When he’s not using his Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree to crunch numbers for his newly established business, Eric Armitage ’17 can be found dropping beats as a local hip-hop talent whose time at SUNY Poly helped him realize his lifelong dream.
A native of Holland Patent, Eric found his niche in hip-hop after being introduced to late ‘90s and early 2000s artists like Eminem, Big L and Nas.
“It’s always been one of those things I was really interested in as a kid and it became my go-to hobby in high school,” Eric said. “During college, I ended up taking it more seriously.”
He built a home studio and, with the help of Adobe Audition and YouTube tutorials, began creating his own projects while learning the basics of recording, editing, and producing.
After graduating from Holland Patent high school in 2013, Eric enrolled in Mohawk Valley Community College’s Associate in Applied Science in Accounting program with a dream to turn his passion for music into something he could do for a living.
“I figured it would be a good way to set up a foundation of understanding of business and being able to grasp those types of ideas if I was ever going to take music more seriously, which I did,“ he said. “It came in handy.”
Eric transferred to SUNY Poly in 2015 after graduating from MVCC where he met up with childhood friend and Computer and Information Science major Jack Redmond ’17. The pair, who had known each other since fifth grade, soon discovered their passion for hip-hop was mutual.
In 2018, Jack and Eric decided to form a business named after an apartment the pair shared on Baker Avenue in Utica dubbed, “Tha Bakery,” which offers audio recording, engineering, videography, and photography for local artists throughout the Mohawk Valley and Central New York.
They quickly brought on clients including Turning Stone Resort Casino’s Lava Nightclub and hip-hop artist Malik “LeekyXIV” Johnson ’19, another SUNY Poly alumnus and former student athlete whose name pays homage to his jersey number as captain of SUNY Poly Wildcats’ men’s basketball team.
LeekyXIV and Eric, who goes by the artist name “Generic,” performed at F.X. Matt Brewery’s Saranac Thursday showcase in September 2018.
“I was really happy they gave us the opportunity to perform hip-hop music rather than what they usually do and it really was cool to be on the big stage there,” Eric said.
The entrepreneur credits SUNY Poly with giving him the tools and knowledge he needed to work alongside his full-time accounting career to pursue his passion.
“I think the education I got at SUNY Poly was a really good tool that helped me financially understand where I was at through college and what I needed to be doing in terms of starting a business,” he said. “It was necessary to progress forward with everything.”
He encourages faculty, staff, alumni, and local artists to visit Tha Bakery to browse the company’s array of services, including video production work and a new clothing line with local artists’ branding.