Singing Praises - David Cirino ’04

Rapper, songwriter ties musical success to business degree

Photo: Mike Peters

Within eight years of graduating, David Cirino ’04 went from business student to singer, songwriter, rapper, music producer and engineer. While his latest accomplishments—releasing a mixed tape titled Dragon Theory and getting one of his songs played on NBC’s sitcom Up All Night—may seem a far cry from his information systems degree, Cirino credits his success to his time at Montclair State. “I didn’t realize how it shaped me until I was done. For instance, knowing so much about computers helped me build my studio,” he says.

Early in life, Cirino found his passion in music, but while in college his parents wanted him to choose something more practical. “I wanted to major in music, but my parents said ‘no.’ Business was a logical choice…I’m happy they had me do it.” In terms of being an entrepreneur, “I feel like I am in the beginning stages. I stumbled into it.”

While not directly involved with music programs on campus, Cirino spent his time after class writing songs on a keyboard in his room. “Montclair is where I found myself, where my creativity came out as an artist,” he says, adding that coming from a small town, he felt shy when he arrived. “I got a lot of confidence there.”

Cirino fondly recalls faculty members who inspired him during his time at Montclair State. His former marketing professor, Ralph DiPietro, opened his mind. “He was very funny and always spoke his mind. I will never forget that,” says Cirino, who still comes back to campus for events. Richard Peterson, his former advisor, mentored him and helped show him the way while at the University.

Cirino recently signed a contract with Muzak, Inc., a company that will get his songs distributed as background music in retail chains and is excited at the prospect. He has also partnered with a licensing company, Aperture Music, is shopping around new singles for commercial placement and is working to put together a DVD series similar to his YouTube tutorials on songwriting, production and audio engineering.

Cirino says he also owes his success to his faith, hard work and a little risk-taking. “In life, a lot of people get stuck in the system,” he says. “When you’re young, you have time to take the risks. If you have a dream, you have to pursue it 100 percent. Give it time. And when I say ‘time,’ I mean at least one year.”