An eerie, ambient musical drone hung above the inside of the ACM@UCO Performance Lab, interrupted every so often by an alien voice warning that five minutes were left in the session.
“Brian Eno sent that over for Booker,” assured a tall, bearded man monitoring the space, in which five music industry professionals — whose experience ran the gamut from big-name booking agent to major-scale event production — were in conference with inquisitive students of ACM@UCO, aka the School of Rock.
“Booker” is Scott Booker, ACM’s very well-connected CEO; and the gathering, Industry Link, connects the school’s pupils with working professionals.
“It’s kind of like speed-dating,” explained David Goad, who leads the local post-punk band Of the Tower.
Nashville singer and voice coach Jaime Babbitt met with Goad and about half a dozen other students during a recent event.
“David was looking to eradicate the mix area of the voice,” Babbitt said. “I told him to build up his strength in a way that would allow him to sing more strongly, and to belt in a way that isn’t going to harm him. He mentioned that he screamed a bit, too.”
She offered Goad a few proactive exercises that hopefully will improve his singing voice, while also sustaining it for a long career. She also encouraged him to continue listening to a wide range of artists while still in his formative years, a creative notion she feels ACM supports.
“I think [the students] are encouraged to be open thinkers,” Babbitt said.
“And they get to explore different aspects of their creativity that may not be encouraged by other universities.”
Cameron Neal, who sings for psych-rockers Horse Thief, said he’s participated in Industry Link each semester.
“We’re looking for some business advice — learning where we can fit in and what sort of opportunities our sound affords us,” Neal said.
Launched in 2009, ACM@UCO offers college instruction on various aspects of the music industry.