After serving in different positions for three years, senior Natalie Sakoi is finally ready to take on the biggest gig in Limelight.
Listening to strong female artists like Sara Bareilles, Taylor Swift, Adele and the Dixie Chicks was a staple of Natalie Sakoi’s childhood and has continued to remain a large part of her life.
But perhaps it was her mother changing the lyrics of famous show tunes and singing to her that truly sparked the Elon senior’s passion for music.
From starring in musicals to writing her own music, Sakoi has always known that she belonged in the music industry. But growing up, her professional path seemed to be challenged by forks in the road.
Sakoi thought she would pursue a career in psychology, but it wasn’t until she began touring colleges and learning about their psychology programs that she realized she needed to work and study in a more creative environment.
“I toured a college and they were talking about the psychology program, and I knew then I needed to find out about music programs,” she said. “I need to be an artist and be in a creative space.”
Sakoi narrowed her choices to schools with music production programs, and Elon was the top contender.
Once she arrived, already having declared her Music Production major, she was quick to get her hands dirty in Elon’s very own record label, Limelight. It was this organization that truly made her realize that her future was in music.
“Music didn’t have to be fun, it could be my career,” she said.
Thinking that singing and performing were the avenues she wanted to pursue, Sakoi auditioned as an artist for Limelight. But she was turned down, which wound up being a silver lining for her future, as it led her, she said, to the “managerial side” of music.
A musician and singer-songwriter, Sakoi is still passionate about creating music, but she now knows her career will be built on her passion for helping others produce and share their music.
Her commitment to Limelight dates all the way back to her first year. She began in a marketing position and then served as vice president of media for two years. So, naturally, running for president seemed like the next step.
Seeing a few presidents come and go even allowed Sakoi to better understand how she could be an effective leader and what she was prepared to change moving forward.
“I just knew I wanted to give all I had to the organization that meant so much to me and that had been such an integral part of my Elon experience,” she said. “I just wanted to continue to see it grow and help in the best way I knew possible.”
She said she takes a great deal of pride in the organization, especially in the ways it operates as a professional record label.
“We take record labels that exist in the real world and we mimic that structure with our on-campus record label, so I also like to see how that parallels,” she said.
It’s safe to say that Sakoi has her hands full, as her on-campus involvement extends far beyond her executive position in the organization.
In addition to being president of Limelight, Sakoi works two on-campus jobs and serves as the co-chair of Elon’s Leading Women in Audio Conference. It’s a hectic life, but her love for everything she does is the reason all of the chaos – which Sakoi always keeps organized, nonetheless – is never “hard” for her.
“I love everything that I do and I wouldn’t give up anything I do because it all matters equally to me,” she said. “I have so many ideas and so much drive to do it.”
Similarly, Sakoi never thinks twice about having to do “work” for Limelight, as her passion for music and the organization makes all of the hard work seem like nothing … sort of.
“I think music is one of the things that brings people together and can make you feel so much,” she said. “Whether it’s a DJ at Tap House or an acoustic singer-songwriter at Oak House, music is something that everyone enjoys and can bond over.”