It can be hard to pinpoint social media director Onur Toper. He enjoys long walks and the stillness of Bapst Library on Sundays. He is constantly caught up on the latest news stories and gives careful thought before trying new restaurants. Onur refuses to wear bright colors and holds a mysterious pride for his hometown of South Bend.
Onur’s choices in music suggest that he is often reflective about the relationships he’s made and ambitious about what’s to come in the future. The tracks he chose for his playlist demonstrate Onur’s longing and desire to be undeniably himself.
These qualities manifest in his music taste and open a window for listeners to walk in his shoes.
Airy vocals and upbeat music—fit for Onur’s strong walking tempo—shine in his crafted playlist. He begins it with his favorite artist Lorde. Her song “The Path” starts the journey that Onur is taking listeners through.
“The Path” is dreamy and nostalgic with lyrics as cryptic as Onur can be. Both indulge in opportunities to be enigmatic.
“Arm in a cast at the museum gala / Fork in my purse to take home to my mother,” Lorde sings.
Onur disappeared one day on a trip to Washington, D.C. alone, only to post pictures of his trip into The White House and photos with famed news reporters on Instagram after going completely AWOL. Another time, Onur urgently asked me to go with him to the airport, where we ran into Turkish opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. Strangely, photos of our encounter soon surfaced in Turkish media.
As I became friends with Onur this semester working for The Heights, it became clear what values he holds as important. Onur cares most for consistency and loyalty. He can keep a secret and expects the same of everyone he confides in.
So his choice to include George Michael’s “Freedom! ’90” shocked me at first, as I had not known Onur to be anything other than a Lorde and Coldplay fan. But as I listened to the 1990 hit, it became immediately clear why he had chosen the track.
“May not be what you want from me / Just the way it’s got to be / Lose the face now / I’ve got to live,” Michael sings to conclude the song.
These lyrics speak to Onur, who is constantly looking ahead to his future aspirations and goals, both personally and in his career. He expects great things of himself and settles for no less than a future cottage just outside of D.C.
After a slew of Coldplay songs, a band that he mentioned becoming interested in recently, Onur’s playlist turns to Ludovico Einaudi’s contemporary classical piece “Almost June.” Just like Coldplay’s “Green Eyes,” the piano piece has a wistful quality to it.
Turkish star Edis Görgülü, who goes by the stage name EDIS, breaks up the pace of the playlist with upbeat and striking beats in “Martılar.” The song also reflects Onur’s strong connection with Turkey, his parents’ home country.
Kendrick Lamar’s “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” is a surprising addition to the playlist and displays a side to Onur that is always keeping on the move and looks ahead beyond his past.
“I can feel the changes / I can feel a new life,” Lamar raps.
He ends his playlist with “Ribs” by Lorde. Its open and spacey sound complements the rest of his playlist. It’s sad and heavy, with lyrics about what is lost when growing up.
“Sharing beds like little kids / And laughing ’til our ribs get tough / But that will never be enough,” Lorde sings.
Once you get to know Onur, he may readily tell you that he increased The Heights’ Facebook engagement, or what the odds are in Georgia’s upcoming runoff election.
If you are friends with Onur, he may remember to buy you a souvenir from his many travels across the world. Perhaps it may be a gift from Turkey, such as a nazar amulet to hang in your dorm room or Eyüp Sabri Tuncer lemon-scented hand wipes for every meal you have the privilege of having with him.
There’s one thing that Onur will pay attention to when reading this iEdit. He’s on the lookout for the optics. Hopefully he approves and his future employers at The White House do too.