UNA Record Label Writing the Newest Chapter of Shoals Music Legacy

Sep. 15, 2009


FLORENCE, Ala. – Fame Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound are two recording studios that are immediately associated with the rich music history of the Shoals area. Singing River Records, a recording label based at the University of North Alabama, is not only continuing that music legacy but is blazing a new path as the leader of the next generation of music in the Shoals.

The label – produced, managed and marketed by UNA students – begins each fall semester by reviewing local artists from a pool of applicants. The label then chooses the artist it will produce and market throughout the academic year.

“Lots of schools do compilations of different musicians, but I wanted the concept to be more on finding and producing a single artist,” said Dr. Robert Garfrerick, chairman of the Department of Entertainment Industry at UNA. “I wanted it to be more realistic.”

The record label consists of four to five juniors and seniors in the entertainment industry department. Those students take the project from the initial phase of finding an artist and producing an album to booking shows for the artist and marketing the final product.

The label is open to any genre of music but focuses mainly on what is locally marketable. Garfrerick said some students have to overcome biases they may have when it comes to certain types of music.

“Part of becoming a pro is realizing you have those biases and getting past them,” Garfrerick said. “The real question becomes, ‘Is there a market?’”

Singing River Records produced contemporary Christian artist Lee Taylor the first year and pop artist and UNA student Rachel Pochop the second.

The label’s current producer, Kris Cochran, wrote a song his junior year at UNA that appeared on Pochop’s album last year.

“Last year, they [Singing River Records] were looking for people with songs, and I came in,” Cochran said.

Cochran moved into the producer’s chair for this year’s project.

“This is a good opportunity for people who want to work in the entertainment industry,” Cochran said. “It gives you what you need so that you know what you’re doing when you go into the real world.”

Singing River Records is still taking submissions for this year’s project.

For submissions contact UNA’s Department of Entertainment Industry at 256-765-4342.

INTERVIEWS AVAILABLE: For interviews with the students and faculty of Singing River Records, contact the Office of University Communications at 256-765-4225 or jlwoods1@una.edu, or Garfrerick at 256-765-4369 or ragarfrerick@una.edu.