A gorgeous golden sunset painted Belmont’s historic North Lawn as the audience for the ASCAP Writers’ Night made its way into the Brad Paisley Ballroom in the state-of-the-art Fisher Performing Arts Center this past Wednesday.
As the audience settled in their seats, the sounds of anticipated murmuring filled every corner of the ballroom. The crowd was intimate but casual, and anxious to hear what these four young women set to perform had to say. The 5 P.M. Writers’ Round hosted four finalists from Belmont University’s songwriting program: Julie Hess, Keller Hudson, Lydia von Hof and Eleni Iglesias, with the winner being decided by a panel of judges made up of Big Yellow Dog executives.
The round began with Hess playing her moving lyrical piece and latest single, “Ocean” . The audience was captivated by Hess’ piano-playing abilities as she sang about needing to have that one person beside her as she takes on the next phase of her life.
After the applause died down, Hudson began playing her soon-to-be-released single, “Just Another House”. In this bittersweet country ballad, Hudson describes how the foundation of trust she built with her partner crumbled before her eyes. Despite the heartbreaking nature of this song, Hudson is no stranger to performing and quickly made herself at home with her audience. “I turned in a voice memo of this song for this Writers’ Night, and I vividly remember singing on my bathroom floor. You can hear me sniffling from crying,” says Hudson over the roar of an amused crowd. “I hope you all enjoy this breakup song. Happy Valentine’s Day!”
The mood of the round made a complete 180 as guitarist Lydia von Hof began strumming the chords to her jazzy Americana song, “Verona”. Her song depicts a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and discusses the heartbreak and betrayal that the couple encounters in “fair Verona”. Hof’s virtuoso guitar playing and soulful scatting intrigued not only the audience, but also the judges from Big Yellow Dog; Hof’s unique performance would earn her the winning spot of the 5 P.M. writer’s round.
Closing the round was alternative singer-songwriter Iglesias, with her newest single turned music video “Losing Fairytales”. In this upbeat coming-of-age single, Iglesias talks about the dangers of putting someone’s needs above your own. While tuning her guitar, Iglesias tells the audience that, “This song is about a special friend”. No matter how much we all “wish on the wishing well,” Iglesias’ song served as a solemn but genuine reminder that “sometimes those wishes don’t come true”.
At 7:00 PM, four more Belmont songwriting majors performed: Abigayle Kompst, Hana Eid, Gloria Anderson, and Torri Weidinger. The winner from this selected round would be Anderson. Both Hof and Anderson will be performing their winning songs at Belmont’s signature Best of the Best Showcase at the end of the Spring 2022 semester.