Liberty University Welcomes Mac Powell as Guest Host of Michael W. Smith Remix Project

Liberty University’s Michael W. Smith Remix Project, held at the School of Music on September 13-14, announced its top six finalists. 

The remix project offered students the chance to record their own versions of a guest musician’s songs. This year, Mac Powell of the band “Third Day” gave a list of songs to be reimagined by students. After each student presented his or her rendition of the song, Powell picked the top six songs he liked. Those six students had the chance to hear the artist perform their song in the studio.

This gave student qualifiers the opportunity to express their artistic creativity and learn more from an accomplished singer.

“I entered to be heard by someone who knows what he’s talking about,” DJ Gravitt, a senior interdisciplinary studies major, said. “To be recognized and given advice by someone who is seasoned in the music industry was very insightful.”

The top six finalists that Powell picked were Lucas James Meinerd and Kristian Morris with the song “God of Wonders,” Ethan Haglund with the song “Tunnel,” Parker Robinson, Joseph Brown and Savannah Shockey with the song “Nothing Compares,” DJ Gravitt and Daniel Waid with the song “I Need A Miracle,” Raymond Patrick and Matthew Alan Knesal with the song “Soul On Fire” and Jacob Rahm Alory with the song “I’ve Always Loved You.”

According to Liberty’s Product Development and Communications Director John Forystek, this recording opportunity is a big opportunity for the selected students.

“The biggest thing about the remix project is to get our students producing with professionals…These artists who have tons of number ones [want to see] how students can take [their songs] from what they were and make them more current with what we hear today,” Forystek said.

Nathan Zwald, director of audio production in the School of Music, explained that students must modify and change every piece of the song to make it their own unique production.

“The students will choose a song and they have to put all the music together. Not only do they have to record all of the instruments [and] program the different digital beats into their song, [but] they also have to sing vocals and put [it] in a performable format,” Zwald said. 

Both Forystek and Zwald also said Liberty’s broadcast department filmed the project and will broadcast it as part of a TV series. Each episode will feature a different musical guest and the students they selected to records the songs.

The results of the project will be announced within the series.

When discussing plans for the remix project, Forestyek and Zwald said more episodes are to come, but would prefer to keep details private so they can surprise the audience during broadcasting. Until the next episode, they encourage students to use their musical creativity to try out for the next project. 

Wallace is a news reporter. Follow her on Twitter at @kait1200.

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