Just a year ago, Bradford high school senior Ethan Hart was gearing up to attend college for video game development in the fall.
But as the pandemic lingered on, he decided to postpone his acceptance by a year so he could get the full campus experience with in-person classes.
But while being stuck at home during the lockdowns, he discovered a new passion — music.
"I've always liked listening to music, but I never considered making music," he said.
Hart started making his own music online for fun, rapping to beats he had created online.
"I thought it was fun and I decided to keep working on it," he said.
When COVID hit and lockdowns ensued, Hart had more time to focus on his music. He recorded his first single Joker in his bedroom and released it in March 2020. Since then he has recorded an album REGRET with 17 tracks, which was released in February 2021.
Hart goes by the artist name AxR, with his music available on all major streaming platforms.
After investing a lot of time into his music writing and producing, he decided to switch gears. He told his parents he didn't want to study video game design anymore and started applying to post-secondary schools that would help him with his music career.
He was accepted into the two-year recording engineering program is at Canadore College in North Bay. The program will allow him to learn the basics of recording and mixing techniques and acquire the skills necessary to work in the music industry.
He is nervous but excited about starting the next chapter of his life as a college student.
"You got to get out of that shell at some point," he said. "When I go to school and come home, I want to be able to have an experience to write an album about."
Depending on the mood he is in, it can take him anywhere from two hours to two weeks to write a song. He connected with producers, engineers, and distributors through colleagues at his part-time retail job. He is keeping busy and recording songs every few weeks with his two engineers, who he says help make his songs "come to life."
"A lot of my discography is experimental," he explained. "I want to be able to tell stories through my albums."
So far he has released one music video for Boy That Could and is hoping to release a few more before heading off to college this fall.
He says his inspiration comes from real experiences with relationships and considers his style pop-rap. His musical influences are Juice WRLD and The Kid Laroi.
Currently, his trending songs right now on Spotify are Boy That Could, Masked Up, Player and Fomo.
He recently released a new track Kiss&Tell and hopes to release a new single sometime in June.
And while COVID has taken away a lot of special moments for Hart, like high school prom and graduation, he says if it wasn't for the pandemic, he probably wouldn't have discovered his calling for music.
Hart says he is thankful for his parents who have been supportive of his new music career.
"I just want to be able to make a living off what I enjoy doing," he said.
To check out some of Hart's music on Sound Cloud click here. You can also follow him on Instagram @_3th0_.