Blue Hawk Records, Monmouth’s student-run record label, is releasing their 20th studio album, titled “Twenty,” on April 22. Featured artists include Monmouth students Jordan Tyler, Delaney Rivera, Chris Lynch/ The Bavaros, Elena Worton, Double G (Gabe Garza), and Madeline Knight, along with an ensemble of accompanying student musicians and producers.
Under the direction of Joe Rapolla, Specialist Professor and Chair of the Music and Theatre Department, students work together in their Record Label Strategies course to release the Blue Hawk Records compilation EP each semester. This requires that students hold auditions, select artists, prepare them to record, develop marketing strategies, decide on artwork, and plan and produce live events. Blue Hawk Records has released 15 compilation albums since its inception in 2013.
Rapolla said, “It is always such a pleasure to see how the projects come together. Watching them from the early stages when songs are being auditioned and then watching them develop into professionally produced tracks. Additionally, this class strives to simulate a current day music company. Everything we are doing directly relates to aspects of today’s music industry so students get real-world experience they can reference as they pursue their careers post-graduation.”
Rapolla conducted live class meetings weekly, where the team devised plans to accomplish all the required tasks. Student managers and producers worked with artists at Lakehouse Recording Studio in Asbury Park to record their songs. The tracks are then mixed and mastered by local producer and Monmouth University Professor, Connor Hanson. All the while, artwork was being designed by art students from Professor Casey Finn’s class to help promote the album. Furthermore, online promotions were being executed by the marketing team to raise excitement about the album.
The Social team has been keeping consumers up to date with the team’s plans by producing weekly vlogs. These short films can be found on the groups Instagram page @bluehawkrecordsofficial
Nick Garrecht, a music student who serves as the label operations, said, “The past 10 years of records serve as a testament as to how a small major can make big things happen.”
Abby Garcia, music student and General Manager of Blue Hawk Records, said, “Though everyone has different jobs, we are learning about the broader aspects of the album production process. I enjoy this because as I watch not only the artists grow, but myself and fellow classmates.”
Blue Hawk Records will also be collaborating with Hawk TV, the student-run TV station, for a tiny desk-inspired series this month featuring Monmouth University’s own Danny O’Grady.
“Twenty” will be available for streaming on all digital platforms on April 22.
*Please note that the print edition of this story includes information about a release party that was advertised as being open to the public. This event is NOT open to the public and is by invitation only. This line has been omitted from the online version of the story.