Open Mic Night Dazzles

Nicole A. Powell, GRAMMY Camp - LA Student Journalist

Julie Hanse performing at GRAMMY Camp - LA's Open Mic Night. Photo by Drew Schwendiman

Last night (July 14, 2012) at the GRAMMY Camp open mic night at USC’s Ground Zero Campers exposed their talents, feelings, and thoughts to others through rap, instrumentals, ballads, and spoken word. Even our faculty demonstrated their abilities, from the thrilling improvisational jazz jam session led by Leslie Drayton and others to our quirky host, Ben Goldsmith, who kept the evening going smoothly with his colorful impressions, dances, and stand-up comedy.

Harrison Jones started off the night right with his electrifying solo drum performance. Several other instrumentalists presented their talents. One such act was led by Hudson Barineau, who performed a bluesy-rock style piece, backed by a guitarist, bassist, and percussionist. Another highlight of the instrumentalist category was Matt Wong, whose shaky performance at the outset rebounded to become a laid-back, optimistic, Caribbean-style melody that put the audience at ease.

Several songstresses also performed; Kiya Lacey’s soulful mash-up cover of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” and Kanye West’s ”Heartless” was the first. She was backed by Wyatt Giampa on guitar; together they engaged the audience in their act through Kiya’s welcoming vocals and Wyatt’s calm melodies. Another powerful performance came from Bella Porter’s cover of Sara Bareilles’ ”Many the Miles,” her high octave range and soulful tone excited and calmed the audience all at once. Tyne Freeman’s original song captivated and hypnotized as her unique singing style was characterized by her booming vocals.

Male artists were no less impressive, from Hayden Cone’s original song “Movin’ On,” a highly personal vocal and guitar piece about love and loss that was moving and emotional and Christopher Cobbs’ soulful rendition of John Legend’s “Ordinary People,” to Noah Jessup’s original “The Mermaid Song,” delivered in a raspy yet smooth country blues style voice. Amidst the vocalist and guitar players, Patrick Bucknor, also known as True Sound, performed a rap which gave off an early Lupe Fiasco feel, as his lyrics were stacked with intelligent metaphors.

The highlights of the night came from several individual artists, who stood out even amongst their exceptional peers. Shelby Lock’s “Airborne” composition on piano was haunting, peaceful, and beautiful. The intricate notes and patterns seemed to all fit together into a complex harmony. Other highlights included Julie Hanse’s original song “Wait,” as her French accent lined her vocals which created a unique, folksy sound. Jessica Farren’s Nashville accent set a distinct sound to her music as well, as she sang her original song about the radio reminding her of a past love. Ultimately the trombonist, Michael Armstrong, was one of the greatest highlights of the night, his talents stood out even as he played with seasoned professional jazz musicians. His passion for playing inspired the audience, as he provoked many to cheer and yell in excitement and support for him.

Leaving the open mic night, Campers clearly felt inspired. The many songwriters and musicians who performed were each gifted in their own way.

In the Spotlight

Katherine Ho

GRAMMY Camp LA 2015


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