Q&A: Former linebacker Warren Long talks musical releases, time at Northwestern

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Q&A: Former linebacker Warren Long talks musical releases, time at Northwestern

Northwestern alumnus Warren Long looks forward to his upcoming EP.

Northwestern alumnus Warren Long looks forward to his upcoming EP.

(Courtesy photo of Warren Long)

Northwestern alumnus Warren Long looks forward to his upcoming EP.

(Courtesy photo of Warren Long)

(Courtesy photo of Warren Long)

Northwestern alumnus Warren Long looks forward to his upcoming EP.

Vy Duong, Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor

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After putting his football career behind him, Northwestern alumnus Warren Long (Communication ’17) — also known by his stage name Larrenwong — now funnels all his energy into pursuing his passion for music. The linebacker, who spent time on NFL rosters and played in the Canadian Football League, released his first album “Aria” in 2017 and is ready to go bigger and better with his upcoming EP.

The Daily: What was the inspiration behind this upcoming EP?
Long: It’s pretty much a reflection on my life and my last project — my experiences going through the NFL from team to team, my motivation — what’s going on in my mind for the past two years.

The Daily: Does football affect the content of your music?
Long: Apart from the concrete football references that I’m making in the music… I think what football has taught me is that not everything is like football, you know. Football has taught me that it’s unique. In my artist experience, I can’t put in 20 hours of doing music. I have to work on the inspiration, let it strike, so I can’t have that same business model applied to my music.

The Daily: How would you describe the role of music in your life?
Long: Music and art have kept me grounded. It’s one thing I could always rely on to make me feel good and to calm me. Your art is gonna be with you forever.

The Daily: You released the album “Aria” in 2017. Are we expecting the same sound or something completely different from this new EP?
Long: You could still hear the influences from “Aria,” but this album — in terms of production, songwriting, recording and mixing — is just head and shoulders above the last one. This project has more variance in terms of genre.

The Daily: How would you describe your music in three words?
Long: Combinative, “original” — put that in quotes because I want to question what is originality — and black. I think that every major music form in American history has been the franchise of African American artists, and has been corrupted and commercialized for mainstream success. That’s one thing I’m always conscious of.

The Daily: Would you say Larrenwong and Warren Long are two different people?
Long: I’ve been trying to build a persona as Larren. Larren is a larger-than-life character who has it all together… But I guess there really is no difference. I’m still trying to figure it out.

The Daily: You were a communication studies major at Northwestern. What’s something you still carry from your time at NU?
Long: I wouldn’t be the same person without it. I had a lot of formative experiences at Northwestern — school, extracurriculars and music. I learned so much about the workload I could withstand, and with that comes a lot of confidence. I can do whatever I put my mind to at a high level now.

The Daily: Are there highlights and favorite memories from your time at NU that you could share with us?
Long: There are too many. One is when they played “Stunt Season” in the pregame warm-ups. They played my song in the stadium and the whole team knew the lyrics. That was a good experience.

The Daily: Are you going down memory lane right now?
Long: I live on a memory lane. How do you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been?

Email: vyduong2021@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @vyhduong

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