By Samantha Schlein, ’14
SUNY Fredonia has always been bursting with talented musicians and artists; however, it takes a substantial amount of talent and motivation to channel those skills every week. This past year, however, Savannah King, a junior Music Industry major, took on this very challenge. In the process, she’s become recognized as one of Western New York’s top up-and-coming local artists.
King created, “The Alphabet Project,” an A-to-Z sequence of songs and videos that she created to showcase some of her original pieces, while also paying tribute to artists she admired. Embarking on her musical journey in June with “Letter A” (The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Ava Adore”), she released a YouTube video every Sunday at 1 p.m. for 26 straight weeks. Most of the videos have received at least 3,000 views, and together they have more than 36,000 views in total.
Throughout King’s musical accomplishments, she utilized the resources and seized many opportunities offered on campus. Her up-to-date website was created by Computer Science Club President Robert Szkutak, ’14. Her first two CDs were recorded by Kyle Wierzba, ’09, an Interdisciplinary Studies graduate, including King’s newest album, “She Sends Her Love,” which was ranked number one on the local WBNY music charts for five weeks. “I incorporate Fredonia as much as I can,” says King, who steadily invited Fredonia musicians to play alongside her throughout the project.
“I worked on ‘Letter J’ (‘Jenny Was a Friend of Mine,’ by The Killers) with Bonnie Deeds (’08, Music Performance). (Junior) Cara Kinney (Communication-Audio/Radio and Music Performance) played the saxophone on the ‘Letter P’ (‘Perfect for Me,’ a King original).”Savannah concluded the project with a bang by encouraging students to join her to play and sing in the “Letter Z” video (John Butler’s “Zebra”) in McEwen Hall, where about 20 students participated.
King created the project as a platform for others to hear her music.
“I don’t think it’s ever been done before, which was really surprising,” King confessed. “I searched everywhere to see if anyone else has done anything like this, and I found nothing.”
King’s passion for creativity doesn’t stop at music. She not only writes and performs her own songs, but she films many of her videos as well, and edits them all. The music is recorded live, on location, without lip syncing. “I think that’s really special about the project. It makes it real,” she explains.
Although the project ended on Dec. 1, King will continue to post videos and tour this summer.
At just 19 years old, Savannah has become the buzz of the Buffalo music scene, attracting media appearances and mentions from Kiss 98.5 FM, Artvoice, Buffalo.com, WKBW-TV, The Buffalo News and Buffblog.com, as well as national attention from HelloGiggles.com, and Philadelphia’s ThatMag (formerly ThatMusic-Magazine). She was recently nominated for the “2013 Best of Buffalo Awards” in the categories of Best Female Vocalist, Best Acoustic Act and Best Original Music.
She has also performed live across the country in cities such as Nashville, San Diego and New York City, and at iconic, unforgettable venues like the John Street Jam in the Hudson Valley town of Saugerties, N.Y. “John Street Jam is a song writers’ round, so they really celebrate song writers,” King relates, who heard about the venue from a friend and jumped on the opportunity to play there. “It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had!”
In her travels, she has encountered some interesting people who have inspired her from time to time. “You meet so many people, whether on a plane or at the venue,” she explains. “People would tell me these stories and I would think, ‘This would be really cool if I put this kind of spin on it.’ Some of these people were not musicians or artists, so their stories would never get told to a mass of people (otherwise).”
King hopes that she will continue to grow as a musician and song writer. “I’m trying to get to the point that I can support myself doing music once I graduate,” she says. “I’m trying to give it as much momentum as I can, so I can really get out there after I graduate — and having a Fredonia degree doesn’t hurt!”
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