Student Spotlight: Xander Arnold '14

by Jessica Zischke | 10/28/13 7:00am

by Blaze Joel / The Dartmouth

In the arts world, there’s often talk of triple threats, or performers who can act, dance and sing. Music major Xander Arnold ’14 is a pentad threat: a musician, singer, composer, producer and dancer.

Music has always been an important part of Arnold’s life. He began playing piano in second grade, started composing and writing songs in ninth grade and is now involved in music production and the digital music in his time at Dartmouth.

“I just enjoy [it] a lot,” Arnold said. “I’ve also taken a lot of courses in it, so I have a huge knowledge base that I feel obligated to use. But also I just love doing it.”

Arnold knew he wanted to pursue the arts both inside and outside of the classroom, and he was immediately intrigued by the digital music program here when he visited.

Arnold was a member of the Dartmouth Dance Ensemble his freshman year, dances in Street Soul and joined Sheba in his junior year. Arnold also founded the band Toast with a few of his friends over sophomore summer.

With so many activities, Arnold admits that it can be difficult to give each the attention it deserves.

“Toward the end of spring term, I was really busy with Sheba, because that’s a huge time commitment in the spring, and I was realizing I wasn’t having time for music,” Arnold said. “Once summer break came, I really just wanted to take the time to sit down and compose something. It’s hard to do that while I’m here doing the other things.”

Over this summer break, Arnold made his first EP, “To Light” under his artist name X&. The album features three electronic songs layered with Arnold’s singing.

“I did everything myself,” Arnold said. “I was kind of locked away and isolated in a cabin in the woods my family had. I did the writing, performing, mixing and mastering of it all.”

He added that he couldn’t imagine what his college experience would be like without the arts.

“I hadn’t ever really thought of it in another way before, it was a natural inclination to do all those things,” Arnold said.

Since he began composing his own songs, Arnold has about 30 completed works and 50 unfinished songs that he plans to develop. He is thinking about moving to Los Angeles or Berlin after college to produce music. Regardless of where the future takes him, Arnold is sure that the arts will remain an integral part of his life.

“Having a creative outlet, performing and having other people enjoy a performance that you were a part of creating is an awesome thing,” Arnold said. “The arts is something I can carry through for the rest of my life. I can always be playing piano or composing.”