This Is Me: Musically inclined

Afsha Kasam

Alexander Danieli is not your typical senior. Outside of class, he is busy making his musical dreams a reality.

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Danieli’s interest in music sparked when he was about 4 years-old. His older sister, Gabriella Taranovich (now age 25) took piano lessons but was not very serious about it. According to Danieli, Taranovich did not enjoy performing music in general, as she tried her hand at flute as well.

However, Danieli was definitely more intrigued by his sister’s contact with music than she was. He would constantly run into the piano room and steal his sister’s keyboard so he could play some tunes in his room.

“He definitely got the artistic gene,” Taranovich said. “He loves performing and writing music and is very talented in both aspects.”

Danieli’s music career intensified during his junior year of high school through songwriting. At first, he started to experiment with classical music, but then decided to switch over to pop music.

“[Switching over from classical to pop music] was kind of my teenage rebellious moment,” he said with a smile on his face.

Through this transition, Danieli’s music has now transformed into a mix of indie pop and alternative. According to Danieli, the alternative aspect comes from the fact that uses atypical instruments, such as the viola, cello and violin. Additionally, he has incorporated screams, whistles, and door slams into some of his work. His inspirations, Regina Spektor and Florence and the Machine, have contributed significantly to the music style and the sort of sound that he wants to convey.

Danieli is known as the Sixth Ocean when he is on stage or recording. He came up with the stage name during his transitional phase as a junior in high school. Danieli has said there is no particular reason for the name, it just happened. His main goal through the music he writes is to reflect upon the narratives from his life.

“The main reason why I got into music is because it is a good way to give an inner monologue about the things that are going on in my life,” Danieli said.

Leah Caplan, a sophomore and a friend of Danieli, thinks highly of his personality and his path to success.

“I think on and off stage Alex pretty much has the same personality. He’s incredibly talented and infectiously happy,” Caplan said. “I think his music career is going to be very successful.”

However, his rise to success hasn’t been without challenges. The main problems are time and money.

“As a broke college student, it gets difficult to manage living expenses,” Danieli said.

Danieli lives off campus with two roommates in Waterbury and has to support himself. In order to ease the financial burden, he works as a barista in West Hartford.

“It’s pretty standard for musicians,” he said with a laugh.

Time has also been a key challenge that Danieli has learned to combat. Danieli is graduating two years early as a public relations major with a minor in music.

“Graduating in two years is probably my proudest moment. It’s something that I did not think I could do,” Danieli said. “It took a lot of hard work and I am proud of myself for getting it done.”

He was able to pull this stunt off because he had many credits from high school and has been doing 26-credit semesters. Needless to say, classes have taken up a lot of his time.

“I have been doing a lot,” Danieli said. “I actually started [as]pre-med, too. So it has been a weird and rocky journey, but it has been good and I survived. I’m good at time management.”

Danieli ended up leaving the pre-med track relatively quickly. Pre-med was not the best choice for him, as it did not give him room to pursue music in the way he wanted. The change to public relations was certainly for the better, he said.

Public relations gave him the opportunity to market himself, as he is self-creating his career, according to Danieli.

“All the skills that I have gotten through my PR training here have helped me enormously with music, which is great,” he said.

Danieli says he does find it slightly disappointing that Quinnipiac does not have a music major.

“I definitely weighed [Quinnipiac’s lack of a music major] in when I was looking for colleges,” he said. “I picked QU based off on the fact that it was closer to my family and it was still a very good school, despite not having the strongest music program.”

Originally, Danieli wanted to go to Brown University because of its music scene. However, he found that although the music program at Quinnipiac is small, it is very welcoming and warm.

“I started learning the harp here, which is cool and I use it in my music now,” he said.

Danieli believes there are still many ways to get involved with music at Quinnipiac. He recommends WQAQ in particular. He is not personally affiliated with them, but he has consistently participated in their annual event, Battle of the Bands. He won the contest in fall 2014, the first semester he played.

Despite these obstacles, Danieli is not slowing down. Recently, he was one of the top 24 scorers for the 24 Hour Film Race. He was given the opportunity to attend a gala in New York City. During the gala, there was a screening of the top 24 short films, followed by an awards ceremony, in which Danieli was nominated for Best Score and Best Film.

Sixth Ocean’s first EP album “Sleepcycles” is out now and has been received well by others. His only single is off the first EP and it is called “Strange Dreams.” There is also a Sixth Ocean music video out, which can be found on YouTube, called “Something Here Where Nothing Used to Live.”

Caplan has no shortage of good things to say about Danieli and his work.

“I met him this summer, right when he was recording,” Caplan said. “I immediately noticed how extremely motivated he is. He is such a genuinely good person and the type who deserves recognition. ”

As for Danieli’s future plans?

“Pending on a few things that I need to finish, I want to move to Brooklyn and pursue music fulltime,” he said.

Be on the lookout for his upcoming album, “You Are Everything I Do Not Love About Myself,” set to come out in early 2016.