Northwestern students create songwriting show

Joanne Lee, Reporter


A new show for novice and experienced songwriters alike to share their work is making its debut at Northwestern.

“There is just a plethora of new work that is itching to be created and this event is just a really good outlet for that,” said Communication senior Kyle Sherman, co-producer of the New Songwriters’ Cabaret.

Vertigo Productions will hold its first annual New Songwriters’ Cabaret on Saturday, April 18 at 8:30 p.m. in the Jones Great Room. The show will be free and will showcase 10 new songs written by 10 NU students and performed by eight.

“It’s really just a chance to show off that part of the Northwestern writing community that often doesn’t have a place to show off,” Sherman said.

Outside of the Waa-Mu Show, a music production put on every spring, there are limited outlets for songwriters to share their work with the public, he said.

This how Sherman and Communication senior Amelia Bell, the other producer of the New Songwriters’ Cabaret, got the idea.

“Our impetus was to give people an outlet for new musical creativity that wasn’t available already,” Bell said.

In hopes of getting their work showcased in the show, NU students submitted their songs, which were then voted upon by a committee without knowledge of who wrote which piece.

“There’s this very crazy amalgam of (songs) that don’t necessarily make sense together, which is partially weird and partially the fun of it,” Bell said. “It will really tailor to a lot of different people’s tastes.”

Medill senior Susie Neilson, whose song will be performed for the first time at the New Songwriters’ Cabaret, described her work as an “angry folk song.”

Through the New Songwriters’ Cabaret, Neilson said she was able to improve upon her song through hearing how other people interpreted and performed it.

“My favorite part about creating things is sharing them with other people and getting other people involved in my creative process,” Neilson said.

Communication junior Christopher Anselmo, who has been songwriting since he was young, said he enjoys the fun, community-oriented environment the New Songwriters’ Cabaret provides.

“This is an amazing forum for new songwriters, old songwriters and anyone who has written songs to showcase their work,” Anselmo said. “Hopefully that music will later become part of a larger show.”

In fact, Sherman said he feels excitement in being on the front end of knowing these songs could be playing on the radio someday.

“It’s new work,” Sherman said, “and new work is so important to the world.”

Sherman and Bell said they hope this Saturday show will be only the first of many others, and that it may become an established production at NU.

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the number of students who wrote songs for the show. Ten students wrote songs. The Daily regrets the error.

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