By Joshua Madden
After an intense audition and selection process, Baylor’s Uproar Records label has signed five artists for the upcoming year. The artists will all have the opportunity to have their music recorded professionally through Uproar Records.
Three individual artists – Layne Lynch, Trannie Stevens and Holly Tucker –were signed in addition to the duo O, Loveland and a band consisting of Cameron Butcher, Byron Roldan and brothers Jacob and Michael Agnew that has yet to be named.
“I’m just really happy to be here. I know there’s a reason behind it and I’m just curious to find out what it is,” Stevens said.
The genres of the artists varied widely. While Stevens called her music “poppy-jazzy”, Tucker considers herself to be primarily country and Lynch said she has a Regina Spektor-sound with Mumford & Sons lyrics.
Tucker said she tries to “put a little soul” into her country, although she stressed that she would not classify her music as twangy country or pop music Tucker said she felt it was important to “stick to [her] country roots.”
The two collaborative acts were even more difficult to classify. O, Loveland, which consists of junior Clark Jones and Dallas sophomore Amy Boykin, who is Uproar’s only returning artist, said that they were unsure of how to label their music. The artists said they were best described as “folk and dance, but just because we like the word “dance.”
The other band blends several genres because of the mix of both rap elements and more traditional vocals.
“The fact that we could rap and sing gave us an element that some of the other bands don’t have,” Butcher said.
The band originally met playing baseball together in south Houston, and eventually wound up playing worship music together at the same church. Jacob Agnew and Roldan also participated on drumline together in high school. Once they all were finally at Baylor – Butcher and Jacob are freshmen this year, while Roldan is a sophomore and Michael is a junior – they decided to audition for Uproar Records.
Since then, the band has been working to develop each other.
“We’re working with [Roldan] on vocals,” Jacob said.
“I didn’t know that,” Roldan joked.
The individual artists, on the other hand, all expressed an interest in the personal aspect of producing music. Lynch, who sings and plays piano, explained that writing music is a very personal process for her.
“Whenever I write a song, it’s a very emotional process in that moment and I feel that makes it easier to remember. I also write lyrics and record myself using my phone sometimes,” Lynch said.
Stevens commented on her writing process, saying that she is primarily a “melody writer” and tries to incorporate religious themes into her music.
“I got to high school and started liking boys,” Stevens joked, “so that’s been an element of my music ever since, but my heart that’s behind it will definitely still have a religious aspect to it.”
Although she does write her own songs as well, Tucker, who plays guitar, piano and the alto saxophone in addition to singing, said that she is willing to cover the songs of other artists if it fits her own style, highlighting the music of Carrie Underwood and Tina McBride as examples. Tucker said that she also enjoys covering Rascal Flatts songs under certain circumstances.
“I can’t do that without a band because it’s not in my key,” Tucker said.
Lynch, who is a theater major, said that she finds similarities between performing on stage and performing music.
“I just like the process of thinking and the emotional aspect…there’s a raw element of music and theater and connecting with people that I enjoy,” Lynch said, “There’s an aspect of just laying it all out on the table. You don’t have to be quite so civilized when performing.”
The members of O, Loveland said that performing is one of their favorite aspects of working as musical artists.
“I think getting to play shows and meeting people is something we both enjoy,” Boykin said.
“It’s fun to meet people doing something we love, like music,” Jones said.
Ultimately, as the artists look forward to working with Uproar Records over the course of the next year, they are all trying to figure out how the process will work for them as artists.
When asked about being signed, Lynch said she hadn’t “really processed that” and that she was curious to “find out what’s going to happen, how [her] life is going to change.”
Members of the one band signed to the label, however, stressed that the camaraderie they have as a band will help them with the process.
“There’s no other group of people I’d rather be working with,” Michael Agnew said.