As a student from 2009-2014 at Millersville University, Milan Credle studied social work while dabbling with a passion of music on the side. Little did he know that this passion would result in a career with his first album debuting at none-other than Millersville’s Ware Center—a performing arts center in downtown Lancaster.

Credle’s rap album debut served as one portion of a community hip-hop event entitled the Rise Festival that took place on June 1. With 150-200 people in attendance, the positive vibes of this event served as a great experience for all rap and hip-hop enthusiasts.

With songs including “Waves,” “Hustle II,” “Intro,” “Focused,” “Bittersweet,” and “Take Me To Pluto,” Credle says his album details the pain and struggle he has overcome in his life.

Credle was not the only performer at the Rise Festival with ties to Millersville University. Other acts included Millersville junior and communications theatre student, Jon Saeso and previous Millersville student, Velkro LaStrange. This is no coincidence though, since LaStrange and Saeso met Credle in college.

“I wanted to give [LaStrange and Saeso] a platform to work hard and push their music the way I did, if not harder and further,” said Credle. “When I was a senior, they were freshman, with incredible talent. So with my wife and I sticking around in Lancaster, I was able to continue to build with them, and I now call them little brothers.”

LaStrange is originally from a tribe called the Madinkos in Sierra Leone, West Africa. His music channels his humble beginnings. As a tribe that believes that music is a way to heal people, LaStrange describes his vibe as “soul music” that touches people’s spirits and uplifts them.

“[The Rise Festival] was actually my first time performing in the city and it was one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve had so far as an artist. I really felt one with the audience and it felt as if I was creating currents of waves in the ocean and they followed and danced along to my music,” said LaStrange.

Saeso, on the other hand, became involved with music at a young age through seeing his older brother’s interest in rap.

“I’m very unapologetic about my faith and very open about my struggles,” said Saeso.  He describes his music as vulnerable, passionate and truthful.

“Milan Credle has impacted my music a lot. We’ve been friends for around six years now and he’s showed me a lot of tricks from performance, to how to master and mix, and how to build a song,” said LaStrange.

As these three artists continue their voyage in the music industry, they will look back on their time at Millersville as an essential part of their journey.

“[My education at Millersville] shaped my heart for people in general. I make music from my heart and soul to touch the people. I take all the things I’ve learned and apply it to why I make music. The content in education I got from Millersville, I believe enhances my heart because I grew in knowledge and my abilities and skills as a person,” concluded Credle.

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