By Tommy Sherk
Connor Ehman, Rockhurst High grad and singer with the Wingdings
What got you into music?
Connor Ehman: I got grounded in the first month of high school… [My parents] took away all my electronics, so the only thing I had was a guitar that my friend left here. So I learned how to play the guitar.
I really liked this band called “The Strokes.” I liked playing their songs, and it gave me something to do. I liked the physical stimulation of playing the guitar. I like the sounds, but it really relaxes me when I move my hands like that. It’s stress relief for me.
I started writing songs within a month or two of learning how to play the guitar… I like telling stories. Telling real stories using my imagination. I like to take something real about myself and transform it into a metaphor. I always try to make sure the story is really accurate to the situation. I would never say “blah blah blah” happened if it didn’t happen.
The first I remember performing was at the Rockhurst High School Battle of the Bands. I remember feeling like there wasn’t much I could do with music. I could really only play a few chords on the guitar. So it was very gimmicky. I wore a pair of silver tights and a blue sweater with a flower in my hair. I got everyone to take their clothes off and throw them on the stage. Another time I came out in a fat Batman costume while [a bandmember] played the Batman theme song. But now, I feel like that same part of my personality is still part of performing in the sense that the Wingdings, the group I play with now, it’s still goofy and silly. But there’s a lot more substance to the music. I feel more confident because I think the music has a more wholesome quality to it.
Do you make music for yourself or for others?
CE: I used to make it because it felt good, physically. But the more that I’ve studied music, I realize how much joy you can bring to people through music. There is nothing more enjoyable than knowing that you made someone else have a good experience from music.
Music is pretty much my whole life now. Not to be cheesy, but besides when I’m lifeguarding, I pretty much spend all day either listening to music, playing music, or preparing myself so that I can practice again. We rehearse probably every other day, at least.
I think the end goal is just to have a life where I can support myself playing music, and I don’t have to do anything else. That could be audio production, playing gigs, being a recording artist or studio musician. But the whole goal is just to be immersed in it, so you can get really great at it. That’s when you can be most effective.