While Music Row is well known for its production of albums, hit singles and award-winning collaborations, neighbors can expect to hear more sounds of theatrical scores as Belmont’s Ocean Way Nashville becomes the premiere spot for video game score production. Nashville is no longer home to just country music stars and frequent live shows – the video game scoring industry has taken a liking to Music City and with Ocean Way at the helm, the recordings and their awards continue to stack up.
Since its purchase by Belmont University in 2001, Ocean Way Nashville has become a leader in the music production industry, both locally and globally, and in recent years, the studio has produced a number of scores for popular games that have gone on to accumulate a number of national recognitions. At the 2014 GANG (Game Audio Network Guild) Awards, “The Last of Us,” a best-selling game with score composed by Gustavo Santaoello and recorded at Ocean Way, won Best Audio. In March 2014, the studio scored “Dragon Age Inquisition” by famed composer Trevor Morris, which went on to win the 2015 D.I.C.E. Awards Game of the Year.
Director of Belmont’s Ocean Way Studios Patrick McMakin said media music – music recorded for film, television, video games, etc. – is quickly becoming a large part of the music business and because of that, Ocean Way has opened its doors to a diverse set of projects. Through this diversification, McMakin said the studio has had the opportunity to learn skills and techniques that weren’t preciously part of their day to day. “It’s made us better, because the scores are fairly large in size, and we’re working with top level composers who work with orchestra all over the world. The knowledge they have brought in our doors has allowed us to improve every aspect of how we operate Studio A technically.”
Students plan, produce, star in concert for 1,500+ guests
On Saturday, April 11, at 7 p.m. Belmont University’s Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business (CEMB) will present its annual Best of the Best Showcase. The free show, which is open to the public and offers a variety of musical performances from rock to urban/pop to Christian to country, will honor longtime music executive Gary Overton with the Robert E. Mulloy Award of Excellence. This award is given annually to an individual who has achieved a level of excellence in the music business and entertainment industries with notable service to Belmont University and the Nashville community.
Gary Overton has been a leading force in the Nashville music community for decades, most recently as the chairman and CEO of Sony Music Nashville, home of country superstars Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood. Prior to his five-year tenure at Sony, Overton served for 15 years as executive vice president and general manager of EMI Music Publishing’s Nashville division, where he was responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations, including the exploitation of copyrights, acquisition of catalogs, signing of writers and artists, and securing record deals. During his tenure, the company earned Publisher of the Year honors from ASCAP, BMI and/or SESAC a total of 12 times. Prior to joining EMI, Overton was personal manager for country artist Alan Jackson and served tenures as head of A&R for BNA Entertainment and vice president of Warner/Chappell Music. Overton currently serves on the Belmont University/Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business Advisory Board, in addition to other volunteer efforts.
“The Best of the Best showcase continues in the tradition of providing a professional performance opportunity for our student artists and hands on experience for our live audio, lighting and production student teams,” said Curb College Dean Doug Howard. “The impact of these experiences plays a key part of a Curb College education and can be seen in the creative and expert talents of our alumni all over Music City and the entertainment world at large. I’m also incredibly grateful for Gary Overton’s years of service both as an advisory board member and as a generous benefactor for our programs, and I’m delighted that ‘Best of the Best’ will honor him Saturday night.”
The Pipeline Project 4.0, a music industry think-tank created by the Belmont University Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business, was recently cited by the U.S. Copyright Office in a final report on copyright and music licensing policy, published Feb. 5.
The Pipeline team consisted of nine undergraduate Belmont students selected to consult with industry investors. Students Anthony Manker, Devin Dawson and Alex Marsh conducted a research study into copyright and music licensing reform. The study was sponsored by the Association of Independent Music Publishers and Fifth Third Music with Marc Driskill, executive director of AIMP Nashville, serving as industry advisor.
The Pipeline team interviewed executives from across the industry such as Vincent Candilora from ASCAP, Jody Williams from BMI, Troy Tomlinson from Sony/ATV, Steve Marks from the RIAA, Jay Rosenthal from the NMPA, Scott Sellwood from Google/YouTube, Colin Rushing from SoundExchange and others. Stakeholder groups included record labels, publishers, artists, songwriters, attorneys, economists, performing rights organizations, rights administrators, managers, broadcasters and digital music services.
Service Corps, a Belmont student organization dedicated to providing student experiences in the music and entertainment industries, took 22 members to this year’s Grammy Week in Los Angeles. While there, students had the opportunity to take part in a variety of hands-on industry experiences that placed them directly in the excitement of the events. And two students connected to Belmont even performed on the red carpet during a Grammy pre-telecast event on E.
Fifteen students participated as talent escorts in the two-day Grammy Radio Row, an event where celebrities and their teams interview with stations all over the U.S. All 22 students participated as escorts for Friday’s MusiCares Gala on the red carpet. On Saturday, students participated in the Grammy Special Merit red carpet and awards show to assist with event logistics, and on Sunday students worked the Grammy red carpet as escorts to nominees and guests of the Recording Academy.
College of Entertainment and Music Business Dean Doug Howard said, “Belmont University always has a presence at the Grammys through our talented alumni being recognized for their great work. What many may not know is that for the past 15 years, our students have had the opportunity to work behind the scenes at Grammy Week through Service Corps―a student organization that volunteers for industry events ranging from CMA Fest to Sundance. I’m so proud of our students who have consistently demonstrated a high level of professionalism through the years at our industry’s highest profile events. And we are very grateful to NARAS and Rogers & Cowan for continuing to give our students these remarkable experiences.” (more…)
Belmont students Louisa Wendorff, junior songwriting major, Devin Dawson, senior songwriting major, Jacob Durrett, sophomore audio engineering technology major and 2014 alumna Blythe Thomas received the Christmas gift of a lifetime when their Taylor Swift mash-up was noticed by the country music star herself.
The song is an arrangement of Swift’s “Blank Space” and “Style” and features Wendorff and Dawson in a folk/acoustic style duet. The video, created and produced by Thomas, showcases both singer-songwriters and the song’s audio was done by Durrett.
To endorse Wendorff and Dawson’s rendition of her popular songs, Swift tweeted the link to the video on Dec. 27 with one word – “OBSESSED.” In addition to Swift’s post, the mash-up cover has been featured on TIME, TeenVogue, Huffington Post and Entertainment Weekly, among others.
Since the song’s coverage, Wendorff’s EP has grown to #2 on the iTunes singer songwriter chart and #57 on the overall charts.