in church.

“It reminds me of why I sing and why I write and why I make music,” she says. “I do it because I’m happy, and I do it because I’m free. Those words keep me inspired and keep me honest.”

To hear Gray’s music, go to her SoundCloud page.

Lauren Vega is a first-year student from Huntington, West Virginia, studying arts management and international studies in the Honors College at the College of Charleston. She is also a National Merit Scholar, a scholar in the International Studies Program, and a 200-hour registered yoga teacher.