A taste of FAU’s student talent

Maddy Mesa

Alex Kinsey has been writing music and performing at shows since he was in the tenth grade. Following in the footsteps of his idol, Jason Mraz, Kinsey seeks to become a world-touring singer/songwriter.

He’s starting his career as one of the students signed to FAU’s record label, Hoot/Wisdom Recordings.

Kinsey’s first major public performance was at Daytona Beach’s Bandshell in 2008, the city’s trademark amphitheater that holds 5,000 people. He’s a sophomore and marketing major at FAU whose latest single, “I Like It,” a mix of jazz and funk with a catchy hook, is featured on the new CompOWLation album which is set to be released March 26. It’ll be his first professionally recorded song to be distributed to the mass public.

“My hope for the album is that people who haven’t heard of me yet get the opportunity to hear me,” Kinsey said.

Like Kinsey, the CompOWLation features the talent of many aspiring student musicians. It’s a collection of songs written, recorded and produced by FAU students at the Hoot/Wisdom studios –– and it’s the second of its kind.

The name of the album is a play on words, combining the word “compilation” with “owl.” A compilation album is a collection of songs, like the NOW: That’s What I Call Music CDs. This specific one is full of FAU students’ original material.

“There’s so many different people in it that the album really represents all different parts of the student body,” junior Brittany Miller said, president of Hoot/Wisdom and commercial music business major. “We have a little bit of everything and it’s a nice mixture, and it directly portrays the student body.”

Songs on the album range from country/folk, to hard metal, to singer/songwriter pop. “Dancing Guns” by the band Phantomine, which has a cabaret feel to it, is reminiscent of an early Panic! At the Disco. Then there’s “Stray Dog” by Stonecutters, a folk band whose country-chill song makes for a great listen on the way to the beach.

Miller went on to explain how all the songs on the album are engineered by students. “Which is another nice aspect because being an artist it can be intimidating going into a recording studio or working with industry professionals when you’re starting out,” she said.

Before CompOWLation Vol. 1 released in 2011, Hoot/Wisdom Recordings would produce one album per genre. For example, there would be one classical album, then one rock album, and then one country album –– all featuring FAU students.

“We realized we needed more of a presence in the student body and more outreach for people to start listening to us,” Miller said. “By creating a compilation which mirrored the student body we were able to market to students more and provide them that outlet to start listening to Hoot/Wisdom and understanding what it is on campus.”

“It’s no mystery to anyone that right now it’s a ‘singles’ business,” Alejandro Sanchez said, faculty advisor to the record label and professor of music. “The age of the album as an artist is starting to become less and less.” This means that people are more likely to buy singles of their favorite songs, like on iTunes, rather than buying an artist’s complete album.

“The advantage of having a compilation album is it gives you a variety of styles and it gives good opportunity for all the students who work the different aspects of production in the music business,” said Sanchez, who is also an executive producer during the making of the album.

The new CompOWLation album is $5 and is available at compowlation.bandcamp.com. The album comes out March 26 with a release party at the FunkyBiscuit in Mizner Park on March 20, from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. There will be a charge of $10, but there will be food and drink specials all night. Artists from the album will be performing all night as well, and there will be giveaways from the Hoot/Wisdom Recordings. The album’s presale is now until the release date. Use the code HOOT and get the album for only $3.75.