Columbia senior wins $ 10,000 scholarship Live Nation and Music Forward – the Columbia Chronicle
For Tandrea Hawkins, a senior major in the music business, music was something she knew would be a part of her life forever. A minor in hip hop studies, Hawkins said that before coming to Columbia, she wanted to get involved in the music industry, whether through business or as an artist.
“When deciding what I wanted to do as a specialty
Bearing the stage name “T Star Verse,” Hawkins said after reflection that she decided that learning the business side of the music industry as a rapper would be fascinating.
In high school, Hawkins discovered Music Forward, a nonprofit organization under House of Blues. Striving to educate and support young artists, Music Forward empowers creatives to network with workshops and showcases.
Through Music Forward, Hawkins worked as an intern focusing on artist relations and program development in fall 2020, researching artists to participate in the organization’s programs, and ensuring performances run smoothly. Hawkins also had the opportunity to perform at the Governor’s Ball in 2019, where she met various celebrities including Charli XCX.
Hawkins said she was convinced she would win the Tiffany Green Operator Scholarship valued at $ 10,000 because she had demonstrated several recent successes.
“I was super excited and proud – it was cool to see other people believe in what I can do to support me financially,” Hawkins said.
Monika Jaiswal-Oliver, Academic Director and part-time faculty member in the Department of Business and Entrepreneurship, said Hawkins is determined, strong, kind and focused.
“She has a lot to offer, [and] … She is a very bright student, ”said Jaiswal-Oliver. “She is a very good role model for a lot of students and especially for the women on our campus. I strongly support her. I would ask other students to follow her and see what she does.
Jerry Brindisi, Associate Professor in the Department of Business and Entrepreneurship, first met Hawkins as part of his J-Term course “Music Industry Immersion: Music Business Workshop”. He said she was a leader — smart, adaptable, and involved.
“What stands out is his ability to connect with the people around him,” said Brindisi. “He’s a pretty positive person with a very bright demeanor about him. As part of the class, students [were] working long, very intensive days, and I remember that she was really a leader in her group that she worked with and that she was doing really well.
In August 2020, Hawkins released their debut album, “Balance”. Available to stream on YouTube, Spotify and other platforms, T Star Verse’s debut album features 10 tracks that she says were created during a time when she was trying to find balance in her life.
“This is pretty much my journey of literally trying to balance and understand the ups and downs of life in general,” Hawkins said. “It’s about different things that happen in life: relationships, your own personal life, wanting to win in general in everything you do. “
In addition to releasing an album last year, Hawkins and Jordan Blair, a junior major in the music business, worked together and founded Fusion of Light Entertainment, an entertainment company that aims to provide underground artists with a platform to see through virtual and in-person events.
As the pandemic began, Blair said she and Hawkins realized that artists in their circle had nowhere to perform.
“We realized that… they weren’t really sharing their emotions, and they were just locking themselves up, and they were stuck,” Blair said. “You can’t really write anything when you don’t know what you’re feeling or what’s going on, so we decided to create a space for artists to share what they’re feeling and share their creativity. … We both created Fusion of Light – and she had this wonderful idea to call it Fusion of Light to help artists follow this journey.
Going forward, Hawkins said she hopes the company can host a festival to help creators of all art forms get a chance to share their work.