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Crooners prepare for musical battle

Eight students will face the music as they battle to become the recording industry’s next big thing.

Last year, aspiring musician Kacie Williams stood center stage at the Cathedral with nothing but her guitar during the first year of The Next Big Thing.

On March 10, eight students will stand in the same place crossing their fingers hopeful of the same fate as Williams.

Just as winning The Next Big Thing propelled Williams’ music career into Nashville, Tenn., junior Matthias Roberts hopes for the same momentum for this year’s contestants.

Roberts, director of Bringing Live Uncut Entertainment, created this competition to target artists on campus by providing a rare opportunity to be noticed by representatives of the Christian music industry.

So far, among the confirmed panel of judges is Jen Edwards, biblical studies instructor and Jon Cell, both of which play an integral role of determining the winner.

Cell is the manager of national promotions at Centricity Music and acts as a significant influence in signing artists to the record label such as Aaron Shust, according to Roberts.

“How can we bless people with our music if they never hear it?” senior Criston Anderson said. “This is a huge opportunity to not only be heard by professional judges but also by hundreds of our peers.”

After winning The Next Big Thing last year, Williams had the opportunity of writing music with Jeromy Deibler, front man of Contemporary Christian band FFH.

Deibler also served as Williams’ judge during the competition last year. Although Williams was not available to comment at press time, Roberts recognizes the impact The Next Big Thing had on her music career.

“Kacie took the momentum from winning the competition and ran with it,” Roberts said.

Winning the competition enabled Williams to record a five-song EP entitled “Til I’m With You” and provided her with contacts for an internship at Centricity Music that lead her to establish her music career.

The winner of The Next Big Thing will receive a recording package valued at $2,000, which will enable them to create a three-to-four song EP in Fayetteville at East Hall Recording Studio.

“Having the opportunity to record an EP will only help further my efforts of connecting with people through my music,” Lisa Hopper said.

New to this year’s competition, BLUE is providing mentoring sessions prior to each performance to prepare each artist to produce a good show.

On March 10, eight finalists will perform two original songs live for a panel of judges and students who will hold the fate of each musician in their hands, literally.

Not only will judges determine the winner of The Next Big Thing but students can chime in via text message to choose who they believe is the music industry’s new ‘it’ factor.

Tickets go on sale Feb. 27 on campus and cost $5 for students and $7 for general admission.