Monica Ostroska of Salisbury has already made the cut. Now, she's aiming to make the second one.
The 21-year-old Catawba College sophomore is hoping fan support will help swing her from the semi-finals to the finals of a music contest now ongoing in the Charlotte market on station, 96.9 The Kat.
Several weeks ago, Ostroska, an East Rowan High School graduate and a fledgling songwriter/musician majoring in music business, entered her original song, "Bluegrass Lullaby" into the Miller Lite Great Taste Music Series hosted by 96.9 The Kat. Her song was one of the top 18 finalists the station put on its website, www.wwkktfm.com, for online voting. Fans narrowed the 18 finalists down to nine and Ostroska made the cut – her song was voted 7th out of the 18 – and she moved to the semi-finals of the contest.
Now the difficult part of the contest begins, the part that Ostroska describes as "the battle of the bands" style competition. Ostroska and the band that she has put together for the contest will perform live, playing against two other bands, at 2 p.m. on April 25th at The Rusty Rudder in Cornelius. They will be rated on their semi-finals performance there, based on audience applause and how well they entertain. They will perform five of Ostroska's original songs and one cover song with a total of 30 minutes on stage. Of the three bands which perform this day, only one will move on to finalists' competition. The other semi-finalists with bands will compete on other dates and times in similar elimination fashion.
The three finalists compete against each other on April 30th at Whiskey River in uptown Charlotte and whichever band wins, Ostroska explains, "will get to open for a national headliner (a huge, very famous artist) on the Miller Lite stage at the Food Lion Speed Street also in uptown Charlotte on May 21st."
"I have to compete against the guy who finished in first place and had more than 30% of the online votes in the contest, so I need to get as many people as possible to come and cheer for me on April 25th so I can stay in this competition and win!!!" Ostroska says. "I'm only two steps away now!"
Monica Ostroska on "Bluegrass Lullaby" – In Her Own Words
"The song I entered into the contest is called "Bluegrass Lullaby." I wrote all of the music and co-wrote the lyrics with a friend of mine named Misty Bowers (she does not go to Catawba) and the lyrics were a 50/50 effort. The base of this song was written in about two hours, but revising and polishing which is technically, never completely done, in my opinion, took months and months (like three at the least).
"The song is based on the following story:
There was a little girl born and raised in the South. She grew up swimming in creeks and climbing the mountains from North Carolina to Galax, Virginia with her dad, who introduced her to this amazing thing called bluegrass. They took an annual trip to Galax, Virginia every year for the bluegrass fiddlers' convention.
One year, when she was about 12, she met a young boy, a banjo player, very, very good for his age (of about 18) at this convention. He was in a bluegrass band and had a passion for music like the kind you only hear about. On stage, he sang a song he wrote and called it "Bluegrass Lullaby".
Well, as the years went by, they both always looked forward to the fiddlers' convention to come around so they could see each other from afar again. They never got past small talk because the fates just never allowed it. Every year, they fell more and more in love, him watching her from the stage with his banjo, bobbing his head up and down to the beat of the music, her watching him from the audience singing along to all of his songs by heart.
Eventually, the little girl was all grown up and life caught up with her. She got married to someone else and had children, but will always wonder what could have been and will never forget her "Bluegrass Lullaby" she left in Virginia at the bluegrass fiddlers' convention. THE END … lol."
Monica Ostroska on Music – In Her Own Words
"I've been songwriting since I was 18, but not very seriously until about two years ago. I have a music myspace page http://www.myspace.com/officialmomo
. I feel like I have grown as an artist as a result of coming to Catawba College and taking the classes Dr. [David] Fish offers in Music Business
. It's very apparent that Dr. Fish is passionate about developing our MuBu (short for music business) program into something greater that can stand out and truly make an impact in any individual like myself who not only dreams, but has been striving all their life towards a future of making a happy living in the popular music industry.
"The best way for me to describe why I am a songwriter is by using a section of lyrics from a song by Anna Nalick called "2 a.m.":
…2 a.m. and I'm still awake writing this song, if I get
it all down on paper it's no longer inside of me,
threatening the life it belongs to.
'I can't even tell you how many times I've stayed up until 5 a.m. working on a song then catching a few hours of sleep, shooting a 5-hour energy drink, and going to my morning classes. It's exactly like she [Anna Nalick] words it. Sometimes life throws things at me that I just don't know what to do with other than to write a song about it. Some people talk to their friends about it, some people talk to shrinks, some people hold it all in — me, I've tried it all. The only thing that gives me peace, whether it's an emotion caused by pain, sadness, anger, love, or confusion, is expressing how it feels inside of me, with harmonies, words, and rhythms.
"Music is soooo powerful, not to mention influential. This is such a dumb analogy, but music is as basic as water. Think about it, water can cause great things, such as quenching our thirst, baking "just add water pancakes," creating oceans to surf in and at the same time, it can be deadly, I mean you've got hurricanes, people drowning, when you're drinking it and it goes down the wrong pipe and then it burns. Then again, water washes us. When you take a shower at night, and you're letting the water fall right into your face, all the stress and pain of the day falls down into the drain along with the suds, and then you dry off and feel calm, free, and rejuvenated. Music is the same, music can cause us to feel a certain way — bad, good, and in between, but it can also take feelings away too.
"Music can be emotions that you hear. I am more passionate about music than anything I've ever encountered. I swear when the movie "August Rush" came out, I was appalled to realize that it was possible for someone else to love music as much as me! I still maintain that it's impossible. Lol. It still freaks me out a little though, about how much I can relate to how August hears the music in the movie, how he hears it in the light, the wind, anything, everything. I find it relieving that he said it that way first though, in the movie, because if I would have said it first, people would have told me I was a crazy nut. It's soooo true though!
"I can be completely alone — I can recall sitting in my room in high school being completely bored, sitting on my bed, the only sounds were low tones from the news coming through the wall, the sound of my creaking ceiling fan, and the warmth of the sun in stripes coming through the blinds onto my skin. That afternoon, I wrote a bubbly and relaxing song called "Tuesdays are the Perfect Days," but if you heard it, you would easily be able to imagine yourself lying in a hammock warmed by the sun and cooled by the perfect breeze, none of life's worries, just swayin' in the wind, thinking about the good things in life, like summer picnics when the grass is lush and at it's greenest in the park, or spinning in circles with your arms stretched out on that very rare occasion when it's sunny, warm, and RAINING."
LISTEN: "Bluegrass Lullaby" by Monica Ostroska (mp3)
LISTEN: Catawba's Popular Music Students & Recent Graduates