Posted on June 3, 2012.
Spring 2012 "In The Groove" Grand Prize Winner, Ethan Thompson.
By: Lisa Occhino
Last month, we launched our second-ever “In The Groove” Songwriting Competition. We received 60 amazing submissions from talented Berklee songwriters who all wanted a chance to win our best prize baskets yet, mass exposure for their music, and a feature interview in The Groove (see below!).
The competition was open to every genre of music, as long as it had a “groove.” Our staff meticulously listened through each submission and judged the songs on the music, lyrics, arrangement, and originality. After much deliberation, we finally decided on our Top 3: Candy Mabra, Christina Brehm, and Ethan Thompson. But this time around, we put a little twist on the competition: for the first time ever, we had the three finalists performed LIVE at our end-of-semester party, and the audience was given the power to vote for the winner!
The Student Activities Lounge was packed wall-to-wall with students who came to support the finalists (not to mention all of the free food we had for everyone!). After the incredible performances, we tallied up the votes and announced the results:
THIRD PLACE: Christina Brehm – “Sabotage”
Website • Bandcamp • Facebook • YouTube
SECOND PLACE: Candy Mabra – “Smoke and Mirrors”
Bandcamp • YouTube
FIRST PLACE: Ethan Thompson – “World to Run Around”
“World to Run Around” Music Video • YouTube • Website
STUDENT PROFILE: ETHAN THOMPSON
Berklee Groove: Congratulations on winning first place in our “In The Groove” Songwriting Competition! Can you give us a little background on the song you submitted? How did it come about?
Ethan Thompson: The chorus for “World to Run Around” popped into my head on a walk home on a sunny weekend last November. I sat down when I got home and wrote about 80 percent of the tune. Then I started recording from there, and finished the recording and writing about two weeks later.
BG: Who are your musical influences?
ET: I’d say my influences range from Newton Faulkner, Jamie Cullum, and Vampire Weekend, all the way to Tom Petty.
BG: How did you get your start in music?
ET: I first started music with piano lessons when I was around the age of five. I always liked writing my own things. When I was young I would change the songs I was playing in my lesson to something that I liked. I ended up writing a book of simple melodies for my first teacher when I was around eight and told her I’d like to play them instead.
BG: What led you to study at Berklee?
ET: I started writing my own songs with lyrics when I was around 17. My voice teacher told me that I should check out Berklee for its writing and performance programs. After going to the University of Montana for vocal performance for two years, I decided I really wanted to be going to school to work on my own original material rather than classical. After attending the Berklee in LA songwriting program, I was hooked on the idea of going to Berklee as a full-time student.
BG: What’s your semester, major, and principal instrument?
ET: I am about to be in my fourth semester at Berklee. My major is songwriting and my principal is voice!
BG: What’s the most valuable thing you’ve gotten out of Berklee so far?
ET: It’s hard to place value on the things I’ve gotten out of Berklee. The teachers are great, the students are amazing, and I learn a new lesson every day.
BG: What do you plan on doing after you graduate?
ET: I plan on having a successful career in songwriting and performing and living off of music.
BG: Where do you ideally see yourself in 10 years?
ET: Being an artist with a great fanbase. I want my shows and music to be an uplifting experience for all involved. I also plan to be successful enough to spend time not performing in Montana.
BG: Are you releasing any new music this summer?
ET: I am planning on releasing my next album in June 2012, and I just posted the music video for “World to Run Around.” A free download will be linked with the video to for all to enjoy!
BG: Awesome! Anything else you’d like to mention?
ET: I’d love to have a shout out to the guys in the band who played live with me. They got together and practiced in one week during finals for the show! Couldn’t have done it with out them: Caitlin Timmins, Adam Kronowski, Dan McCallum, Yusuke Sato, Trey Macias, and Sam Fischer! Also, thank you to The Berklee Groove for the opportunity to play in this show with the other great artists, Candy Mabra and Christina Brehm. They both had killer tunes and it was a fun event!