‘Songwriters in the Round’ Showcases TSU Musicians’ Original Works March 25

SongwritersintheRoundNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – In the spirit of the Nashville songwriting community, students from Tennessee State University will take part in the 6th Annual Songwriters in the Round, Tuesday, March 25. Free and open to the public, the event takes place in the Performing Arts Center Recital Hall beginning at 7 p.m.

Hosted by the Department of Music’s Commercial Music program, the concert will showcase the writing talents of student-singer songwriters at the University. Songwriters will share their inspiration behind the creative process of writing songs.

According to Dr. Mark Crawford, associate professor and coordinator of the commercial music program, many performers do not write their own material and rely solely on professional songwriters. This program is formatted to allow songwriters to step out into the spotlight and be seen and heard by the public.

“The concert brings TSU music students along with faculty who will perform and accompany themselves the songs they have composed,” said Dr. Mark Crawford, associate professor and coordinator of the commercial music program. “Concert attendees will experience pure music, no hype, while each student performs their original songs and play their own instruments.”

This year’s event will feature Nathan Clay, a freshman Commercial Music major from Nashville in his first showcase; and Charity Ward, a senior Interdisciplinary Studies major and Music minor from Detroit, who began singing as a little girl. She picked up the guitar at age13 and soon began writing songs.  She has performed with Robert Glasper, Angie Stone, Eric Roberson, and PJ Morton.

Also taking part in the showcase is Daniel Mireee, a Liberal Arts Music major from Detroit and who now calls Nashville home. He currently owns and operates several independent record labels and studios. He has written and published more than 50 songs and produced more than 15 albums for artists all around the globe. He has also written several musical plays for Christian audiences.

The event also showcases the talents of Cierra Fleming, a Commercial Music technology major and Mass Communication minor from Denver, who is in her first showcase. She is a current member of Grammy U, a unique and fast-growing community of college students who are pursuing a career in the recording industry. Her goals include owning her own music publishing company, and becoming a successful songwriter, producer and engineer. 

Rounding out the showcase is Aliah Aiken, a trained flautist, vocalist and songwriter from Decatur, Ga. The Commercial Music major has been writing songs since the age of 11. In addition to songwriting, Aiken has been principal chair of the TSU Wind Ensemble for three consecutive years. She was also the 2012 winner of the BET College Tour Sing Off, and will be a featured Concerto Soloist at the 2014 HBCU National Band Directors Consortium in Atlanta. This is her first songwriter showcase.

The Commercial Music program at TSU is first and foremost a music degree, in which students study various careers and business practices of the music industry. Upon completion of the program, students receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Music with a Concentration in Commercial Music.

Because it is a music degree, commercial music students study piano, music theory, music history, as well as enroll in private applied lessons, seminar, present a recital, and participate in one of the Commercial Music ensembles. The ensembles perform at local schools and various civic events throughout the Nashville area, and have even performed on the Bobby Jones gospel music television show.

For more information on the Songwriters in the Round concert, contact Dr. Mark Crawford, coordinator of the commercial music program, at 615.963.5210 or macrawford@tsntate.edu.





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With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.