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The multi-genre artist

It’s never easy being the little guy – especially in the music industry.

As recording companies grab a mere handful of carefully selected groups attempting to “make it big,” other starving musicians continue to seek their 15 minutes of fame.

But not Derek Lorin.

“(Music) is the love-of-my-life hobby,” Lorin said. “I’m not looking to go get huge and famous.”

The Lakeland resident works at the Lakeland Police Department as a family youth counselor, while performing and recording music on the weekends and in his spare time.

“I work so I can go out and record music,” Lorin said. It started at the age of three, when Lorin began singing and studying different instruments.

“I liked the attention,” he said.

As a child, Lorin traveled with his siblings across the southeastern United States, performing gospel-oriented music at venues such as churches and summer camps. During his college years, Lorin weaved in and out of local bands, but remained unsatisfied.

“I haven’t found anyone who is on the same wavelength as I am,” Lorin said.

While attending graduate school at USF, Lorin saw the Crash Test Dummies on campus for $5. According to Lorin, this event was a calling that caused him to embark upon his solo career.

“USF was a catalyst for me to start again,” he said.

Four years later, Lorin has recorded two CDs and is currently in the studio preparing a third.

To characterize Derek Lorin’s music would be impossible.

His lyrics are inspired by everything from social issues and human emotions to philosophical literature. The influence of 80s groups such as The Police and U2 is evident in Lorin’s music, although he adds ethnic and tribal melodies into the mix to create his own “multi-genre” music style.

“I pretty much record any sound in any way that seems to fit the song or what I want to hear,” Lorin said. “I don’t limit myself.” Lorin said because his style of music is often incapable of being categorized, he has run into some problems.

“It’s threatening to a degree because people can’t pigeonhole it into a certain style,” Lorin said. “Bars and clubs want Top 40 rock and pop, and anyone a little different from that style, they tend to shy away from. It’s not readily acceptable.”

Despite this stereotype, Lorin has played at venues such as coffeehouses, nursing homes, churches and car shows. He said churches tend to be attracted to his music because of its clean nature.

Lorin practices and records at his Lakeland home, where he has a digital recording studio and is working on his third album. His brother and local musicians have added to the musical experience on his tracks.

While recording his third album, Lorin has had little time to perform.

Especially since he has began his own record label.”I’m one of those independent musicians who’s frustrated with the music world,” he said.

Lorin’s label, Bonehead Records, is currently in the legal process of becoming a member of the American Society of Composers and Publishers, under which the label must be licensed. Lorin is finalizing the necessary paperwork and is planning to release his next album on his label. He said depending on the financial situation of the label in the future, he may sign one band that he thinks deserves a shot at the music industry.

He also handles his own marketing and promotion.

Some of Lorin’s songs were played in the UK after he made friends with someone who had heard his music. He has continued to place his songs on music-sharing Web sites, such as Napster, and sends demos to college stations.

Through all of the hassles of constructing and maintaining his own music career, Lorin shows growth in his music. He said the first CD, which was a demo, consisted of simple lyrics and melodies, mixed with an instrumental, acoustical and “bass-pop” sound.

In the second album, titled Anima~tronic, the lyrics move to a darker and more introspective side, according to Lorin.

“They’re more reality-based,” he said.

Lorin’s third album will be titled Piece of Mind, and he said he has moved to more of a dark moody-pop. According to Lorin, each song addresses a different issue and has something to say, so he decided the songs were representing a piece of his mind – hence the title.

“It’s like a little soapbox,” he said.

In the future, Lorin hopes to tour regularly as a solo artist while advancing his skills in producing and recording.

Until then, Lorin continues to be an underdog in the music industry. But as long as he can create his music, he’s not complaining.