Last week "Weird Al" Yankovic dropped a new single: a polk medley featuring several selections from the musical, Hamilton. It turns out that the creator of Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda, is a fan of Mr. Yankovic and in an interview from a few years ago he told the story of the first time he met the singer/songwriter/satirist. He also revealed a fact about Mr. Yankovic I did not known before:
Alfred Matthew Yankovic graduated from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo with a bachelor's degree in architecture.
It turns out Mr. Yankovick is not the only artist to have first studied architecture before pursuing a career in popular music. In fact the list is remarkably long:
Art Garfunkel studied architecture at Columbia University where he ultimately graduated with a degree in art history. By then he had already met his musical collaborator, Paul Simon, years earlier in elementary school.
Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. (a.k.a. John Denver) studied Architecture at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. He joined a folk-music band while there and ultimately pursued that career path.
Jerry Harrison of The Talking Heads dropped out of Harvard's Graduate School of Design to join his fellow band mates who had met while studying at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Three of the founding members of Pink Floyd (Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright) all met while studying architecture at Regent Street Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster).
Henry Olusegun Adeola Samuel (a.k.a. Seal) also studied architecture in London and earned a two year diploma in architecture before becoming a singer/songwriter and marrying Heidi Klum.
The rapper O'Shea Jackson Sr. (a.k.a. Ice Cube) was interested in architecture as well as rap and earned a diploma in draughtsmanship from the Phoenix Institute of Technology the same year Straight Outta Compton was released.
It was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe who famously said "architecture is frozen music" and the two mediums are more similar than they might at first appear. Both architecture and music play with rhythm and structure. Both architecture and music communicate emotion and meaning. Both architecture and music can transcend their rigid rules and history to create art of endearing beauty.
Perhaps the creative problem solving taught in an architectural education provides a useful approach to those who go on to create music. Perhaps this is all just a coincidence. Perhaps I'm just too white and nerdy.