University of Michigan freshman Haoyan Shi came into his first semester of college with a passion for music. The math and computer science major very quickly recognized an unfulfilled need within the Umich student community: they lacked a place for aspiring musical artists to produce their own music. Based on this, he founded Blue Records Group, a record label for students.
“A lot of people are talented musicians […] but there’s not a lot of them who can do every process,” Shi said. Producing a single song takes a lot of effort on multiple fronts from writing lyrics, musical composition, singing, editing, and promotion. It also requires a recording studio which is costly and out of the price range for students. “In this way, people can collaborate with each other to make great songs.”
Blue Records Group has three main departments: artists, business, and performance. Within the artists sub-section, there are songwriters, artists, producers, editors, and more. There are over 30 members currently in the club but it continues to expand since it first began in Nov. 2021.
“We have a wide variety of people who are in our club,” Shi said. There are three students in the club who are majoring in Umich’s School for Music, Art, and Dance but others are from all different majors. All of the members have a shared interest in making music. “For the SMTD students, they are more capable of carrying out the whole production process with their peers. However, our focus is also on the people who cannot produce sound by themselves but have the talent.”
Recently, a group of artists from Blue Records Group performed at Umich’s Martin Luther King day celebrations. The decision for these artists to perform in this event was made just a week before the show but it ended up being a pivotal part of the entire program. A group of six artists put on a rendition of “Everything Has Changed” originally by Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran.
“I noticed that some of our students like live performance more than just pure song recording,” Shi said. “Our activities are mostly based on what [artists] are interested in. We were able to rehearse only twice before the performance but we did a good job.”
The label has already released covers and original music with no plans of stopping anytime soon.