Music Industry Students Create Record Label

University students created Blue Hawk Record Label in an effort to receive real-life experience in the music industry.

Blue Hawk Records was created by students in the Applied Music Industry 2 class. Every semester, the students enrolled in the class must complete 30 hours of service outside of class helping the music or theater departments. This spring semester, University students decided to get real hands-on experience by forming their own record label.

Each student has their own responsibility in the record label. Kristen DePaola, junior music industry major, is the general manager and a part of the recording group.

As of now, only students in the Applied Music 2 class are a part of Blue Hawk Records. The students plan to network and connect with others on campus. DePaola said that they will work with radio and television students as well as other students.

The class made a group consensus to create the label. “We haven’t really heard of anyone else doing it, so that’s what makes this exciting,” said DePaola.

The label has signed four artists thus far, all of which are University students from the class; two singers and two bands. The two singers are Natalie Zeller and Sarah Gulbin, acoustic singers and songwriters. The two bands that have been signed by the label are Seasons, Bryan Haring’s band; and 99 Regrets, Guy Battaglia’s band.

Natalie Zeller, freshman music industry major, said, “All of us have something that makes us unique, which definitely makes us worth checking out for yourself.”

DePaola explained that the plan was to only sign one artist but it was too hard to choose. With four artists, they are able to make a compilation CD instead of a full-length album with one artist.

Professor Joe Rapolla, instructor of the course, shared that he helped get the label off the ground. He explained he will continue to advise, but for the most part the students are in charge of all responsibilities.

There is very little cost associated in running the record label. According to Rapolla, most of the expenses will be taken care of by fundraising and sponsors. Expenses such as recording studio time, merchandise, and the website all have to be taken into consideration.

On Thursday, May 2, Blue Hawk Records will present a live show on the University quad. There is no admission fee but they will be accepting donations for the Save the Music Foundation. DePaola said they are hoping to sell CDs, t-shirts and other merchandise during the show.

DePaola explains that the compilation CD that is being worked on will include eight songs; two from each artist. “We’re trying to get it into the bookstore so people can buy it, as well as trying to get it on iTunes,” DePaola added. The label currently thinks that the CD will be completed in one month.

Zeller recently spent the day in a local recording studio near Asbury Park. “It was a little scary because everything was so professional but the engineers and musicians were so easy to work with, and really fun to hang out with, too,” Zeller said.

While running a record label can be a lot of work, it is also rewarding. “We are doing everything that would be involved in a real record production and I hope other kids get the opportunity to do it,” said DePaola.

“I love seeing the excitement in the eyes of the students as they engage, create, and collaborate,” said Rapolla. He enjoys sharing his experiences and knowledge helping students learn the music and entertainment business.

The intended plan is to continue the label as a part of the revised curriculum. “Moving forward, it is our goal to develop on-and-off campus recording capabilities,” Rapolla said.