(WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ) -- Blue Hawk Records is the student-run record label at Monmouth University. Since launching in 2013, the label has grown to where it regularly produces and releases records, coordinates live event showcases, and works on marketing strategies for artists. As part of the Music Industry curriculum at Monmouth University, the label is faced with the challenge of creating a professional studio album from start to finish. It's latest release (12th overall) is called After Midnight and drops on April 18 on iTunes, Spotify, and Soundcloud.
The album features six songs; 5 from Monmouth University students and a cover song of Eric Clapton’s “After Midnight,” featuring Monmouth University’s President Grey Dimenna, who happens to be a budding guitar player, faculty, and members of the Music Industry program. Here's a look at the artists behind the release.
Brad Kraft, 21, is a senior at Monmouth University from Marlboro, NJ. Brad is majoring in Biology with a concentration in Molecular Cell Physiology. He is a singer-songwriter who loves to play the guitar and ukulele. His original song, “Live it Up,” featuring Brad on guitar and vocals, will be featured on After Midnight. His favorite lyric from the song is “So what’s the point in living for the future when the present is a gift already here? Tell me which one is a greater number: zero motivation or a six pack of beer?” Brad’s inspirations include Neck Deep, Zebrahead, and The Wonder Years. When Brad graduates from Monmouth in the Spring, he will be attending St. George’s University to finish his education and study medicine.
Brianna Scangarello, 18, is a singer-songwriter from Manahawkin, NJ. This is her freshman year at Monmouth University, and she is majoring in the Music Industry. Brianna’s love for music started at a young age and she has been playing the piano since age 5. Her original song, “Hold on Close,” will be featured on After Midnight. The track consists of Brianna on vocals and piano, and Monmouth band, Malibu, on the drums, guitar, and bass. Brianna and Malibu worked collaboratively in the studio to bring the song to life. Her favorite lyric from the song is “Fool me once, shame on you. I promise this won’t be the end!” Her inspirations include Bea Miller and Coldplay.
Wynward is an alternative rock band from Ocean County, NJ. The band consists of Jim Mill, 31, Nick Abatemarco, 31, and John Capo, 32. Capo, from Point Pleasant, is the band’s drummer and the only member that studies at Monmouth University; he is majoring in computer science. Mill, from Brick, is the band’s guitarist and lead vocalist, and Abatemarco, also from Brick, is their bassist. Their song, “Give Up,” was chosen to be featured on After Midnight. On the song, the band collaborated lyrically and made sure that each member had an equal voice in the writing process. In addition to their song on After Midnight, the band also has a full-length album, Tides, available on iTunes and Spotify.
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FRANCESCA, 19, is a singer-songwriter from West Long Branch, NJ. She is currently a sophomore at Monmouth University, studying English and Creative Writing. In addition to songwriting, Francesca loves to play the guitar and ukulele. “P. T. L.,” an original by FRANCESCA, will be featured on After Midnight.
On the track, she is the vocalist and guitarist and she worked with another Monmouth student, William Biedbach, who produced the backing track. Her favorite lyric from the song is “He called me a rose and then baby, He let me wilt in his safety, won’t you please cure this disease?”
FRANCESCA has many inspirations that include Amy Winehouse, Sabrina Claudio, and Donna Summer.
Shadiyah Jai, Carlos Forde, and Drew Fournier worked collaboratively on their song “All on You.” The trio are all freshman at Monmouth University; Shadiyah and Drew study the Music Industry, while Carlos is a Criminal Justice major. Shadiyah, 18, is originally from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and plays the piano and flute. She is inspired by Jennifer Holiday and Luther Vandross. Drew, 19, is from Secaucus, NJ, and plays many instruments including the guitar, keyboard, as well as brass instruments. He is inspired by Chicago and Elvis. Carlos, 19, is from Otisville, NY and is a rapper inspired by Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole. The track consists of Drew as the musician, Carlos as the rapper, and Shadiyah as the vocalist.
Blue Hawk Records was founded by Joe Rapolla, a former senior executive at Universal and Warner Music Group, who is still currently active in the business. As part of the Music Industry major at Monmouth, the Applied Music Industry class creates a compilation album each semester where they audition talent, record and market artist, and organize live performances. Currently, the Applied Music Industry II class is releasing their twelfth compilation album, After Midnight, on April 18th. The album features six songs; 5 from Monmouth University students and a cover song of Eric Clapton’s “After Midnight,” featuring Monmouth University’s President Grey Dimenna, who happens to be a budding guitar player, faculty, and members of the Music Industry program.