By Jessica Foreman
Freshman year is often called the year of firsts. First welcome week, first day of college. First time to live in a dorm room, first $500+ textbook purchase. First Baylor “sic ‘em” at the first Baylor football game, and the first time to do laundry for some.
What if it was the first year to get signed with a record label and start recording music in a studio?
For Amy Boykin, currently a Baylor sophomore social work major from Loveland, Ohio, that was her most notable freshman first.
When Boykin strolled into her audition last spring for Uproar Records, Baylor’s on-campus student-run-record label, she calmed her nerves, took her place in front of the piano and belted out one of her favorite songs, “New Shoes.”
“She had genuine raw talent,” said Ryan Anderson, president of Uproar Records. Tomball senior Anderson is a senior marketing and media business and has been president since April. “I remember seeing her as a breath of fresh air.”
A breath of fresh air is a good way to describe Boykin as she walked into the Lariat interview wearing bright pink glasses, a Mumford & Sons T-Shirt and a big smile plastered on her face.
She began playing piano in kindergarten and her grandfather’s vintage Gibson ’64 in eighth grade after it was discovered in a dusty attic. Boykin said she began writing songs as early as seventh grade.
“I used to have insomnia,” Boykin said. “I would stay up and write music all night. It’s one of the best ways I express myself.”
Boykin, who compares her sound to Regina Spektor and Sara Bareilles, first performed in front of her church community in ninth grade during coffee night. She later sang at Line Camp for Baylor after the scheduled performer of the evening broke a guitar string. After impressing audience members and receiving encouragement, one thing led to another and Boykin found herself auditioning for Uproar Records.
“I get extremely nervous for auditions,” Boykin said. “Hate auditions, love performances. I made it, which blew my mind.”
Since signing with Uproar, Boykin has performed several shows, written and released new music, some of which can be found on the Uproar’s annual composition album released this past April, and has plans to produce a music video in the spring.
“This [experience] enabled me as a freshman to be immersed in a community of musicians that I was hoping to find at Baylor,” Boykin said. “It’s been inspiring because of how much talent there is here. It also enabled me to become more aggressive and get active with my thinking.”
Part of that active mindset is highlighted in her initiative to start new band O, Loveland with Dallas junior, Clark Jones, that incorporates several different instruments including the ukulele, harmonica, tambourine, and mandolin.
“We say it’s stomping, dancing folk music,” Boykin said.
Boykin joked that she is also able to play the glockenspiel (an obscure percussion instrument), and Jones quickly chimed into correct her.
“You don’t play that,” Jones said before adding an important qualifier: “Not yet.”
Uproar Records released the five names of the new artists signed on for the upcoming year earlier this week, including Layne Lynch, Trannie Stevens, Holly Tucker and a band that has yet to be named consisting of Cameron Butcher, Byron Roldan, and brothers Jacob and Michael Agnew.
The duo of O, Loveland is the fifth new artist signed with Uproar Records this year. They are considered new artists because of the presence of Jones, despite the fact that Boykin participated last year.
Jones is not just new to Uproar Records, but to Baylor as a whole. Despite meeting Boykin in Dallas, the concept for O, Loveland developed while Jones was a student at Wheaton College in Chicago. This year, because he has transferred to Baylor, the duo successfully auditioned for Uproar Records together.
“Clark and I have been writing new music, which we are excited to start playing,” Boykin said. “The calendar is filling up with quite many shows and so there is a lot of preparation for that as we would ideally love to start including some of our good friends — who play various wonderful instruments — in our shows.”
O, Loveland played a show two weeks ago at Common Grounds with singer/songwriter Ben Rector.
“The show two weeks ago was incredible,” Boykin said. “So much energy. Most of the crowd had never heard our music before, but were so engaged in our set and enthusiastic about it, which makes the show so much better. It was packed. Clark and I really enjoyed meeting new people, that’s a big part of why we love doing what we do.”
Boykin said O, Loveland recently set up a YouTube account that will stay updated, as well as Twitter and Facebook pages.
Boykin’s advice to those looking to break into the music industry?
“Just be yourself. The second you lose yourself is the second you lose the art. Because music is such a personal thing, you have to be faithful to that and self aware.”
A&E Editor Joshua Madden contributed to this article.