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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Student projects promote local talent

    Photo courtesy of Vannessa Lundon

    Some might consider Vannessa Lundon to be a living example of the starving artist.

    At 19, the singer and songwriter moved to New York City to try out for American Idol. After no success, she stayed in the Big Apple waiting tables before moving to Tucson. Now 30, Lundon’s career is taking off in an entirely different way.

    A UA course, “Rock and American Popular Music,” taught by adjunct professor Brian Moon, is designed to teach students how to highlight and promote local Tucson artists with the use of hands-on, individualized group projects. This semester’s course has collaborated with Lundon, whose music is defined by reflective lyrics and upbeat pop and folk sound.

    The honors course, called “Rock and American Popular Music,” aims to promote Lundon through the use of social media, music videos, photography, studio recordings, Web pages and concert promotion.

    The project began as an assignment, and an experiment, Moon said, to introduce his students to the Tucson music scene and the structure of the music industry.

    “I decided to see what would happen if I created this strange project, and it worked,” Moon said.

    The course has been refined since its introduction to the Honors College in fall 2012 and has given students a sense of what it’s like to manage and promote a local band.

    Taylor Kelly, a junior studying philosophy, politics, economics and law, said she had no idea of what to expect of the course when she first enrolled. As director for Lundon’s music video to the song “Sante Fe,” Kelly led the group in charge of filming the video and collaborated with Lundon to develop a storyboard for the video.

    Those on the music video project first began meeting with Lundon in the beginning of September, and they have since filmed the entire video. The group is working on editing its final project this week to debut during Lundon’s show at Club Congress on Dec. 10.

    “It’s been a really fun experience,” Kelly said. “We made a lot of really cool memories, and now we have this project and a way to remember that experience by.”

    Moon said he gives his students a lot of freedom in terms of how they design and conduct their projects.

    “I wanted to empower [students] to explore places they’re interested in,” he said. “It’s almost like throwing them into the deep end of the pool. I give them a little guidance, I’ll sometimes give them an article or something to read — but for the most part, I try to let them find their own way and see what they come up with.”

    Moon said he chose Lundon because he had been following her as a live performer and she already had one album released, which was a criteria he had when he first began searching for local artists to promote.

    Lundon said the publicity the class has produced has encouraged her to push her own work more.

    “It’s definitely been a positive impact for me on a few levels,” Lundon said. “It’s made me get my butt into gear in terms of taking charge of my own music. It’s been a really unique experience, and I really couldn’t be happier.”

    Follow Casey Knox @Knox_Casey

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