Belmont’s 26th annual Commercial Music Showcase highlighted the diverse talents of some of the School of Music’s best singers and songwriters — including two of this year’s CEMB Showcase winners.
Fresh off a win at Saturday’s Country Showcase, Nick Boyd took the stage in the Massey Performing Arts Center first. After discussing his musical influences with School of Music lecturer and host James Wigginton, Boyd performed a set of three original songs he co-wrote with fellow Bruins. Each song sounded like it could already be on country radio.
As Boyd showed off his songwriting and vocal abilities, bassist Stuart Caron and drummer Andrew Salminen carried the energy through the set, settling in comfortably behind Boyd’s more mellow piano tracks.
After an awkward and off-topic introductory interview from Wigginton, commercial voice major Malena Marcase wowed the MPAC crowd with a locked-in pop performance, including a cover of Kesha’s “Learn to Let Go.” In addition to the inclusion of electronic backing tracks and flourishes, Marcase also tossed some interesting choreography into her set. It was an element that none of the other performers included, and helped set Marcase on her own level. A strong stage presence with an even stronger voice to boast, Marcase dropped a memorable performance into the middle of Monday night’s show.
Junior commercial guitar major Trevor Martin was third to perform. After sharing some John Mayer lyrics that inspire him, Martin gave a smooth, guitar-driven performance of two originals that would have made Mayer himself proud. However, his acoustic guitar left him looking somewhat trapped during his final song — a grooving, faithful cover of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror,” the song Martin credited with getting him into Belmont’s music program.
Christian Showcase 2017 winner David Dennis closed out the night by once again taking the Belmont audience to church. Dennis, the only Christian artist of the night, said he originally didn’t want to go into music because of its instability as a career. Luckily for us, Dennis changed his mind somewhere along the way.
Dennis performed an original and two covers, surrounded by a choir of talented background vocalists. Dennis immediately took control of the MPAC crowd, encouraging audience members to get out of their seats for his high-energy performance. By the final song, a crowd had gathered at the foot of the stage to join Dennis in worship — the focal point of his performance and artistry.
Catch the next performance of Belmont’s best singer-songwriters at the ASCAP Writer’s Night on Feb. 28.
This article written by Alyson Merkle. Photos by Carina Eudy.