Some of MTSU’s talented student artists had an opportunity to showcase their gifts at “Open Mic Night” held Friday evening in the Keathley University Center Theater.
Sponsored by the I Am Me Inc. female student group, the April 1 event lasted just over two hours and featured poetry, rap, and singing throughout more than a dozen performances.
MTSU junior Laxaviera Garrett, I Am Me’s director of public relations, said that the open mic night was one of the major events of the year for the group, which has a mission of empowering female students and building their self-esteem.
“We have different events on campus all year round and we normally have two big events to try to bring everyone out on campus, and this was one of them,” Garrett said.
Myra Shaw, who hosted the event and serves on I Am Me’s history committee, shed light on how the event’s origins and the overall goals for the night.
“Our different committees all just came together and sort of made this event happen,” she said. “We wanted to raise money for our organization and also wanted to showcase the talent on campus and help people get their names out there.”
Artists from MTSU, Fisk University in Nashville, and Clarksville all performed. Some of the standouts from the night included MTSU students Kameron Curry, who performed “Nightcap,” and Douglas Telford, who debuted his song “The Heart.”
Both artists were thrilled at the chance to not only perform live in front of a crowd, but also being able to network with the other different artists that performed.
“I thought I did pretty well tonight. I could see the crowd was definitely engaged and had their eyes on me,” Telford said. “A couple of people came to me afterward and (said) they enjoyed it and they wanted to hear more from me or they wanted to work (with me).”
Curry was equally pleased. “I’m just thankful to I Am Me for giving me a shot. A lot of people know I rap and produce, but now for the first time I actually get to show it.”
MTSU student Jasmine McCraven and Tay Keith served as the DJ’s for the event as well aiding in crowd control.
McCraven, who hosts a radio show on MTSU’s student-run WMTS 88.3 FM, was pleased overall with the quality of the performances and being approached to help DJ the event.
“With (I Am Me) being an all-female organization, they felt like it would be a good look to have a female DJ partner with a male DJ to work on this together,” she said, adding that she thought the event had “a great turnout” and that the work by her and Keith improved the show.
Keith has a following on campus and has already produced music for artists such as Memphis acts Blac Youngsta and Snootie Wild. He enjoyed teaming up with the different organizations.
“We all have our own different movements and I just felt that it was the best for me to do the show with her (McCraven),” he said. “The energy was cool and I definitely felt we helped control the crowd along with the great acts.”
— Steven Michael Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org)