Writing and harmonizing

Sophomore Mackenzie Lawrence, a member of a cappella group the GW Vibes, is very passionate about music. But when she couldn’t find an outlet to journalistically express and discuss her interests, she decided to do the next best thing – create her own.

“I recognized the need for students to have an artistic outlet – something GW doesn’t really have,” Lawrence said last week.

Late last semester Lawrence joined with senior Chris Matthews to create their own music magazine, The Cellar, where students interested in all types and genres of music could express themselves with pens and pencils, instead of their instruments.

“Mackenzie really wanted to get involved in a publication at GW, and finally a friend said to her, ‘Why don’t you start your own?’ It was like a big ‘duh’ moment,” Matthews added.

Since then, the two have been hard at work trying to put something together. The two English majors began brainstorming ideas for the three most important things they said they needed to produce a publication: money, money and money.

And they’ve been creative at trying to raise it – in December they threw a fundraising concert in Mitchell Hall with three local bands. But in order to get people to actually show up, they raffled off tickets at the 9:30 Club and the Black Cat, two of D.C.’s popular live music venues, which help spread the word.

“The show was really successful. We’d like to do one big concert every semester,” Lawrence said.

Because of their lack of funding, they said the magazine is only going to be available online for at least the first few issues. Students can find the first monthly installment at www.thecellarmagazine.com by the end of the first week of classes.

Unlike other college music magazines, both Lawrence and Matthews hope The Cellar will stand as a ubiquitous music magazine that discusses all types of music.

“We’d like to cover every kind of variety, and we’re not trying to be exclusive or alternative – as we continue to grow, our goal is to cover more and more types of music,” Matthews said.

Lawrence said The Cellar has a staff of about 10 writers who are “committed and wonderful, interested in writing about all different kinds of music.”

While she added that most of the writing in the first few issues will come from this core group on-staff, she said she and Matthews are very open to all different voices and opinions from students who aren’t full-time writers.

“All music deserves to be heard, and learned about – I don’t want to turn down anything and I am more than willing to publish material written by a student who isn’t on the staff and doesn’t attend all the meetings,” she said.

Lawrence said that when the magazine gains enough momentum (and cash) to be published in a hard copy form, they will begin recruiting more long-term, permanent writers.

He added that one of the other main goals is to get the word out about musical events and meetings happening on campus and around D.C., and making it available to everyone, not just those involved in the music field.

In the long run, what they hope is really going to set The Cellar apart from other publications on campus is the feel that people get when reading about something as emotional and personal as music.

Said Lawrence: “A good music magazine is like a good friend – someone who says, ‘I really like this music and I think you might like it too.'”

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