Student-run record label at University of Saint Francis’ downtown Fort Wayne campus attracts widespread artist interest

This is the logo for University of Saint Francis' student-run Marble Lounge Records record label program. (Courtesy of University of Saint Francis)
University of Saint Francis' student-run Marble Lounge Records record label is based at the university's campus in downtown Fort Wayne. (By Kevin Kilbane of News-Sentinel.com)

The University of Saint Francis’ new student-run record label’s search for its first recording artist attracted submissions from about 50 musicians, including some as far away as New York City and St. Louis.

Most of the artist submissions to the recently named Mable Lounge Records came from musicians in Indiana and Ohio, but they received those distant applications, too, said Andrea Robinson, director of USF’s Media and Entrepreneurship Training in the Arts (META) program, which is based at the college’s campus in downtown Fort Wayne.

Students and staff now are in the process of narrowing down the submissions to five or six artists, Robinson said. They then will involve Rob Mathes in the final decision.

Mathes is an Emmy-winning and Grammy-nominated producer, arranger/composer and music director who has worked with music artists including Sting, Bruce Springsteen, U2 and Yo Yo Ma.

Mathes is scheduled to work with the selected artist on one of his or her original songs and produce the recording of it, Robinson said.

USF announced the creation of its student-run record label this fall. The program will give real-life, hands-on experience to its META students and those in its School of Creative Arts’ Music Technology Program. The latter has state-of-the-art recording and performance studios at the downtown campus.

Music technology students will record the selected artist’s album, and a marketing team of META students will promote it.

As they narrow down the artist submissions and pick one to sign, faculty and students involved in Marble Lounge Records will be looking at three key factors, Robinson said:

• Whether the artist’s work meshes well with USF’s Franciscan values. Those are reverence the unique dignity of each person; encourage a trustful, prayerful community of learners; serve one another, society, and the Church; foster peace and justice; and respect creation.

• The music integrity of the artist, such as her or his ability to write and perform music and the instruments she or he plays.

• What type of social media presence, if any, the artist has established already.

“We didn’t want to trample on anyone’s creation, but we did need some guidelines to follow,” Robinson said of adhering to USF’s Franciscan values.

They hope to have a music artist selected by the end of this month and to announce the selection in early January, she said.

They already have an artist album launch party scheduled for April 13 at USF’s Robert Goldstine Performing Arts Center, 431 W. Berry St., which will include a debut concert, she said.

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