Fresh Pens, Etc.
When NewMusicalTheatre.com asked Drew and me to write a blog post about our upcoming concert and the associated Fresh Pens contest, we decided it would be best to sort of interview each other in a back and forth Q&A style-session. Below is the end result.
Your cool key: DO = Drew Overcash; BP = Blake Pfeil.
Hope you enjoy it. – BP
BP: Well, hey Drew.
DO: Hey Blake.
BP: Let’s talk music and stuff.
BP: How did this concert and contest even happen? We should start there. I legitimately forget.
DO: Who’s surprised? All jokes aside though, before we can talk how the “Fresh Pens” contest came about, you have to know how Twenty-Somethings came to fruition. Blake’s a man with many grand ideas, which is part of what makes him a great person.
BP: Stop. Don’t stop.
DO: Anyway… Blake contacted me and asked if I’d be game to do a concert together. I was thrilled. I loved the idea and jumped at the opportunity.
BP: You’re killing me here.
DO: I will if you don’t shut up. We both have such different sounds and we are good friends so I thought why not do a joint concert. But, as we went through everything, we quickly realized that we were missing something.
BP: Yes! Ms. Sarnak.
DO: Correct. Enter Zoe Sarnak. I had done a concert with her a few months prior and if her unique sound and style wasn’t enough to get me hooked, her personality won me over. I introduced her music to Blake, and we both reached out and asked if she wanted to be a part. After she came on board, we moved forward and were lucky enough to have The Highline Ballroom give us a home. That concert is and will probably always be one of the most amazing nights I have ever been a part of. Four months of planning and stress were completely worth sharing the stage with these two individuals for an hour and thirty minutes.
BP: Can I say something though? You haven’t, as always, given yourself enough credit here.
BP: No, seriously! I really coasted the first couple of years that I was in New York. This entire “new musical theatre composer” world fell into my lap and flowered as it did purely by accident, and it would not have happened as such had it not been for Drew.
BLACKOUT performs “Find My Own Way” by Drew Overcash at last year’s Twenty-Somethings Concert.
BP: You know that I count you as like my personal manager, basically. I met Drew through some mutual friends just after I got to New York, and I quickly became familiar with his work, but I never thought it would happen that my secret singer/songwriter aspirations and his go-get-‘em attitude would collide in the fashion that it did. I think Drew’s work ethic is incredible. He’s a fucking machine, and he himself has grand-scheme ideas. I had heard all about this beautiful woman Zoe Sarnak, and I thought it would be interesting to have three different styles in one evening, and it turned into this: year two! I didn’t expect it to happen the way that it did.
DO: Right. Fast-forward forward to right now as we began the planning stages for the second edition of the concert. Within that year, Zoe premiered her new song cycle The Years Between, Blake began recording his first album Wallpaper, and I wrapped up a developmental workshop of my musical Boys Vs. Girls. So much happened in one year, but we’re still Twenty-Somethings – growing, changing, and learning more about ourselves each day.
BP: So sweet and meaningful.
DO: Really though, when I look back, I see all the individuals – from the singers to instrumentalists to venue managers to friends and family – who took a chance on my music. As with Blake and Zoe, we would not be able to do what we do without the help of so many people. That is one of the reasons this community is such a blessing to be a part of. People help each other grow and build their art.
BP: Again, not giving yourself enough credit. The Fresh Pens contest was really all Drew’s idea. Drew is such a curious creature to me because I don’t think the guy sleeps — not since I’ve known him as a part this “new musical theatre composer” world, anyway. My connection and appreciation to this whole contest idea that Drew came up with is actually super-duper personal, and I don’t think he realized it when he brought it to the attention of Zoe and me.
Corey Mach performs “Chomp” by Blake Pfeil at last year’s Twenty-Somethings Concert.
DO: Huh? What?
BP: Well, think about it: Drew is entirely responsible for shedding light on the other side of my creative pursuits and showing me that I could take songwriting seriously while still being a full-time actor. Now he’s come up with this contest, and I think it’s so spiffy because essentially, it’s exactly what he did for me: showing an undiscovered talent that with enough hard work and determination, he/she can do whatever he/she damn well pleases in life. Drew is one of the most supportive dudes I know, and it’s so lovely to watch him try to perpetuate the idea of truly supporting each other. To be honest, that’s one of the things I wish I saw more of in our industry overall: true, uninhibited support of all your colleagues who are working together to keep the art of musical theatre alive, vital, and accessible to future generations.
DO: I just think it’s our responsibility to give the same opportunity and help to those who are where we may have been a year or more ago.
BP: You already see a lot of it, but I think we could go even further in showing our support of one another. Above all, I think that’s what makes this Fresh Pens Contest a truly fantastic idea because the more support and care that exists for the fostering of and appreciation of new talents, the better off we are as a community, and I’m just glad people like Drew are around to do just that.
DO: Stop. Don’t stop. Anyway, if you are a young composer starting your career, you still have until June 27th to send us your stuff. We want to hear it! You can learn all about the contest here: www.drewovercash.com/freshpenscontest.
The Highline Ballroom is located at 431 W. 16th Street. Tickets are on sale now and range from $15 to $35. For more information, visit: http://highlineballroom.com/show/2014/08/18/broadways-next-generation-twenty-somethings-2/
Lauren Pritchard performs “If Your Child” by Zoe Sarnak at last year’s Twenty-Somethings concert.