Monmouth University’s student-run record label Blue Hawk Records will debut its 17th compilation album, “Reviver,” in a virtual release show on Instagram Live (@bluehawkrecordsoffical) beginning at 8 p.m. on Dec. 9. The new release is the latest in a series of EPs of original music by student and alumni artists since the label was established in 2013 by Specialist Professor Joe Rapolla, chair of the Music and Theatre Department and director of the music industry program. In the run-up to the release of “Reviver,” the Blue Hawk Records team has been meeting regularly, holding in-person and virtual auditions, and working at Lakehouse Recording Studio in Asbury Park to record, mix, and master the album.
Though COVID-19 restricted the team throughout the fall semester, Rapolla and Blue Hawk Records devised an innovative solution to provide listeners and fans with a diverse album. “With a wide variety of genres presented in the album, I think it will keep listeners on their toes for what is coming next,” said music industry major and fall semester marketing director, Grace Enright.
Included on the compilation are two rappers, Hasan Chambers and Gabe Garza, who perform as Double G, and whose songs take the listener through a story-like experience with a moving message. Chambers also plays defensive back for the Monmouth football team. As Rapolla recalls, “When Hasan auditioned, he said, ‘this is the first time I am performing in public.’ He blew the room away.”
A&R reps Ethan Christensen and Mikey Sanchez helped arrange and recorded on Charlie Krause’s piano-based song, “Those Green Eyes,” giving it a driving full-band sound. Nick Garretch and his band, White Wing, contributed a modern day, fist-pumping, rock track with “Out All Night.” With the team’s help, Monmouth freshman and solo singer-songwriter Abby Garcia took her originally acoustic-only song, “Silver Linings,” and added various musical elements to give it a very current and mystical sound. Rapper-singer, Justin Ume, who performs as UME and already has an impressive following, contributed the hit-sounding pop track, “At The Tone.”
“All of our artists are uber-talented and we have been privileged to work with them and give them the opportunity to follow their passion by professionally recording their songs,” Enright said.
The Instagram release show on Dec. 9 will be hosted by WMCX DJ, Kayla Booker, and will feature live performances by Blue Hawk Records artists.
“I am very impressed and moved by this team and this collection of music. All the songs tell such interesting stories, and include messages of hope and revival,” said Rapolla. “This was a great team to work with. They came ready work and learn, and didn’t miss a beat while operating in this continuing unconventional situation. This is what the commercial music industry is also going through, and these students will be able to draw upon this experience after they leave Monmouth.”
You can find and follow Blue Hawk Records at @bluehawkrecordsofficial.