Show Reviews

Show Review: Belmont Univ Songwriter Showcase Ft. Chloe Collins, Julia Morey, and more!

 

BELMONT UNIVERSITY SONGWRITER SHOWCASE

Ft. Chloe Collins, Jasmine O’Donnell, Lauren Pelton, & Julia Morey

Tuesday April 19, 2022

@ The Listening Room Café in Nashville, TN

(Review by: Jeffrey Kurtis)

                          

Nashville’s a town built on songwriters. The foundation that these lyrical masterminds and melody geniuses lay down across multiple genres are the very thing that shape the music that we know and love today.

On any given night you can walk into a Music City venue and hear some of your favorite songs being performed by the very person who wrote it, while also getting to experience the true-life story behind what inspired it.

However, it’s the other end of that spectrum where songwriting truly finds its home in Nashville. Those next generation stars who are still cutting their teeth, trying out new songs on an attentive audience, and soaking in learning, learning, and learning.

That’s where the Belmont University Songwriters Association, a student-led organization designed as a resource for budding songwriters to get their feet wet around Nashville while learning the craft, comes into play for these young talents.

On this Tuesday night, the BUSA brought four of their students – Chloe Collins, Jasmine O’Donnell, Laura Pelton, and Julia Morey - to the renowned Listening Room Café to play a writer’s round on one of the most iconic songwriter stages that Nashville offers.

As the lights dimmed across the venue, darkening it to a near pitch black, the pre-hype video for the venue played on the screens to the left and right of the stage, and instructed the audience to keep any table conversation to a minimum during the performance out of respect to the songwriter, while setting the overall mood when the narrator said, “experience what Nashville is built on…the music!”

With five rounds in total, each writer had an incredible opportunity to showcase some of their newest material and catalog favorites, while also giving the audience a firm look at their personality through not only their songwriting, but also the transparency that they displayed during the song’s introductions.

Chloe Collins, the breakout songwriter of the round, has already experienced success at a high level with song placements on popular television shows Nashville and Heartland, as well as charting her recent single “Somebody Else’s” in the Top 40 on the popular MusicRow CountryBreakout Chart.

But beyond only the songs with Chloe Collins, it’s also her endearing personality that combines a fun hyper touch to an understandable college quirkiness that really grabs your attention and pulls you in before she ever plays a note, allowing her to then smack you with how great a songwriter and performer she truly is as she reaches a tremendous comfort level the minute that she begins to play her songs.

Setting the vibe from the get-go with “Someone’s Yesterday,” an older song that she confessed, “I wasn’t going to play, but had heard it might want to be heard tonight,” Collins quickly identified with the crowd by meeting the request from a longtime fan, but by also grabbing the attention of newcomers and getting them to sit a little straighter in their seats and lean in for a closer listen when she revealed the very strong hook, “I’ve never been somebody’s future, I was always someone’s yesterday.”

Introducing us to parts of her personal journey to Nashville, Collins talked about how she’s been writing songs since she was 8 years old and always dreamed of moving here, before relaying with a smile on her face that she even convinced her parents to move with her.

Though she did close her set with her current Top 40 song, “Somebody Else’s,” Collins mostly used her performance slot to uphold the idea that the pre-hype video stated of how the crowd could be hearing songs that no one else has heard yet by giving us ultra-fresh songs from her arsenal including “Fragile,” and “Shouldn’t Couldn’t Wouldn’t,” the latter which is a super strong, relatable tune that she absolutely needs to be considering releasing as a future single.

But speaking of singles, that’s exactly what this whole night surrounded. Ahead of the show, Chloe Collins officially released her brand-new single “That’s on You,” a catchy, spitfire breakup anthem that tilts into the crazy that naturally comes out of us after heartbreak. She played the song earlier in her set and one look across the crowd and you can see how invested they were in the song by their reaction to certain lines of it and the bop that they were doing along with the melody – a surefire sign that it could be another chart smash for Collins.

Bookending Chloe Collins, and going last in the round, was Julia Morey – who like Collins, is a junior at Belmont and her songwriting absolutely showed her advanced level.

Mostly singing very poignantly about relationships, Morey pulled the audience through a song written uniquely in the first and third person about the inevitable end of relationships on “She’s Walking Away,” while she added a depth to her repertoire by using more of a hushed style her vocal approach on “I Caught My Heavy Heart,” a song in which she introduced as being about rushing into a relationship too quickly and ending up losing yourself.

She closed out the entire evening by switching from guitar to piano to play “Sweatshirt,” but there were two moments that stood out most during Morey’s five songs in the round.

“Eventually,” a very strong and well-written encouraging lyric about feeling lost but knowing that you’ll find your way back allowed her to place the spotlight squarely on her impressive vocal range, while she stretched outside of her normal comfort zone to meet a challenging class assignment to write a country song with “Something I Could Have Said.”

By perfectly placing Collins and Morey on each end as the anchors of the round, it allowed room for both Jasmine O’Donnell and  Lauren Pelton to showcase all facets of their still developing sound, something Pelton would even sing about on the ultra-catchy “I’m Everything,” a song she said was written because of how many times she had been asked what genre she wrote in while admitting, “I’m still figuring that out.”

Jasmine O’Donnell’s music carried more of a soulful R&B tilt to it as she encouraged people to love themselves on her opening song “Ricochet,” while closing with the ultra-vibey “The Chase.” 

Lauren Pelton, meanwhile, opened her set with the song she used to get into the program at Belmont with “Little Wing,” while also delivering the very powerful “The Deal of Addiction” and sadder leaning, though truthful, “Crying on My Birthday.”

Each of the four songwriters remained super supportive of one another throughout the entire night, whether it was when they were praising each other by telling their personal stories of first hearing one another’s songs during class and loving them then, or when they heard something for the first time on stage and encouraged one another through words such as “how great was that last song?” – something that also enticed the audience to respond.

Seeing the next generation of talent is always such an eye-opening experience for us. While all four songwriters currently sit at different skill levels with their own unique success stories, the opportunity for us to be amongst the crowd as these young writers continue to develop and find their sound right before everyone’s eyes is an experience unlike most others that we get to be a part of.

The songwriting styles that didn’t just center on country music and flirted with several different genres, acted as a perfect showcase that highlighted not only what Belmont University is doing to help advance the talent from within’ their students, but also that the music industry is in great hands going forward as the talent pool runs deep.

 

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