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Local Musician to Perform with New Twist in Song Writing

by on December 04, 2015 6:00 AM
State College, PA

Musicians are always looking for new and creative ways to draw their audiences in, and Jon Michael Swift has found one.

Inspired by crowdsourced song writing, Swift will present “The Question Box: An experiment in crowdsourced song writing,” tonight at 8 p.m. at Webster’s Bookstore Café in downtown State College.

With crowdsourced song writing being a new concept, there are many ways to go about it, Swift explained.

“I’ve watched others approach crowdsourced writing in different ways but my impulse wanted to go about it in a new way,” Swift said. “I wanted to get in peoples’ heads and write a song for them specifically, dedicate it to them.” 

Swift began to interview strangers as well as friends of his to create personalized songs about them and their lives. Swift’s State College performance will be a result of these experiences and interviews. 

“The main part of performance will try to the stories of people I have interviewed with a discussion at the end where the audience and I will talk about crowdsourced song writing, its techniques, subjects and other ways to do format it,” Swift said. “It’s a dialogue co-created with audience because the goal of crowdsourced writing is to co-create. I want to create a community that wants to be part of this process in more complex ways.”

Always having a passion for music, Swift began to freelance after graduating college in 2010 and has seen his experiment come into focus within the past year.

Swift credits his experiment to both his personality and his music profession. With a tendency with emphasize with people he enjoys getting to know people and find out about their life experiences. From a musician perspective, this experiment gives him a challenging twist on music and the chance to toy with a new idea. 

“It’s a very interesting and nice balance of head and heart in this project,” Swift said.

In the future Swift looks forward to work with different approaches to crowdsourced song writing and would eventually like to create his songs into video-oriented stories and put them on YouTube.

Swift’s performance is part of State College’s First Friday, an event sponsored by the Downtown Improvement District that is held the first Friday of each month.

Jaime is a fall news intern for and a junior at Penn State.
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