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FAU Students Receive First Place in Prestigious American Songwriting Awards

BOCA RATON, Fla. (July 15, 2014) – Florida Atlantic University  students Sean Dough (Darch) and Chris Felix (Bazelais) recently won the 2014 American Songwriting Award in the Hip Hop category. Their song, titled “Change Your Mood," was featured on CompOWLation Volume 3, recently released by FAU’s  Hoot/Wisdom Recordings L.L.C. Chris Felix, who wrote the music, is a current commercial music major and Sean Dough, who wrote the lyrics and performs on the track, is a political science major and commercial music minor. The song was produced, mixed and recorded in Studio A at Florida Atlantic University.  You can hear the song at the following link: and find a list of American Songwriting Awards recipients here

The American Songwriting Awards is an international, elite-class songwriting competition open to unknowns and working artists who want to be heard, recognized and rewarded for their songwriting talent. This high-profile annual contest brings together top music industry producers, artists and songwriters to discover and promote new talent in a format that focuses solely on their ability to write great songs.

“This is an outstanding accomplishment for these young artists,” said Michael Zager, director of FAU’s Commercial Music Program and Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in the Performing Arts. “It is a testament to their abilities and the high quality work being done at Hoot Wisdom Recordings.”

Hoot/Wisdom Recordings is FAU's student-run/faculty supervised record label.  The program, which was established in 2003 by Michael Zager, a music producer, composer and arranger, offers comprehensive undergraduate and graduate programs to help students develop skills for a professional music career. Students are able to study the business of music as they develop their individual instrumental and/or vocal skills. This prepares students for recording careers, studio performance, arranging or producing, and live performances.

“FAU’s commercial music program has provided me with an excellent education in the business of music,” said Felix. “I've been taught by entertainment lawyers, attended lectures with composers and of course interacted with more than a hundred student musicians. I also followed  Michael Zager's book on producing to make this song with Sean. I’m really proud to be a part of this organization and I know my experience here will help me with my career down the road.”

Other FAU students involved in recording “Change Your Mood” include  Ilana Armida (Simone), lead singer; John Frasca, guitar;  Reid Santiago and Quincy Knowles, engineering; and  Grace Kimmel, Leonia Coleman, Anthony Vincent and David Duque, additional vocals.

Hoot/Wisdom Recordings has released three CompOWLation albums to date. Find out more about FAU’s Commercial Music Program in the Department of Music in FAU’s Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters at


Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit

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