Featured (List) News

BHR Releases 23rd Compilation Album

Monmouth University’s student-run record label “Blue Hawk Records” released their 23rd compilation album titled Chapter XXIII on Friday, Dec. 8, 2023. This album contains new original tracks created completely by students for students. The recent release is available on CD, vinyl, and various streaming platforms.

This album contains six new tracks: “Dimensions” by Angela An, “Blackout” by The Blackouts, a band consisting of William Horn, Sam Decencio, David Thomas, Andrew Weir, and Alex Duriske, “Extraordinary” by Ruaa Khalifa, “Feelin’ It” by Michael Anthony Rocks, “Take Up Everything (oblivious)” by Amani Lillian, and “213” by Abby Garcia.

Joe Rapolla, Chair of the Department of Music and Theatre Arts reflected on the new album, “Chapter XXIII is a remarkable compilation. It’s contemporary and diverse and it all works so well together. I say it every time we release a new album: they’re all good, and they just keep getting better. The response has been very positive, both locally and abroad, and by folks in the industry. We get contacted by folks all the time who want to work with us or just want to know more about our music and artists. What’s really great, is that we get contacted by prospective students and families who hear about Monmouth and our program because of Blue Hawk Records.”

The process for making the Blue Hawk Record albums wasn’t easy, but Rapolla explained that his student’s hard work always pays off in the end. “The first thing we do is meet as a class and I describe the essence of the project, the work involved, and the outcome. We spend a class overviewing the various roles in a contemporary music company. Students in the class apply for positions and we assign those roles. We announce and hold auditions, evaluate online submissions, deliberate, and make decisions as a team on what songs to produce for the album. Discussions are professional and decisions are objective, based on the parameters and goals of the project. Some songs are close to complete and just need to be prepared to be recorded. Most need to be developed. Creative teams work with the artists to prepare them for a recording session. That includes helping the artist develop their vision for the song and exploring the best ways to achieve it, including arrangement and instrumentation. Because of timeframe and resource constraints, we need to be very prepared and efficient in the studio. Simultaneous to the recording sessions, we are creating and sharing promotional content, press releases, and marketing on other media channels. Once we’ve completed the recording process, we mix, master and distribute to all streaming platforms, and even manufacture vinyl and CDs. And somehow, we released a new album in a 14-week semester in a class that meets once per week. That means most of the work is done between class meetings, where student teams collaborate and move their respective work along.”

Abigail Garcia, President of Blue Hawk Records, looked back on her experience recording her song “213” on the new album. “I am always working with Blue Hawk Records as the president, but having my moment to be an artist on a BHR album again was so much fun and reminded me of why I got so involved in the program by auditioning back when I was a freshman. From the photoshoots to going on WMCX, recording in Lakehouse, and performing at the release show, every experience is not only a blast but also such an awesome learning experience. Each time I have been on a BHR album I meet so many amazing people and artists, and everyone knows what they’re doing.”

William Horn of The Blackouts recalled his involvement with Blue Hawk Records alongside his bandmates, “Working with Blue Hawk Records was a lot of fun. From our audition to when the song was officially released, there was a lot of positive communication coming through our guys and the label, which ultimately helped us, in many ways, to put out our first original song. Blue Hawk records were transparent from start to finish and we can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done.”

Amani Adelekan also remembered her time working with Blue Hawk Records, saying, “Working on ‘Take Up Everything’ was such a cool experience because I was able to develop this song with Monmouth and Blue Hawk Records alum, Max Wolf. I had submitted the song with fully written lyrics and a very minimal demo with vocals, guitar, bass and drums for album auditions, but the overall production concept hadn’t been fleshed out yet. I felt like working with a friend of Blue Hawk Records and of mine allowed me to take the time necessary to execute the now Neo-soul/Alternative Pop vibe my song now has. The vocals were recorded between the incredible Lakehouse Recording Studio with our resident producer, Connor Hanson and with Max which were both awesome sessions to be in. Vocals are one of my favorite parts of making a song truly my own and I had such creative freedom to try things out to see what worked and what didn’t. I had a good sense of where I wanted this song to go and I am so proud of the outcome. I am beyond grateful to everyone who contributed and to Blue Hawk Records for this amazing opportunity!”

Blue Hawk Records was established in 2013 and has been creating/producing music, hosting events, and branding artists ever since. They are also in partnership with Lakehouse Recording Studios, The Music Business Association, and The Grammy Museum. With these partnerships, students can learn more about the music industry right here around campus and be able to learn about future career opportunities and establish connections early on in their careers.

Auditions for the 24th compilation album will be held on January 31. Rapolla concluded, “Anyone wishing to audition or submit a song should write to BlueHawkRecords@gmail.com. Auditions are open to any Monmouth student, alum, or employee. We really want everyone involved. Everyone who does has such a great experience!”