Student songwriters chase their dreams
By Bailey Shoenberger | Staff ReporterBy Bailey Shoenberger | 09/28/2015 11:18am
Logan Bowden performs at the Homegrown Alabama farmers' market. CW | Layton Dudley
“For the longest time I wanted to deny the fact that I was going to be doing music. I was afraid that I wasn’t going to make a living,” said Logan Bowden, a senior majoring in music theatre production. ”But when I got older I decided that I don’t really care. Music was the only thing that was really making me happy, so I decided to go for it.”
Bowden, a folk musician, is just one of the talented artists trying to prove there is still a place in the industry for young songwriters. He recently won a contest through LaraBar to play with folk singer Gregory Alan Isakov at the Filmore in San Francisco.
Many UA students struggle to find places to collaborate and gain performance experience, though it may seem otherwise with the addition of music venues such as the Druid City Music Hall and band parties every weekend,
“Nowadays its very difficult for an artist to come in and play his original music. It’s so difficult for people to listen and give their time to new music. They just don’t do it,” said Michael Austin Sorrells, a senior majoring in journalism. “I think for cover bands there’s a huge music scene in Tuscaloosa, but if you’re an original artist, it’s a tougher sell.”
Sorrells recently finished recording a pop album, “Dancing in the Sky,” with music veterans Bill Cuomo and Beeb Birtles. While he is finishing school, he hopes to build his audience through social media and eventually go on tour.
“With Spotify and music essentially being free, the only way to make money is to tour, to be playing live, which is kind of cool because you get to be on the road all the time, but there is no option of settling down until you really make it, until your on ‘Of Monsters and Men’ level,” Bowden said.
The streaming debate has been at the forefront of the music industry for months now as popular artists continue to refuse the rights to their music on streaming sites until they make it more profitable for the artists. However, Bowden said there are some positives to streaming sites.
“It’s also made music more accessible, so I’ve been able to pull from more and hear crazy different styles of music and ways of approaching music, so that’s been beneficial,” Bowden said.
Despite the challenges of balancing school and a changing industry, both Bowden and Sorrells are enjoying their time at the University and continue to find inspiration in everyday things.
“I think Bob Dylan said something about music being a happening – I feel that,” Bowden said.
Bowden recently formed a band, currently called Logan and Sarah, and is working on original songs, which are available for listening on Facebook and Twitter. Sorrell’s album is available on iTunes and Spotify, as well as on his website and social media pages, under Michael Austin.
“I know I’m doing something right, and I know that even if it doesn’t work out in the long run, at least I’m chasing my bliss,” Sorrells said.