Category: ACM Alumni

NOW HEAR THIS: ACM’s Harlee Lane and Ciara Brooke Top Reverb Nation’s Local Pop Artist Chart

Pop, EDM and club artist Harlee Lane recently released his new single, “Dancing with a Stranger,” a Sam Smith/Normani cover featuring Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma student Courtney Hooker.

Lane, an ACM@UCO alumnus, is currently rated Oklahoma City’s No. 2 pop artist on Reverb Nation.

At No. 1 is ACM@UCO alumnus Ciara Brooke! She debuted her new project, “Diva Diaries,” in November. 

Stream Lane’s “Dancing with a Stranger” now and hear more on Reverb NationSpotifyiTunes, Facebook and Soundcloud. In August, his single “Come Down” debuted at No. 1 on Reverb Nation’s local pop chart.

ACM@UCO alumnus Harlee Lane poses in front of neon lighting at night as he poses with oversized white sunglasses, black button-up shirt and short, platinum hair.

ACM@UCO alumnus Harlee Lane.

ACM@UCO alum Ciara Brooke sits with her legs crossed in front of a bright pink background, dressed in a white top, blue shorts and gray combat boots.

ACM@UCO alum Ciara Brooke.

Hear more from Brooke on Reverb Nation and like and follow her on social media at facebook.com/ciarabrookemusicinstagram.com/ciarabrookemusic and ciarabrooke.com.

#CFADWorks: ACM@UCO alumna Mariah Saffa

Hard at work in a 7,000-seat arena in northern Colorado, Academy of Contemporary Music at the Univeristy of Central Oklahoma (ACM@UCO) alumna Mariah Saffa reflects on her path to a marketing career in the entertainment industry.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Music Business with a Marketing minor in 2017, Saffa used skills she gained through real-world industry experience at ACM@UCO (including a marketing internship at Tulsa’s BOK Center arena) in her job as a digital marketing specialist and radio accounts manager at Oklahoma-based Tyler Media.

This role led Saffa to her current position with Spectra, an international venue management and hospitality company that serves the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado.

As a marketing manager, Saffa directs strategies for the venue, as well as for touring musicians and entertainers, continuing to apply shat she learned studying Music Business at ACM@UCO. The unique downtown Oklahoma City campus is part of UCO’s College of Fine Arts and Design.

As many students today are dissuaded from pursuing their passion in arts-related fields, UCO’s College of Fine Arts and Design flips the script about “starving artists” and highlights the breadth of success our alumni have achieved as performers, producers, entrepreneurs, artistic directors, talent managers and more.

As our alumni prove, #CFADWorks!

Are you a UCO College of Fine Arts and Design alum? We’d love to hear from you!

To get involved, just post a selfie or video of you at work to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Use the hashtag #CFADWorks and we’ll share your story!

Thank you for inspiring our students and the future generation of creators!

ACM@UCO Musician and Singer-Songwriter Rozlyn Zora Leaves Fans ‘Speechless’ on Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day, Oklahoma singer-songwriter and musician Rozlyn Zora proves that love is indeed what you choose to make of it. On Feb. 14, she’ll release her new single, “Speechless,” as she embarks on a spring-fling string of shows she’s calling the Makeup//Breakup Mini-Tour.

Zora, from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, is a senior studying production and technology application at ACM@UCO in Oklahoma City. She said she’s long had the goal to release a new song every Valentine’s Day, and the Feb. 14 release of “Speechless” marks her first milestone in achieving it.

The acoustic guitar-driven, lyrically emotive ballad soars with support of ACM graduate Heather Becker on piano and Oklahoma State University student Demetri Tsaras on bass. Zora’s lyrical style on the tune has been compared to Sara Bareilles — a high compliment, to be sure, she said.

“The chorus came to me in a dream,” Zora said. “Charming love songs are my weakness. After I released ‘Love’ in January of 2017, I’ve longed to release a song on Valentine’s Day, and ‘Speechless’ is that dream child.”

“Speechless” was tracked and mixed by ACM@UCO music production and engineering student and student worker Stuart Adams in the school’s second floor-studio. It was mastered by ACM@UCO full-time lecturer and studio manager Kevin Lively (Rage Against the Machine, Pink, Elton John).

To celebrate the recording, Zora announced the quickie, three-date Makeup//Breakup Mini-Tour, in which she and participating bands fill their setlists with love/hate songs.

“The tour runs three days,” Zora said, then laughed. Zora and Mandias (Shawnee, Oklahoma, resident, ACM student and indie folk-rock musician Kate Carmichael) lead the lineup. Special guests round out the show at each show.

Zora’s first stop is a free concert 10 p.m. Feb. 14 at the Rabbit Hole, 116 S. Elgin Ave. in Tulsa, where she performs with Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Mandias and featured guest Lauryn Hardiman. The next night, she cruises through Norman for a 6:30 p.m. Feb. 15 gig with Mandias and UCO-based rock act Useless Randy at Red Brick Bar, 311 E. Main St. in Norman.

On Feb. 16, Zora swings through Bentonville, Arkansas, to perform at the popular Bike Rack Brewing Co.’s Eighth Street Brewery and Tap Room, 801 SE Eighth St., Suite 61. There, she shares the stage with Mandias, Useless Randy and Fayetteville, Arkansas, indie-alternative act Makin Loaf starting at 8 p.m. Tickets for that show are $10 at the door and eventbrite.com.

For more information and music, contact Rozlyn Zora at facebook.com/rozlynzora.

Makeup//Breakup Mini-Tour:

10 p.m. Feb. 14
Rozlyn Zora, Mandias and featuring Lauryn Hardiman
Rabbit Hole Tulsa, 116 S. Elgin Ave. in Tulsa
no cover / 21+

6:30 p.m. Feb. 15
Rozlyn Zora, Mandias and Useless Randy
Red Brick Bar, 311 E. Main St. in Norman
no cover / 21+

8 p.m. Feb. 16
Rozlyn Zora, Mandias, Useless Randy and Makin Loaf
Bike Rack Brewing Co. (Eighth Street Brewery & Tap Room), 801 SE Eighth St., suite 61 in Bentonville, Arkansas
$10 at the door and eventbrite.com.

Editor’s note: Download art associated with this release here.

ACM@UCO Presents Literati Variety Show in February, Featuring Local Musicians, Writers, Poets

In a multi-act event promoting storytelling and its various forms, the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma (ACM@UCO) presents Literati Variety Show, 7 p.m. Feb. 9 at ACM@UCO Performance Lab, 329 E. Sheridan Ave., in Oklahoma City. Admission is free.

Charles Martin, founder and creative director of Literati Press Comics & Novels, based in Oklahoma City, calls Literati Variety Show a “five-act variety talk program.”

“This is a celebration of storytelling as entertainment as well as a force to give meaning to life,” Martin said. “We are uniting artists from all mediums — music, poetry, comedy, anyone with a good story and the wherewithal to tell it well.”

The Feb. 9 event is presented by ACM@UCO as part of its Metro Music Series celebrating the school’s 10th anniversary.

Martin hosts the show, where he’ll introduce a music and literary pairing by hip-hop act Original Flow and The Fervent Route; a conversation with George Lang, editor-in-chief of Oklahoma Gazette; Heath Huffman, Public Access comedian of note; authors Holly Sampson Hall and Jeremy Hall with a performance reading of “The Most Wonderful Wonder”; and Molly O’Connor, founder of OKC StorySlam.

The show is co-organized by longtime local artist, Oklahoma City Arts Commissioner and Istvan Art owner and manager Stephen Kovash. Speaking recently to Oklahoma Gazette, Kovash said one of his goals with this show is to establish a new artistic family in the metro.

“Things are starting to coalesce in terms of Oklahoma writers,” he told the Gazette. “And so I think what Charles is doing here is perfect timing. … There’s hunger for ideas, and there’s pent-up demand, but there’s also a supply that’s pent-up. So maybe if we can get those people together, it’s going to explode.”

ACM@UCO’s Metro Music Series is sponsored by Oklahoma Gazette, Exchange Music, KOSU Radio, Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, and the Oklahoma Arts Council, which receives support from the State of Oklahoma and the National Endowment for the Arts’ Art Works initiative.

About the Performers

Molly O’Connor:
O’Connor is an Oklahoma City-based multi-disciplinary artist and cultural worker. Her creative and artistic practices include visual art, creative writing, original solo performance work and storytelling. In 2005, O’Connor founded OKC StorySlam, a monthly, competitive open-mic storytelling event influenced by “The Moth Radio Hour” and podcast.

Holly Sampson Hall and Jeremy Hall:
Holly Samson Hall and Jeremy Hall write and perform dark folk music as Welcome Little Stranger. Creators of “The Most Wonderful Wonder” podcast, the Halls explore tragedy, folklore and strange, true tales from the back pages of American history.

Heath Huffman:
Huffman is a stand-up comic born and raised in Oklahoma City. He tells jokes that highlight the absurdity of working out, the quirkiness of his religious upbringing and the peculiar world of cheap Italian food. He also hosts two podcasts — Christian music review show “The Praisedown” with Heath and Alex, and comic book narration show “Paneled,” both of which some people (not him) think are very good.

George Lang:
Lang is a journalist who has worked for Oklahoma Gazette multiple times since 1994. He returned as its editor-in-chief in 2017. In the interim, he also wrote for The Oklahoman. While there, he became its assistant entertainment editor, interviewing about 95 percent of film industry’s A-listers and hosting an award-winning video series about local musicians, “Static.” He hosts “Spy 101” radio show 8 p.m. Saturdays on The Spy (KOSU) and he teaches at ACM@UCO.

Original Flow and The Fervent Route:
Oklahoma City-based music act Original Flow & The Fervent Route mixes high-octane lyrical content with live instrumentation and old-school hip-hop delivery. It also includes ACM@UCO alumni.

About ACM@UCO Metro Music Series

The 2018-2019 school year marks ACM@UCO’s tenth anniversary. To celebrate, it expanded its long-running Metro Music Festival into a yearlong event. The revamped Metro Music Series includes the High Noon Showcase, presenting free shows by ACM@UCO-tied music acts and tastemakers; its ACM@UCO Performance Lab series by regional and national touring acts; and a growing roster of masterclasses, clinics and workshops with industry leaders, many of which are open to students and the public.

Find more info about Metro Music Series events at acm-uco.eventbrite.com.

For more information about ACM@UCO, visit acm.uco.edu.

NewsOK: Late musician’s friends honor Connor Hicks with ‘Legacy’ album

Oklahoma artists recently paid tribute to Connor Hicks, a local musician who died Dec. 18, 2017 in a car crash. Late last month, his friends — led by singer-songwriter and guitarist Jacob Mann — and family released “Legacy.”

The album includes previously unrecorded songs by Hicks, who had studied at the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma (ACM@UCO).

In addition to his solo work, Hicks had performed with numerous Oklahoma-based acts, including Matt Stansberry, Shane Henry, Chase Kerby and Mallory Eagle.

The Oklahoman published a Dec. 28 feature about the album:

Hearing the completed album was a little overwhelming, said Hicks’ father, Ronnie Hicks.

“… It was probably the thing in my life that gave me the most joy, was seeing him perform and helping him share it,” he said. “So, it was important to me for as many people to have the opportunity to hear it as possible.”

Journalist Brandy McDonnell wrote of the 2017 wreck:

Connor Hicks, 20, and Jeremy Wallace, 42, died at the scene of an early morning crash Dec. 18, 2017, four miles south of Bowlegs on U.S. 377. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s report, which described foggy conditions, concluded the accident took place shortly after midnight, when Hicks’ vehicle, traveling southbound, crossed left of center and hit Wallace’s vehicle head-on.

Both drivers were Ada-based musicians and members of the Chickasaw Nation.

McDonnell added:

As Hicks’ family has been working with the UCO Foundation to establish a scholarship in his honor, Mann worked with about 20 engineers, producers and musicians to create the “Legacy” album.

“After the wreck, I got with all of our engineers and guys that he had recorded demos with,” Mann said. “His laptop was actually in the car with him, so that was kind of an ordeal getting the files off of that. … Once we were able to get those together, we were able to find six songs that we felt really excited about.”

Stream the album on Spotify:

Photos: JD McPherson Masterclass with Scott Booker

 

Longtime Oklahoma musician JD McPherson hosted a masterclass Oct. 26, 2018, to a capacity audience at ACM@UCO Performance Lab in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The third-annual Music Networking and Mentoring Event was made possible by a partnership with The Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Metro Music Series and the Oklahoma Film + Music Office.

About ACM@UCO Metro Music Series

The 2018-2019 school year marks ACM@UCO’s tenth anniversary. To celebrate, it expanded its long-running Metro Music Festival into a yearlong event. The revamped Metro Music Series includes the High Noon Showcase, presenting free shows by ACM@UCO-tied music acts and tastemakers; its ACM@UCO Performance Lab series by regional and national touring acts; and a growing roster of masterclasses, clinics and workshops with industry leaders, many of which are open to students and the public.

Check out upcoming ACM@UCO Metro Music Series shows at acm-uco.eventbrite.com!

ACM@UCO’s Metro Music Series is sponsored by Oklahoma Gazette, Exchange Music, KOSU Radio, ArtWorks, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Oklahoma Arts Council.

For more information about the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma, visit acm.uco.edu.

Photos: Maps & Atlases and Magic Munchbox at ACM@UCO Performance Lab

Maps & Atlases performed Nov. 1, 2018 at ACM@UCO Performance Lab in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. ACM@UCO-tied band Magic Munchbox opened the ACM@UCO Metro Music Series event.

“Now a trio, Maps & Atlases connect the roller-coaster guitar fretting and weighted timbres of their earlier albums with frenetic synth touches,” Pitchfork reviewer Amanda Wicks said of the album “Lightnessness is Nothing New,” released July 1. “The polished result is their most accessible album to date, touching on Peter Gabriel’s fizzy pop proclivities and reaching for TV on the Radio’s early grandness.”

In the brooding-yet-playful vein of Talking Heads or Peter Gabriel, Maps embraces the paradox of what it is to be human — constantly searching and, forever unsatiated, returning with everlasting hope to the ever-darkening fray. The deceptively upbeat “Lightlessness is Nothing New” unveils a gorgeous, complex, slightly skewed take on pop music.

Photos by Tanner Laws | University of Central Oklahoma

 

Magic Munchbox

Oklahoma City experimental funk-rock quartet Magic Munchbox opens for national touring act Maps & Atlases Nov. 1, 2018 at ACM@UCO Performance Lab in Oklahoma City. The ACM@UCO-tied band includes a student and alumnus in its lineup: Gilson Machtolff on guitar, skeeter on guitar, Michael Vaughan on bass and Robby Andersen on drums.

Photos by Tanner Laws | University of Central Oklahoma

 

About ACM@UCO Metro Music Series

The 2018-2019 school year marks ACM@UCO’s tenth anniversary. To celebrate, it expanded its long-running Metro Music Festival into a yearlong event. The revamped Metro Music Series includes the High Noon Showcase, presenting free shows by ACM@UCO-tied music acts and tastemakers; its ACM@UCO Performance Lab series by regional and national touring acts; and a growing roster of masterclasses, clinics and workshops with industry leaders, many of which are open to students and the public.

Check out upcoming ACM@UCO Metro Music Series shows at acm-uco.eventbrite.com!

ACM@UCO’s Metro Music Series is sponsored by Oklahoma Gazette, Exchange Music, KOSU Radio, ArtWorks, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Oklahoma Arts Council.

For more information about the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma, visit acm.uco.edu.

Two Unique Concerts Raise Awareness of Homelessness, Food Insecurity While Delivering Great Live, Local Music

In time for the holidays, the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma (ACM@UCO) hosts events Dec. 7 and 8 that deliver great live, local music while uplifting our community.

Oklahoma’s communities endure a higher rate of food insecurity than the national average, consistently ranking among the top 10 states facing this issue. More than half a million Oklahoma men, women and children struggle with food insecurity every day, and our “week of giving” will help provide much-needed aid to three local organizations — the Jesus House, The Homeless Alliance and Northeast Resource Center.

First, in a showcase sure to move fans jazz, rock, pop, Americana, jam-band and community activism alike, Tulsa-based acts COMBSY and HENNA ROSO co-headline a concert 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at ACM@UCO Performance Lab, 329 E. Sheridan Ave., in Bricktown.

Combsy, Henna Roso, their nonprofit record label Horton Records and ACM@UCO have joined to support longtime urban outreach organizations the Jesus House and The Homeless Alliance.

Tickets to the Dec. 7 event are $10 at acm-uco.eventbrite.com, or guests can donate nonperishable food and good, used clothing items. (Donation suggestions: gloves, hats, socks, blankets, lip balm, hand warmers, coats and lotion.)

Second, the following night is HIP HOP FOR A CAUSE, 7-9 p.m. Dec. 8 in ACM@UCO’s Songwriting Room, 25 S. Oklahoma Ave. (first floor), in Bricktown. The showcase features up-and-coming artists while supporting the Northeast Resource Center with a clothing drive. Cover is $5 or donation of new or gently used clothing.

The events are part of the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma’s (ACM@UCO) continuing Metro Music Series celebrating the school’s 10th anniversary.

ACM@UCO’s Metro Music Series is sponsored by Oklahoma Gazette, Exchange Music, KOSU Radio, ArtWorks, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Oklahoma Arts Council.

Dec. 7: Combsy and Henna Roso

Chris Combs, guitarist, composer and member of Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, released his first, self-titled solo album, “Combsy,” in late 2017. “Combsy” is a lush, groove-heavy album, deftly sourcing jazz, hip-hop, electronic and rock genres with sonic landscapes that appeal to festy heads, jazz junkies and music lovers of all types.

With a stellar lineup of Tulsa and New Orleans musicians, a rich layer of rhythms and horns provide the platform and space for Combs to spread out and explore his nuanced guitar work.

Although far from careful, “Combsy” comes to the ear as curated and intentional and with a healthy sense of both the history and future of instrumental music. The group’s new single, “Fell Through,” was released in October, available on Spotify.

Joining Combsy is Henna Roso, a musical collective dedicated to fighting hunger in America. Blending elements of jazz, funk, and soul Henna Roso creates a unique sonic landscape rich in melody and feel. The band has heart, too, and is dedicated to fighting hunger. It hosts food drives at each of its shows and donates 10 percent of all its revenue to help fight food insecurity, providing sustained support for hunger-related issues.

The event showcases Oklahoma musicians and Horton Records, based in Tulsa and founded by its namesake, Brian Horton. Horton Records is a nonprofit, volunteer-sustained organization providing everything from band management to creating, sustaining and promoting local music and Oklahoma’s musical heritage.

Posted by Queen Caution on Saturday, June 30, 2018

Dec. 8: Hip Hop for a Cause

Nov. 8 Hip Hop for a Cause performers include Kayai, Kuda, Queen Caution, The True CW, Odessa Ireign, Indygo Shai, and DJ Shaheed Ali will be on the ones and twos at ACM@UCO’s main campus, in its Songwriting Room.

Please note this is an 18+ event. For more information about Hip Hop for a Cause, please visit the ACM@UCO event page on Facebook.

Congratulations to Oklahoma Gazette’s Forty Under 40 Class of 2018!

Congratulations to Oklahoma City metropolitan area leaders named as Oklahoma Gazette‘s “Forty Under 40” class of 2018.

This year’s class also includes four ACM@UCO-tied honorees!

Including

• ACM faculty, local entrepreneur and hip-hop musician Jabee Williams
• ACM alum and Tower Theatre managing partner Stephen Tyler
• respected ACM supporter, collaborator and ACM@UCO workshop leader Desiree Yearby, a public relations professional who also founded, owns and operates GotSteeze.net
• former ACM administrative assistant and current DeadCenter Film Festival coordinator and head of operations Alyx Picard Davis

See all 40 of this year’s honorees at okgazette.com.

Album Release Show: Ciara Brook Debuts ‘Diva Diaries’ at Friday event in Bricktown

ACM@UCO Student Organization hosts a Friday album release show for ACM alumnus Ciara Brooke as she debuts her new project “Diva Diaries.” Special guests include Rozlyn Zora and chasertheprince.

The event is 7-10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, at ACM@UCO Performance Lab, 329 E. Sheridan Ave., in Bricktown. Admission is $5 at the door or FREE with valid UCO student ID.

Like and follow Ciara on social media:
facebook.com/ciarabrookemusic
instagram.com/ciarabrookemusic
ciarabrooke.com

Hear her new album, “Diva Diaries” on Spotify!