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UA student competes to open for singer-songwriter

Layton Dudley

Logan Bowden, a senior majoring in music business and entertainment, is one of six finalists in the LARABAR Renola Remix Singer-Songwriter contest, which features a prize of $500 cash and the chance to open for indie-folk singer Gregory Alan Isakov. CW | Layton Dudley

Francie Johnson

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Last week, Logan Bowden, a senior majoring in interdisciplinary studies, received the news of a lifetime: he had been selected as a finalist in a competition to open for his songwriting idol, Gregory Alan Isakov. 

“When I found out I was a finalist I couldn’t stop moving,” Bowden said. “I had to pace around my apartment calling all of my friends and family with a huge cheesy grin on my face. It was the first time it really felt like this could be something big.”

Bowden is one of six finalists in the LARABAR Renola Remix Singer-Songwriter contest, which features a prize of $500  alongside the opportunity to open for indie-folk singer Gregory Alan Isakov in either Denver, Colorado, or San Francisco, California. 

“Normally I would never enter a song contest because I feel like music shouldn’t be judged like a sport, but since I knew I would have the opportunity to play alongside my songwriting idol, I had to enter,” Bowden said.

Gregory Alan Isakov, a singer-songwriter originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, is best known for his songs “The Stable Song” and “Big Black Car.” Bowden, who has met Isakov twice before, said Isakov’s lyrics about travel and exploration appeal to his own desire to see the world. 

“The first time we met, we played one of my songs together, and that has been the most inspirational part of my musical career,” Bowden said. “I know its not much, but when you listen to an artist as religiously as I do, he becomes some sort of a celebrity.”

To enter the contest, Bowden submitted a two-and-a-half minute video of himself performing an original song titled “On the Road.” 

“I find that my best songs hit on a couple of key problems or concerns that I have in my life,” Bowden said. “A lot of the song is me struggling with the idea of belong in a place. Its hard when you feel a pull in different directions.”

All six of the finalists’ videos are featured on the contest’s website, where listeners can vote once per day for their favorite. The voting period lasts until Friday, Feb. 6, and the two finalists with the most votes will be selected as winners. 

Holland Hopson, a New College instructor, has taught Bowden in three courses: Creativity and Computers, Making Music in the Digital Age and Concert Series Management.

“Logan seems to be a good collaborator, which is an essential skill in the arts,” Hopson said. “In one instance, he and another student turned a video game controller into a musical instrument, composed a short piece of music for it and then performed it for the class.”

Although he sometimes deals with self-doubt and fear of rejection, Bowden said he plans on pursuing a career in music and winning this contest could be a major milestone for him. 

“I’ve struggled with the idea [of a music career] for so long as a kid, but when it came down to it, it was the only thing that made me feel happy and real,” Bowden said. “It’s gotten to the point to where I would rather be broke and happy with my guitar than in any other profession.” 

To vote in the LARABAR Renola Remix Singer-Songwriter contest, visit larabar.com/renola-remix. The contest allows one vote per email address per 24-hour period. Voting ends Friday, Feb. 6, at 11:59 p.m. MST. 

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UA student competes to open for singer-songwriter