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The Live Playlist highlights original music

November 2, 2018

Bowdoin’s music scene is ever-changing, but this year is seeing a cosmic shift. While bands performing pop covers continue to dominate College House parties, there is a shift occurring in dorm room studios, low key listening events and online streaming platforms. Artists are making more original music. More rappers, singers and producers are bringing hip-hop, R&B, jazz and funk to the table. Independent artists are self-promoting music with vibrant results. The Live Playlist at Ladd tonight is a live music event aiming to showcase those artists. This week, we take a look at these artists and how they are helping shift Bowdoin’s music scene.

JADEN DIXON

Jaden Dixon ’21, a native of Davenport, Fl. embodies what it means to make music independently. A multi-hyphenate artist, Dixon raps, sings, produces and designs for himself, making his self-released EP “Moving Forward” an impressively singular effort. Dixon has rapped at Reed House and sung in the Chapel with the Bowdoin Longfellows. He also designs graphics for his own art as well as Avant-Garb Magazine, showing off his versatility and tireless work ethic.

Who are your biggest artistic influences and why?

XXXTentacion because he made very authentic music and he diversified his music so much. He used his voice in various tonalities as well, which is what I love to do. Travis Scott because watching videos of his shows and documentaries of his travels has always inspired me. His music makes me lose myself and I love it. Frank Ocean because he makes music that makes your mind work to keep up. He really showed me how to be extra creative in music, which is huge in a time when so many people are creating.

What can people expect from your performance at The Live Playlist?

They can expect a GOOD. TIME.

Debut project: “Moving Forward”

Standout track: “Everyday”

JOSHUA BROOKS

Though The Live Playlist will be his first time performing original material, rapper and producer Joshua Brooks ’20 has long been one of the most dynamic members of the Bowdoin music scene. Growing up playing drums in church in his hometown of Brooklyn, N.Y., Brooks brought his talents to Bowdoin as a drummer and rapper for 20/20, one of the most prolific campus bands of the past two years. Brooks leads the charge for The Live Playlist with his media company, Underscore LLC, which aims to promote creatives of all mediums.

How would you describe the Bowdoin music scene today? How has it changed?

When I just started at Bowdoin, the music scene was a lot of bands that played rock and pop covers in social houses. Since then it’s grown more diverse as bands are playing different styles of music and many artists are performing original music. I think it’s important for our campus to recognize and support this and that is what I hope to do through events like The Live Playlist and the work that I do with my company Underscore. Making the music or art is one thing, but getting it out there is another challenge and I want to help with that.

Do you have any favorite collaborators on campus?

It would have to be my guy Parke Aiken [’20]. From playing in 20/20 together, to working on beats and songs in the studio, we often bounce ideas off of one another and look to each other for critique.

Debut project coming soon.

PARKE AIKEN

A self-identified “jack of all trades,” singer-producer-guitarist Parke Aiken ’20 is one of the most recognizable faces of the Bowdoin music scene. Aiken has performed as part of the Longfellows, 20/20, and most recently Sweet Anne and the Milkmen, who opened for electropop band Misterwives last month. Bringing a wide range of influences to the table, ranging from John Mayer to J Dilla, Aiken hopes to showcase an eclectic, high energy sound at The Live Playlist.

How would you describe the Bowdoin music scene today? How has it changed?

The massive change that I have seen has been a shift toward more original music. There are so many original music creators on this campus right now. I don’t remember one from when I was a freshman. I think that this is because of a great compounding effect. The more original creators there are on campus, the more people will be inspired to write originals instead of cover other songs.

Do you have any favorite collaborators on campus?

Gotta shout out my boy Josh [Brooks ’20] and my bandmates from 20/20! I have loved collaborating with them. Josh brings an incredible energy and work ethic to his approach to his craft, and an even greater energy on stage.

Debut project coming soon.

ALANA

As one of few independent R&B artists on campus, Connecticut native Alana Morrison ’20 is a unique and electrifying talent at Bowdoin. As a singer/songwriter as well as the leader of Bowdoin’s hip-hop dance group, Obvious, Alana brings all aspects of performance to her solo shows. She recently lit up the Sexuality, Women, and Gender Center as she debuted her EP, “Oh Boy,” turning a low key listening party into a packed house banger session. Alana hopes to bring that same energy to The Live Playlist.

Who are your biggest artistic influences and why?

I am influenced by Beyoncé because she works extremely hard and puts so much thought and detail into all of her shows and performances. Her concerts are art. I am influenced by SZA being that she is extremely honest and vulnerable in her music, which is what I try to do with mine, and I love Missy Elliot because she is just so original and wildly out of the box.

How would you describe the Bowdoin music scene today? How has it changed?

I feel the Bowdoin music scene focuses a lot on bands. I see that it is changing and opening up to different hip hop and R&B sounds which I appreciate.

Debut Project: “Oh Boy”

Standout Track: “Can’t Control”

FORTUNO

Fortuno is the R&B/neo-soul project of Tobi Omola ’19 and Ellis Laifer ’19, whose influence on the Bowdoin music scene dates back to their first year and the band Gibson Ten. The duo released a pair of songs back in September. Since then, Fortuno has earned one of the biggest online followings of any musician out of Bowdoin: as of today, the duo has over 6,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, and standout track “Be” has over 30,000 streams across Spotify and YouTube. Omola and Laifer bring a list of influences just as broad, ranging from Frank Ocean, Fleet Foxes, Sade and Radiohead between them.

How would you describe the Bowdoin music scene today? How has it changed?

Tobi Omola: It’s growing more and more each year.  The music scene at Bowdoin is very fun, collaborative and supportive.

Ellis Laifer: The Bowdoin music scene seems to grow every year. I’m really happy with where it is at now compared to my freshman year.

Do you have any favorite collaborators on campus?

TO: Ellis and all of the ex-members of Gibson Ten.

EL: I work with Tobi, and love writing music with Daniel Mayer [’19]. Would be down to collaborate with other musicians, too, if the opportunity arose.

Debut project: “Be / Feel”

Standout track: “Be”

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