Monmouth University’s Music Industry program is taking a revolutionary new approach with its curriculum; the students, under the guidance of their instructor, Professor Joe Rapolla, have started their own record label. The label, Blue Hawk Records, is launching with four talented young artists that are breaking into the scene.
The label was conceived to give students in the Music Industry program real-world exposure into the operations of a record company. “We wanted to give our students some practical experience in the business. This gives them hands-on experience from sourcing talent to releasing a record, including recording, packaging, sales, marketing, PR, radio promotion, and producing a live event, all from a current-day mindset and approach”, said Professor Rapolla. Rapolla is a 20-year veteran of the music industry, created and led marketing departments at both Universal and Warner Music Group, and ran two digital marketing agencies. He received his MBA from Monmouth in 1990 and returns to the University to help develop the Music Industry program.
The artists, like the staff of the label, are all Monmouth University students. The two flagship bands on the label are 99 Regrets, a fresh, melodic alternative rock band, and Seasons, a heavy electronic-alternative rock band. In addition, the label is launching with two talented singer-songwriters Natalie Zeller and Sarah Gulbin. The label will be releasing a compilation of its artists’ material in physical and digital channels globally, as well as showcasing these artists at a record release event on campus on May 2.
“I love that we are doing exactly what a company does, today, to put music out, and we will be able to walk out of college with that experience”, said Sherri Kantor, a Monmouth University senior in the class starting the label. “All the rules surrounding the music and entertainment media have changed and we’re making sure our students have their fingers on the pulse on the business as it evolves,” said Rapolla.