This week, some of the newest musicians on the local scene will have a chance to show off their work and possibly win an opportunity to record it. The Lawrence Songwriter Showcase kicks off Tuesday at S&S Artisan Pub & Coffeehouse. That’s where artists will play two original songs that will be judged by both the audience and a panel of judges.

The man behind this showcase, 27 year-old Matthew Mulnix, invites winners to record at his home studio. The winning tracks then appear on an album full of present and past winners, to be released on streaming platforms. We talked with Matthew ahead of this week’s event.

IHLM: What prompted you to start putting these together? 

MM: “I had just finished releasing my second solo album, Relative North, with producer Travis Hill of the band Microwave in Atlanta, GA. Through the process, I realized that two things can comprise what brings a song from bedroom demo to quality product. Pre-production, which is having a clear vision in mind, and technology, which is recording equipment and knowing how to use it. A home recording setup can employ creative vision/technology to produce songs that can compete with Nashville/LA/NYC, or at least not far off. So, that’s the idea behind the showcase. I bring my home studio to the table, and winners receive a free song they can be proud of.”

IHLM: What do you hope Lawrence gains from this event? 

MM: “The ability to push local music past the city limits through quality recordings. We’ve already seen it happen with showcase alumni like Kyle Austin, Victoria Gunderson, and Ellie LeBar. Kyle plays 3+ gigs a week, is growing his fan base day by day online, and has the opportunity to open for large touring country artists. Victoria brought her love of music and brewing beer professionally at 23rd St. Brewery together through her 2019 KS brewery tour. She’s also released a second recorded song professionally, which is great to see. Ellie LeBar is the hardest working high school musician I’ve ever known. She busks downtown as much as possible, while growing her original songs set to a number larger than most musicians twice her age. All these artists and more play music no matter what because it’s in their blood, but releasing their original material certainly keeps their fire going.”

IHLM: Why do you feel it’s important to keep doing this? 

MM: “I want to make a home recording studio viable for myself/artists in Lawrence. With the technology that exists today, there’s no need to travel to Nashville for a $$$ an hour studio fee to execute your art. With a good song, clear creative vision, and modern recording tools, we can put out some cool music that might not otherwise be heard outside the city limits. I want to continue encouraging songwriters to record/release their music, so they can be streamed alongside their favorite artists.”

The fourth installment of the Lawrence Songwriter Showcase is this Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. at S&S Artisan Pub & Coffeehouse on the corner of 23rd and Iowa.   



Fally Afani is an award-winning journalist with a career spanning more than 20 years in media. She has worked extensively in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more.

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