When Luke Benson started approaching other music lovers in the state about his idea for the Iowa Music Project, he did not anticipate that the end result would be a showcase where he and a committee would be trying to pick fewer than 30 songs from more than 250 submissions.
"We were hoping for maybe 100, and we got that many in the last week alone. It was a tremendous response," says Benson.
Benson is founder of the Iowa Music Project, a non-profit organization funded in part by the Iowa Arts Council. They've recently announced a new compilation album to feature 27 up and coming Iowa artists who were chosen to be part of a showcase after a songwriting competition held earlier this year.
During this segment of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Benson, and Luke Tweedy, owner of Flat Black Studios, located outside of Iowa City.
Tweedy is giving each of the artists chosen for the showcase a half day of recording time in the studio. He says it's exciting to give new artists a chance to do something they've maybe never done before.
"In the age of online music streaming, it's a lot harder to get noticed. Now that everyone can record, people are blasted with so much music," Tweedy says.
"When you're on a label, you've got the reputation of the label, which sort of functions like a taste maker, behind you."
The Iowa Music Project will release the album later this year and will host a concert with a few of the artists from the compilation at the Des Moines Social Club on June 2, with headliner "Middle Western," who will also be featured on the compilation album. Iowa artists David Zollo, William Elliott Whitmore and Brian Cooper, as well as Chicago based artists, Stephen Howard and Stevie Doyle, make up the band.
Hear an exclusive rough mix of Middle Western's new song "Help Me," below. "Help Me" is a track off the band's forthcoming album.