Alex Fredkin, Arts Editor
On Monday, April 15 the Songwriters Club left the hills of Oneonta for the bright lights of Manhattan. The occasion—an open mic night at the iconic Sidewalk Cafe in East Village. The State Times spoke with three members of the club, Lowhency Pierre, Wade Mulvihill and Jacqueline Gutierrez, to find out what they learned from the experience.
Club President Lowhency Pierre said that the group took the trip to “extend the exposure and creditability of our school and club.” They discovered that although Oneonta might not have as large a music scene as New York City, the 11 members that took the trip can certainly hang with the big timers. The open mic is held every Monday with host Ben Krieger. On the night the club attended there were performers of all types: singers, poets, comedians, even magicians, and people of all ages as well.
But the aspiring songwriters were not intimidated by the stage. They remarked that many of the other performers sang mostly about cliches such as failed relationships, and lacked some variety. Vice President Wade Mulvihill was pleasantly surprised to find out that the themes of their group’s songs were different than the others. Coming to this realization, Mulvihill said, “I almost feel like we could have been the most varied…” While contemplating this idea, Pierre quickly chimed in “Not to toot our own horn.”
While the group is humble about their skills, they have the recognition to prove that a SUNY Oneonta student can match up with the aspiring songwriters in NYC. One of the members, Caleb Craig, was so impressive that he was asked if he wanted to be a part of his own show by the host. If a performer has enough potential, show host Krieger will ask the person if he or she wants to come back for a separate show. Craig is currently in talks with him now to organize the event and return to the Sidewalk Cafe. This type of recognition greatly impacts everyone involved, as club Treasurer Jacqueline Gutierrez explained, it is great representation for “the club, the school, and also the songwriter.”
Students that are interested in making their own music may be surprised to know that the Songwriters Club does not consist of just singer/songwriter types, or even of only Music Industry students. Some members of the club are poets, others are rappers, and some even focus solely on making beats and providing samples. Pierre and Mulvihill are a perfect match for each other, as they explained, because Pierre writes lyrics before hearing a melody and Mulvihill must write the music before being able to complete any lyrics. The two have worked together on a few songs, putting their differing skills together. The club is a perfect environment for cooperation between songwriters, and as Mulvihill put it, “We more or less try to develop the skills [of a songwriter] through collaboration, sharing, and ideas.”
If a student secretly writes lyrics themselves and does not think that they are good enough to be heard by others or even make it into a song, the club is for them as well. Pierre made sure to mention that some members are fashion students, biology, and even accounting students. People do not need to be only music industry majors to be musicians and to learn through the club. Members are given the opportunity to record their songs in a studio and perform at various showcases during the year as well. The club’s last showcase is this Friday at 7:30 in Fine Arts M201, and their new CD will be available at the venue.
Overall, the club provides complete support from the beginning to the end of a song-making process and affords a great learning experience for anyone who has even the slightest inclination to make their own music. Mulvihill summed it up by saying “No matter how experienced you are, there’s always something to learn from other songwriters.” Everyone has different processes and methods, and the Songwriter’s Club represents the perfect melting pot for people to realize their potential and craft great songs of their own.