By AKANKSHA SAH
On January 15 during Office Hours, Cameron Rafati, from his band, Cameron the Public, spoke to excited UHS students as a part of the Speaker Series program. Cameron the Public is a high energy pop-rock band that has opened for artists including Imagine Dragons and Jason Derulo, and whose music has been featured in television shows including Grey’s Anatomy and Teen Wolf.
Rafati spoke about the difficulties he encountered as a young man trying to follow his dreams. Growing up in a family in which mainstream jobs in medicine, law, or business were valued as the ideal goal, Rafati felt compelled to leave his dream of becoming a singer behind. When he originally created a band and played at his school, he was made fun of by the “jocks,” and felt the need to become one of them to be accepted. Rafati said, “When you’re an artist, it’s very difficult to stand above the noise, so I decided to join it. I worked out, did well in school, and when I got out of college, I was spit out into the world as an artist in my heart, but a societal businessman.”
Finally, after several years working as a successful real estate agent, Rafati decided that he wanted to follow his dreams, and he quit his job and traveled the country in his van, singing in random venues across America. “That’s when I truly started living my dream,” he said. “I had to leave a job that my father approved of and leave my reliable paychecks and truly start again before I was able to become the singer in my band today. Our generation sits here, and we dream all day long… we have this delusion that if we sit there and dream – just dream – it’s going to come true, but, the thing is, you have to be willing to work and die for your dream.”
Rafati gave this advice to the students attending the Speaker Series: “You’re essentially in a kung-fu movie right now; math is like throwing stars, English is like nunchucks, PE is like your ‘Hi-yah!’s. When you get out into the world, though, you need to combine those skills with your passion to be a successful warrior for your dream.”
The singer’s overarching message was that people should always follow their own dreams and passions, because that is the only way that their lives will be successes in their own eyes. Vignesh Iyer (So.) said after the Speaker Series, “I’ve heard a lot of speeches about following your passions and being inspired, but today I learned what it actually means to do so.”