Getting a college degree is no easy task, especially during COVID-19, when most schools and colleges have resorted to online classes. Now, imagine balancing a musical career while simultaneously pursuing an economics and management degree at a prestigious California university, like UC Irvine.

BLEAM is doing just that, as a college student by day and an up-and-coming electronic music producer by night. In his short career, he has performed many times and played alongside many popular electronic artists such as DVBBS, JOYRYDE, Firebeatz, Masego, Ayokay and more.

Recently, BLEAM launched a COVID-19 relief campaign, creating personalized remixes for each donation, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to No Kid Hungry and the CDC Foundation. Most everyone has been affected by COVID-19 and the stress that comes with quarantine and social distancing. BLEAM saw this situation as the perfect setting to use his musical ability to help those in need. In a span of just a few days, BLEAM spent countless hours raising money for COVID-19 relief by creating personalized remixes on Instagram for over 65 people.

BLEAM, who also goes by Ryan Eshaghi, spoke to Irvine Weekly about balancing school and DJing, his COVID-19 relief campaign, and his plans for the future.

Photo by Rusteen Haghi

IRVINE WEEKLY: Where are you from and how long have you been DJing?

BLEAM: I’m from Irvine, California, and I’ve been DJing for about a year now, and producing for a little over two.

How would you describe your music?

My music is a bit all over the place. I started off producing melodic electronic music at first and then transitioned into house music. The originals I’ll be releasing are a culmination of tech, bass, melodic house and techno. My primary goals with my music are to get you dancing and to create emotion, whether it be lyrical or musical.

What made you want to do the COVID-19 relief campaign?

I think music has the power to bring people together. A while ago, I jokingly posted on my snapchat story to “screenshot if you want me to make you a mix video.” Over 50 people screenshotted that story and I spent hours making custom mixes for my friends and sending them out.

Fast-forward a few months and we are now in a deadly pandemic, with most of us quarantined at home. I figured I could use my platform to practice some live set ideas while also raising money for those in need during this pandemic; so, I posted on my Instagram that you could Venmo me either $5 or $10 for one or two custom-made mix transitions that would be posted to my Instagram story. Tons of people ended up donating and we gave the proceeds to No Kid Hungry and The CDC Foundation. Special thank you to everyone who participated!

Photo by Rusteen Haghi

How has COVID-19 affected you personally?

I personally know three people who have contracted the virus. One of them is a friend from high school who studied abroad last quarter, and the other two I met in college through my school’s startup incubator. It came as a bit of a shock because just a couple months ago the U.S. approached this situation without even the slightest bit of caution, and now millions of people are infected. It’s sad to see we live in a country that has taken horrible prevention measures to fight this thing, and I pray for those who are the most prone to suffering from it. Stay isolated!

How do you see your career progressing, especially with the newfound struggles that come with COVID-19?

I’m currently in my last quarter at UC Irvine and have been exploring work opportunities for the summer and beyond in the technology and blockchain space. As far as music goes, right now I’m focused on creating and releasing my own stuff. Club shows won’t start up again until later in 2021 so I think right now all I can do is work and make music. I am passionate about science and new technology, as well as environmental sustainability. If I can integrate those topics somehow with music throughout my career, that would be ideal.

Do you have any other philanthropic endeavors planned for the future?

I plan on doing frequent campaigns that donate to causes and issues I am passionate about. My next one will probably go toward ocean conservation efforts, like Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. I’m a big sushi lover, and enjoy being out on the beach/water. It’s only right that we protect and rehabilitate our oceans.

What’s your next single coming out?

My next single coming out is titled “Antigua” and it will be on all platforms May 14. I’ve been working on it for a while now and co-wrote it with my friend Spencer (aka KAZLO), and am excited to share it with the world. I also have another single called “Soul Searching” coming out on June 10 that has a more emotional and atmospheric vibe to it.

Follow BLEAM on Instagram.

Check out all of the COVID-19 Relief mixes in this highlight.

His new single New Age is now streaming on Spotify.