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Columbia alum Nick Muilaert releases new single ‘I Feel High’

Abra Richardson
Columbia alum and singer-songwriter Nick Muilaert poses for a portrait at Exile Bookstore located at 410 S. Michigan Ave. Muilaert released of his latest single “I Feel High” on Monday, March 18, 2024.

Columbia alum and singer-songwriter Nick Muilaert recently released his latest single “I Feel High” on Monday, March 18. 

Muilaert graduated from the college Spring 2023 after majoring in public relations and minoring in music business. Throughout his time in college, he wrote, produced and recorded two albums and 10 singles that he self-released to streaming services under his own label, Fire Island Records.

His upcoming single “I Feel High” was written in late 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic began to ease up on restrictions that stopped musicians from playing live shows. Muilaert said that the song was written in an optimistic place as he felt like the potential of live shows began to increase again. 

“At the time, things were very negative in the world and I wanted to write something that would help people be hopeful,” he said.  

Muilaert began performing the song at various live shows with his band The Society, one being the Metro for the college’s Biggest Mouth competition and observed the positive reactions from his audience. He recorded the song last May, around the time of his graduation, feeling that the song gained a new relevance with his optimism about his own future. 

Muilaert said he was in good spirits last year because he had just graduated. “I was ready to take on the world,” he said. “That’s really where this song comes from.”

In the midst of life’s ups and downs, you have that lightbulb moment, that everything is bright, he explained. “Everything’s going to be okay.” 

The message of “I Feel High” signals a shift in Muilaert’s intention for his music, with the theme aiming to create a wholly positive experience for the listener. 

“I’m moving more towards anthemic music,” Muilaert said. “Songs that are more positive that are trying to give hope for people.” 

Muilaert said he is often inspired by nostalgia and reminiscing on positive times. 

“A lot of my music is sort of looking at the beauty of the past and trying to bring that energy of that rose-colored vision of the past into the present,” he said. “It harkens to the good times.” 

He cites artists such as Mac DeMarco and The Beatles as musical inspirations. Genre-wise, Muilaert is inspired by Brazilian, soul, blues and rock styles. 

“I try to take inspiration from a lot of different genres,” he said. “I try to put everything in there somewhat. I try to really pay homage to my influences.”

David Dolak, a professor in the Science and Mathematics Department, came to know Muilaert through his class “Science of Musical Instruments” and his involvement in Acoustic Kitchen. Dolak has run the Acoustic Kitchen program, which is a monthly open mic event, for over 20 years. 

Muilaert began attending and performing at the Acoustic Kitchen events during his time at the college and developed a connection with Dolak through it. Dolak said he witnessed Muilaert’s development as a performer during his experience playing at the Acoustic Kitchen events. 

“He’d definitely shown good stage presence, good songs [that] he wrote,” he said. “He was already becoming a seasoned performer and playing places.”

Dolak said that Muilaert stood out among his peers for his performance and songwriting abilities. 

“He just was one of the good performers, I get them every so often,” Dolak said. “He got better, but he was already good.”

Ian Jake Robleza met and became friends with Muilaert through attending Acoustic Kitchen at the college. Robleza, who majored in audio arts with a concentration in music recording and a minor in philosophy, graduated from the college in December and is a singer-songwriter as well. 

Robleza said that Muilaert’s music immediately stuck out to him upon seeing him perform. 

“His vocals evoke this nostalgic feeling inside of you,” Robleza said. “I think his music is very eclectic in that way.” 

Robleza said he hopes that as his friend continues to pursue music, Muilaert “continues to get the recognition that he deserves.”  

Muilaert said he wants listeners to take away an uplifting message from “I Feel High.”

“I want people to listen to something and feel positive because I feel like there’s a lot of negativity out there,” he said.

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About the Contributors
Avery Heeringa
Avery Heeringa, Former Reporter
aheeringa@columbiachronicle.com   Avery Heeringa is a senior communications major, minoring in journalism. Heeringa has reported on the college's unions and events on-campus. He was also the editor-in-chief of ChicagoTalks. Heeringa worked for the Chronicle from December 2023 through May 2024.   Hometown: St. Paul, Minnesota
Abra Richardson
Abra Richardson, Former Senior Photojournalist
arichardson@columbiachronicle.com   Abra Richardson is a senior photojournalism major and has covered Chicago music festivals, fashion and metro protests. She joined the Chronicle in August 2021.   Hometown: Palatine, Illinois