As the clock counts down to Thursday’s Homecoming concert, junior Travian McNair is preparing to take the stage ahead of headliner Quavo at the Watsco Center.
The economics major with minors in music industry and sports administration learned of the opportunity from a friend. After submitting the opener application, he heard back within days that he’d scored the spot.
“I’m really excited. Every time I have a show, the nerves don’t really hit until I get there, but then it just becomes fun,” McNair said.
Students can expect to hear original songs from McNair like “Go Wrong” and “I Used To,” a cover of Beyonce’s “Deja Vu” and an unreleased original song called “The Vibe.” The 20-year-old wants to focus on crowd engagement, something his live band composed of other UM students will help with.
Before scoring his gig at the Watsco, McNair played venues like Skatebird Miami, the DROM in NYC and Sounds of Bravil (SOB’s) in Manhattan, a legendary music venue where big names like Drake and Kendrick Lamar have performed.
His journey to Miami, however, starts in his birthplace of Irvington, New Jersey. A lover of both music and sports, McNair focused more on making music after a health condition took him off the basketball court.
“I always loved music,” McNair said. “My dad is a big music guy. A lot of 70s soul, bossa nova. He listened to everything. He really loved house music, too.”
Though the young artist produced beats for other musicians throughout high school, he didn’t release his own music until 2020, a year before coming to UM. Since then, he’s grown musically and found a support system in his peers.
“I’ve met some of my best friends who’ve really helped me and inspired me,” McNair said. “I’m not in the music school, so learning from them and getting more of a general education has been really cool.”
McNair has lofty aspirations for his music career and beyond.
“The goal ultimately is to make music,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to be involved in sports, so one day, I’m gonna have my own multimedia company representing athletes and talent as well, whether it’s handling their marketing or even being a record company.”
His goal for this year is to lay out a plan for music and avoid the traditional route of working in a corporate setting.
“In five years, what can The Miami Hurricane expect? Travian being one of the biggest rappers in the world,” McNair said.
Despite calling himself a rapper, his music includes a mixture of R&B, soul, hip-hop, reggae and more. Names like Pharrell Williams, Tyler the Creator and Stevie Wonder came to mind when asked about his influences.
“Lyric-wise, my dream is to be like the Amy Winehouse of rap,” Mcnair said. “Just how personal she is — that’s kind of where I’ve been trying to take it the past year and some change. A lot of stuff I plan to put out is a little bit more personal.”
When describing his sound, McNair emphasized that he wants to release music that “makes people feel good.”
“[It’s] very percussive. I really like dance music [and] music that makes people feel good. So, kind of like rap and soul,” McNair said. “Kaytranada is one of my biggest influences.”
Describing his creative process, he noted that words have always come easy for him. He finds inspiration in being outdoors.
“I go to the botanical garden a lot,” McNair said. “Silence really inspires me. Taking in the world for a little bit [along with] some of the stuff I see and what other people go through.”
McNair offered some words of advice to students who are interested in a music career.
“This is gonna sound corny, but you really just gotta trust your heart,” McNair said. “You really just got to trust in yourself, trust in God. Be willing to fail, and just know that if you feel like you’re walking in your purpose, that’s all that really matters. All the other dots [will] connect.”
See Travian open for Quavo at the Watsco Center on Thursday, Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m.