Menon entered UNC as a mathematics major but switched to the music major after he decided it was his passion.
He plays classical violin.
He’s also a rapper. Menon’s rap alias, Kevin Venom, is an anagram for his name.
Menon began writing music in high school and has been rapping for close to two years.
In high school, he was inspired by rappers like Tyler, the Creator. He began writing raps as a joke but quickly realized how much he enjoyed it.
“As I got more into rapping, I realized I liked how possible it was to be as expressive as you wanted through the lyrics and really tell your own story,” Menon said.
Menon soon developed his own style and now raps about subjects like depression, anxiety and growing up as the child of immigrants.
“A lot of the songs aren’t the type of thing you would hear out at the club or on the radio or as, like, turn-up music,” Menon said.
He put out his first song as Kevin Venom during the summer before his first year of college. But he has been a musician for much longer.
“I’ve been playing the violin since I was 3,” he said. “Music has always been a part of my life, but until I came to UNC it was more of just a thing that I did because I’d always been doing it. Deep down, it was always my true passion, but it took a while and a lot of soul-searching to find that out.”
Menon’s friends are supportive of his career. His housemate, sophomore Sam DeHority, said he’s a fan.
“Most of his music is classical violin, so it’s interesting that his persona in the public eye is as a rapper,” DeHority said. “He’s taking something that already exists and doing something different with it, which is tied into his heritage, which I think is very interesting.”
DeHority also had some advice.
“I hope for the sake of music that he, or anyone else, doesn’t try to combine rap and violin,” he said. “If anyone could do it, it might be him, but I think he knows better than that.”
Menon also collaborates with other artists, like junior Braxton Crosby.
“He gets straight to the point,” Crosby said. “When he performs, he puts his whole heart into it. You can tell he means every word he says, and that’s very rare to find in music these days.”
Crosby also said Menon’s work was interesting.
“He’s very passionate and straightforward with all the stories that he tells,” he said. “He’s got a really great future in music.”
Menon’s upcoming album as Kevin Venom is entitled I eat stars now and shit. The name was derived from an inside joke between himself and a high school friend.
The album, set to release April 9, was finished in January after a year of production.
“I needed another creative outlet besides just playing classical music. I like doing it, but you can’t really be as expressive through playing a Beethoven piece as you can creating your own songs from scratch,” he said.
“That’s what drew me into it — the fact that I was really able to be myself and have complete control of the musical process.”