Elder grad living his dream Ethan Jackson ‘12 Growing up we all have dreams. As young boys, want to play in the NFL or NBA. We all used to lower our basketball hoops, pretending we were making the game winning dunk. If not, you probably dreamed of being a firefighter or policemen, especially if that is your father’s occupation. Some of us see our favorite singers and musicians performing on stage and want to emulate them. Personally I have been through “stages” of what I have dreamed of being when I am older. My father is an accountant; however, I have never really aspired to follow that path. Now that we are older those dreams may or may not turn into passions. For Eric Tepe, he has turned his two biggest passions, writing and music, into an aspiring career. After Eric graduated from Elder he moved on to become a Bearcat at the University of Cincinnati. Eric played baseball and was eventually cut as a walk on, so he saw an increase in free time. He started to teach himself how to play guitar. He learned by playing a few basic chords, and in a few weeks, was playing songs. From there he fell in love with playing and writing music. A year later, Eric had a wide range of cover and original material that he had mastered and he began playing acoustic shows at The Blue Note. While learning his way around music, he managed to graduate from UC with a double major in Finance and Marketing, and with a minor in accounting. After graduation, Eric landed a job as a Financial Analyst at LPK, which is an international design agency. After changing jobs within LPK, Eric eventually found himself in the creative sector of the agency, where he wrote and created his own work. Eric told me, “I have always been creatively driven, however, and along the way, found that my passion revolved around influencing content directly from the frontline vs. operating in a behind the scene role.” Eric seems to be the guy who likes to be in control. He rather be out on the frontline rather than sitting back watching everything unfold. This makes perfect sense when he decided to move out west, to Los Angeles, to further his career. I asked Eric why he made such a move, he responded, “ I would be BS’ing you if I said my move to LA was part of a 5-year plan. It would even be a stretch to say I have a solid grasp of what the next few years of my life will entail. But, this “undefined trajectory” is what gets me going each morning.” Around this time last year, Eric was still employed with LPK, and his band mates were starting to grow restless. “My band had determined they would give it one more year to make something happen. My life felt predictable, a bit too safe, and I felt like I was running out of things to be passionate about. That’s when a co-worker put me in touch with a Cincinnati based modeling and talent agency where I signed a local contract. One thing lead to another and within a month I was visiting talent agencies in LA, reenergized and hoping for an opportunity to attack the entertainment world from inside the castle walls.” Eric found an agency he could sign with in LA, but he had to move out there. Once he moved out west, he found work with CESD, a talent agency. He routinely goes auditioning for roles, and landed a commercial with Toyota that ran during the Super Bowl. Eric still writes music, performs on stage, and tries to increase his skill set as performer. “ I am knocking on a whole range of ‘doors’ and not sure which ones will open or what will be on the other side. I’m in discovery mode, and working to uncover the right path.” Our love for our passions can make us do strange things. What is true however is that once you find your niche, you must give it your all. One thing that struck me when talking with Eric was when he said this, “ Also the idea about taking every opportunity and sometimes even creating opportunity on your own applies to this story, which lines up nicely with “What I had I Gave, What I Saved I Lost”” A Panther knows this, and it truly applies. Be sure to check out Eric’s band on the social media sites: www.ETBmusic.com and @EricTepeBand.