Juggling class, homework, a job and a social life can be difficult for most students, but for Jack Ringhand, the issue becomes more complex as he attempts to balance his studies with performing music.
Ringhand, a second-year nursing student from Onalaska, Wisconsin, grew up singing constantly and added the guitar during his high school years. His interest in guitar also led him to explore other types of music, which greatly diversified once he arrived in Madison, especially in the folk rock and bluegrass genres.
“[Madison] facilitates innovation and invention … a hotbed of ideas and growth,” Ringhand said. “As I hear more, I can identify what genres I like more.”
He released his debut EP “A Place I’ve Never Been” in January and is working on his second EP, expected to be released over the winter. The new EP will feature multiple instruments and voices from other student-musicians in Madison, a trend he hopes will continue.
In addition to satisfying his craving for writing and performing, Ringhand said he hopes his music becomes a “voice for the voiceless” and addresses the social, political and cultural injustices he finds important.
“‘That one lyric and that one song got me,’ and that’s really the whole point for me; the songs that I write speak to people,” Ringhand said.
He said the opportunity to perform for mostly new audiences and receive feedback has been the most rewarding part of his music journey. That connection to complete strangers is also apparent in his nursing interests.
“Health care is inherently intertwined with our social culture,” Ringhand said. “There are health disparities that stem from our societal system, and nursing is a field that can [be] used to address those disparities.”
As for a career in music, Ringhand says he truly enjoys performing for others but pursuing that enjoyment does put a strain on his studies. However, performing provides him an important outlet, a way for him to take a break from studying; although he isn’t entirely against two careers.
“If I could be a part-time nurse, part-time rockstar, I would totally do that,” Ringhand said.