This post was authored by Jennifer Moser, Data Platform Community Lead, Microsoft
Atlanta-based Homer McEwen has been a database administrator for more than 20 years. But it’s what he does in his spare time that makes McEwen, aka KillaDBA, a little different. The husband and father of three writes and records songs about SQL Server, the platform that helps power the travel company he works for. We sat down with KillaDBA and learned about everything from his top musical influences to his reaction when he found out he’d be performing at SQL Saturday in Redmond on April 15. After talking with him and hearing his music, even we’re seeing SQL Server in a whole new light.
Q: Why did you decide to write songs about technology?
A: I’ve always loved music. I was in the choir as a kid, played drums in high school, and before becoming a developer and database administrator, I worked for an independent record label. The company I work for now, BCD Travel, uses SQL Server as its main database platform, and as a DBA, I’m responsible for understanding all of its features and benefits. I found that putting a musical framework around the things I needed to learn helped me remember them better. And if these songs helped me, I figured they could help others using the SQL Server platform. It’s also a way for me to give back to the SQL community.
Q: When did you write your first technology song?
A: I didn’t get serious until last year. I’ve written songs in the past and had talked about writing and recording technology-focused songs for years. I even teased one of my fellow DBAs that we needed to start a band at work. But it wasn’t until my birthday last summer that I made the decision to blend my passion for music and technology.
Q: What kind of feedback have you received so far?
A: I’ve gotten lots of positive feedback from people, both in technical fields and non-technical fields. It’s really overwhelming to hear people who aren’t even in IT say good things about my music. Peers, friends and even complete strangers have expressed how much they enjoy my songs. It made me realize that I might really be onto something here.
Q: Which performers are you influenced by?
A: I have a pretty wide range of influences. I love Stevie Wonder, Outkast, Adam Levine and Maroon 5, Billy Joel, Peter Gabriel and Genesis, and Earth, Wind & Fire. And Dolly Parton and Lionel Richie because of their great songwriting ability. I’m a huge fan of songwriters. It’s just so cool to create something from nothing.
Q: Are you working on any new songs right now?
A: I just posted a new song two weeks ago called “Backup and Recovery.” I’m also writing a song called “I’m in Love With an IT Girl” about a developer and DBA working on a project together and falling in love. You can check out my other songs, “Microsoft SQL Server 2016,” “Types of Indexes” and “Data Protection Song,” if you want a little sneak preview before SQL Saturday.
Q: Any long-term goals for KillaDBA?
A: I’d love to be able to do something really big with my music. Ultimately, I’d like to reach mainstream audiences and teach them about technology through my songs. Creating tutorials through song, and performing in front of IT people, would also be at the top of my list. I’ve even considered writing a musical about technology — and who knows how far that could go.
Q: What has been the most amazing thing about this experience?
A: Having the opportunity to perform for the SQL community in Seattle and sharing my passion for technology and music are the greatest things so far. Music is a powerful tool that speaks to people, and I look forward to finding new ways to use it.
Don’t miss your chance to meet KillaDBA performing live on campus April 15 at 4 p.m. We look forward to seeing you at this exciting event featuring free training for Microsoft data platform professionals, plus engaging speakers, raffles and prizes.
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