Kenya Bankhead, Sydni Dingle & Caroline Edwards

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — The Winthrop University music department has allowed many students to strengthen and share their musical talents, both in and outside of the classroom.

For James Amaker II, a freshman music education major, the program has enabled him to create and experiment with his craft.

“I’ve been able to connect and create with so many students,” said Amaker, who was a guest on the Palmetto Report podcast.

Amaker, who has been creating music since he was 16 years old, said he feels his musical talents have only grown since arriving at Winthrop.

“I’ve always been surrounded by music, my entire life. My whole family did music, so that’s what I wanted to do, that’s still what I want to do,” he said.

“One of the things that inspires me to make music is the interactions of what my music could do for someone, as well as the people it could reach.”

He said it would be difficult to describe his music as one specific style, but he wants people to be able to hear his soulful range and interpret the meaning of his songs in a way that best speaks to them.

“I’m not going to say everybody is going to enjoy my music, but I feel like I put so much of myself into it that it’s going to hard for you not (enjoy it),” he said.

Amaker, who also performs as a tenor in the Winthrop choir, said he’s excited about the opportunities to perform at Winthrop, such as at a recent open mic night at Dina’s Place in the DiGiorgio Campus Center.

“Seeing students at Winthrop turn up to my music was a cool experience,” he said.

Amaker says he also enjoys being part of the growing music scene in Rock Hill, where he’s been able to connect with other passionate artists.

He said he hopes to continue to find a balance between school and music, as he wants to be able to release music on a consistent basis throughout the year.

You can find his music on a number of different streaming platforms, including Spotify.