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The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

The man behind the speakers: Story of the boombox backpack kid


We have all experienced it: walking around Loyola when all of a sudden, we hear music. One wonders “Where is this music coming from?” and the answer is from the kid with the boombox backpack. His name is Alex Snee, and his tools are an iPod and a Bose Bluetooth speaker. “Music for me used to just go through the roof,” Snee said. He only started sharing his music on campus at the end of last spring semester, during his junior year.

The daily activity of our lives is overwhelming sometimes, so Snee enjoys providing people with an unexpected delight in an ordinary setting. “They go about on their phones, doing tweets or, you know a status update on Facebook, and I’m really encouraged, it’s a great surprise,” said Snee.

He found that his passion for music is better when shared than when kept to himself. “I love music. I find it very therapeutic, so why not share it?” But it isn’t just love for music that drives him to share it with us, it’s something much deeper. “When they hear my music, they happen to feel inspired,” Snee said, and that’s the most rewarding part.

For Snee, this act of sharing music communicates his authenticity and deeper values. He admits that the campus is too large for him to speak to every student, so his music provides a way for everyone to interact with him even without having a conversation. “When I do walk around on campus, people will know a part of me, whether they listen to the instrumentals or the vocals of the music that is being presented,” said Snee.

One of his inspirations is a book written by Simon Sinek, a major figure in positive thinking and inspiration. The book is called Start With Why and in the novel, Sinek speaks about authenticity and asks the reader to question many aspects of his or her life. Snee explained, “I really began being more expressive and committed to this activity when walking around campus after reading this book. You know, why do you wake up in the morning? Why should I even care? One of my ‘whys’ is to wake up every morning to inspire people.”

Snee likes to alternate his music genres, often playing country, rock, pop and sometimes even talk radio. “It all depends on the mood I’m in, and I think it’s really nice to expose students to other genres.” His personal favorites are John Mayer and the Zac Brown Band. However, he often changes it up with pianists, string music, film scores or anything that speaks to what he is feeling. One song he often plays is “Love is a Verb” by John Mayer. “I really believe love is a verb, and any other lyrics that I play—they represent who I am. I really want to instill optimism,” Snee said.

Ultimately, what one must understand in the case of Alex Snee is the deeper meaning behind the music. “I think it’s enlightening to hear something that is a little more out of the ordinary, passionate, like bringing oxygen to fire. It really lightens up your whole day.”

What Snee does may seem small, but it’s brave. Not every person would want this type of attention.  Alex makes the choice to be visible on campus by sharing his music because the potential of catching people’s attention and inspiring them is worth it to him.

Individually, people may only be affected in a limited way by his music, but it is important to consider the possibilities of how many people a day he is reaching out to and encouraging. Maybe someone is having a bad day and suddenly that person hears his or her favorite song as Snee turns the corner, and suddenly, their entire day is different.

Snee is not just trying to play music, annoy people or be obnoxious. He is trying to inspire those around him to lead better and more positive lives. “The majority of songs I play are about love. The best way to inspire people is to encourage them in whatever they’re aspiring to do,” said Snee. “I think everyone wants to be inspired by love.”

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  • AnonymousJan 3, 2020 at 9:59 am


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The man behind the speakers: Story of the boombox backpack kid