As any music lover knows, we are not all created equal. Some prefer the wild, fist-pumping, rock-on hand motion feel you can only get from a giant concert with a big-name headliner. Others prefer a more low-key, falling-in-love-at-a-coffee-shop vibe that you get from an intimate setting with an artist who is so passionate about his music he could care less if there are only seven people there.
For those of you still getting over the shock of Jason Derulo coming to town, you should be aware that Bradley offers other entertaining options. Lydia’s Lounge may not seem like a prime locale for a concert, but it has potential with a coffee-house intellectual vibe. At least that’s the hope when Jared Mahone comes to town.
Mahone, a native of the Columbus, Ohio music scene, is a soulful, beat-driven artist who thrives on creating his own unique sound. He sets himself apart with sincere vocals and gospel-laden rock undertones. His style attempts to enhance the local culture by adding unique elements like beat-boxing and new renditions of classic songs.
Listening to his version of “How Great Thou Art” on YouTube, it is hard to liken the artist to anyone else because his sound is so unique. To Mahone, it is all about pushing the envelope, not to pull a Lady Gaga, but to showcase how much style and musical talent he has.
Mahone is not only trying new remakes of classic soul songs, but he has also taken on an entirely unique challenge, one that might set him apart from other indie-style musicians. It is, in essence, a self-commissioned year long sentence – the Mix Tape Project. Mahone has committed to producing one demo-quality song per week – 52 songs in 52 weeks.
This wouldn’t be so bad if this was his only steady commitment, but Mahone has also established himself as a premiere college touring musician, playing a show at a different college almost every day.
His ability to write, produce and record music with such a quick turnaround is a talent that college kids should appreciate more than anyone, having experience with creative process time constraints.
Smaller acts brought to Bradley for venues like Lydia’s Lounge are usually found at the National Association for Campus Activities, which ACBU attends twice a year.
“Jared just has a really unique and different sound and that is what we were going for – something different,” said Kristin Martino, president of ACBU. “Lydia’s Lounge has been a very successful venue for us. It gives less-known performers a chance to interact with the audience in a more intimate setting.”
One of his most popular songs in his mix tape collection is “From: Joe To: Betsy” and is definitely worth a listen. The song has so much heart with lyrics like, “This river is my hometown/It’s the place where I settled down/It’s all I’ve ever known.”
The song has a deep story behind it, focusing on his wife’s grandfather going through the death of his wife and showcases Mahone’s ability to add different tones to make a song better fit its lyrics. When a musician lets his audience get that close to his heart, the passion shows and even non-musicians have to appreciate that.
Mahone has already developed a pretty solid fanbase through paid subscriptions to his collection. The goal of this is an interactive approach to the music, letting the subscribers create their own album of songs, which might help him decide the songs to use for a full length album.
All great artists have to get their start somewhere, and it says a lot about Bradley that that somewhere might be here.
Check out Jared’s show on Saturday at 8 p.m. in Lydia’s Lounge.