Alumni Elec Simon’s Talent Took Him from UA to Broadway, but Proudest Moments Come from Helping Others Succeed

By Savannah Johns, Correspondent

Upon meeting Elec Simon for the first time, his experience on Broadway, role in a Golden Globe-nominated film and gig with the Cleveland Cavaliers may be what come to mind first. However, it was a long road before Simon met success.   

“Lace those boots up and keep walking up the hill,” Simon said. “Everybody’s not going to support what you’re doing; someone is always going to be negative.” 

Simon was born and raised in Steubenville, Ohio. His mom was a stage manager, so he watched musicians warm up in arenas and started playing drums in church as a kid. Simon was also involved in talent shows and tap dancing but was teased and bullied. He just kept lacing up his boots.

While at The University of Akron, Simon pledged the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, played football and cultivated his passion for drumming and performing.

“People used to… make fun of me and ask, ‘What is this dude doing on stage?’” he said. When he attended The University of Akron some of his classmates didn’t take him seriously, either.

What changed their minds? Simon’s turn in STOMP, which eventually appeared on HBO.

“When they found out I was in STOMP on HBO, that’s when everyone wanted to post me on Facebook saying, ‘I always knew you would make it, you was killin’ it in college,’” Simon said.

Simon spent ten years in New York City and touring the United States in the Off-Broadway show, which features a percussion group that uses everyday items and dance to create energizing beats to enhance the musical experience.

After STOMP, Simon started doing his own show called “Elec Simon’s Motivational Musical,” formatted as an assembly on life and bullying. He goes into schools and prisons to instruct people on the importance of persistence and being kind to everyone. During these assemblies, he brings in a full band to play music, entertain and motivate. 

Elec speaking at one of his Motivational Musical assemblies at a school.

“My best friend committed suicide at sixteen, so I came off the road to do that, to change lives that way in prisons, juvenile centers and colleges. That’s my main thing: doing life assemblies.”

Today, his focus is these assemblies. Nevertheless, he is still a member of the 216 Stix Drumline and plays at Cleveland Cavaliers games. He recently appeared in the film “Judas and the Black Messiah” and a national Blender’s Eyewear commercial.

Elec drumming at a Cleveland Cavaliers game. (Image via Elec Simon)

Simon is incredibly proud of his Ten Outstanding Young Americans (TOYA) award that he won in 2019. This award is given to those who exemplify the best attributes of young people and was also awarded to Elvis Presley and Bill Clinton. 

 When asked about his proudest accomplishment, Simon had a life lesson to share.

“To be honest with you,” he said, “I’m most proud of not giving up, because it gets hard. The accomplishments are cool, but I’m most proud that I never threw the towel in.”

His advice to college students is that not everybody is going to agree with you and not everybody is going to like you, so get over it and keep pushing. Persistence is the most important thing a person can exhibit.  

“There’s people that can’t stand me, and I love it because that’s what keeps me going.” 

To see Simon’s work, you can visit his Instagram or Tiktok @elecsimon.