EOM’s Open Mic Night is a haven for undiscovered artists offering something that’s been mostly unavailable to campus musicians in years past: a scene.
Scheduled for Feb. 9 in Powell Underground, the event provides an opportunity for local artists and musicians to step into the spotlight and showcase their talents before a live audience.
Since the fall of 2015, Eastern Open Mic night (EOM) has offered singers, rappers, guitarists, poets and all other performers a chance to express themselves and meet up with other performers twice a month.
For Dante Beausejour, the music marketing major who hosts the open mic night, getting the ball rolling came with relative ease.
“I basically just had a group of friends who helped me start the organization,” Beausejour said. “It only took a couple of weeks to get through the paperwork and get people on board with the idea. A lot of people were spreading the word for me and I’m pretty good at promoting, so I reached a lot of students.”
And on board they were—EOM’s first event garnered a turnout that filled nearly every seat, which soon created a demand for more events.
“A lot of people were curious to just come out and see what would happen and to see different artists, so I was like ‘should I just keep doing them?’” Beausejour said. “And ever since then we just keep doing them.”
It should be no surprise as to why the event gained traction so quickly, as Beausejour says that the event was mostly formed out of the need to connect artists in ways that were previously lacking on EKU’s campus.
“A lot of people said they came out to the first event because EKU didn’t really have an open mic or anything like that,” he said “There wasn’t really any other way to get artists involved.”
This wasn’t the only reason he took action. Beausejour is an artist himself. Having worked under the stage name Yung Racks, he has used the event both to shed the spotlight on other musicians and to boost his own career as a hip-hop artist.
Beausejour said he hopes to use the events as a way to build a local scene for EKU and to likewise develop his own skills toward his goal of becoming a music manager. So far, he said things have been coming together.
“Every day I’ve found a different artist here,” he said. “I had a class with a violinist who was super shy and thought he’d never perform. Ever since, he’s performed at multiple events and with other organizations around campus like MCC (Minority Collegiate Connections) and the NPHC Step Show.”
Eastern Open Mic prides itself on being an open-minded group. Violinists, country singers, R&B singers, and anyone with a passion for music are welcome to attend and perform.
“It started out with just a few rappers and I thought ‘You know what? I want to change it up.’ I like rap, but I also love music,” Beausejour said. “I’m not going to restrict my crowd just to this one audience. That’s when I started branching out and started talking to different students in the music program to create a more diverse crowd.”
However, performers from beyond EKU’s campus are also welcome to attend.
“I’ve had guys from Lexington and Frankfort contact me and ask me if they could perform,” he says. “There’s really no restriction, and it’s all free.”
The organizers support all participating artists, even going to certain lengths to make sure their performers don’t get cold feet before performing on stage.
“I’d tell them to just come out, perform, and don’t be shy,” Beausejour said . “No one is ever going to get booed, even if certain people don’t like what they’re playing—I always encourage the crowd to boost the artists up before and after their performances to get them hyped about their performance.”
For Beausejour, the best part about hosting, he said, is the impact it has on other students.
“I get to go out, see the crowd, and have people thank me for putting it on,” he said. “I get to see a lot of people keep coming back and I’ve even had staff come out because they’ve heard about it from other people. It becomes more of an ‘I need to keep doing it’ thing instead of a question of ‘Should I do it?’”
Students or artists in the area who want to participate can find the event in Powell Underground from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 9, as well as four additional dates this semester that have yet to be announced.
All attendees have to do is show up, but they can get in contact with Yung Racks (firstname.lastname@example.org) for any additional questions. Free food and drinks will also be available to anyone attending.