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Lakeview Academy students set to release first music single

POSTED: November 13, 2013 12:54 a.m.

Lakeview Academy student Cooper Lewis, left, gets recording software prepared as he and Parker Oliver prepare to make a recording inside the school's studio.

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One is a guitar-playing athlete. The other is a theater-loving sound engineer.

Together they’re producing songs that, as singer-songwriter Parker Oliver puts it, are a “cross between John Mayer and Jack Johnson.”

Oliver, a junior at Lakeview Academy, is releasing his first single “Get to You” this week across multiple platforms including iTunes and Spotify.

“I’ve always been into music and singing,” Oliver said. “About a year ago, I really decided that it was something that I wanted to do.”

This is where Cooper Lewis, a senior at the school, came into the picture.

“It was about the end of last school year when I was just walking down the halls in here and I heard (Oliver) playing,” Lewis said. “I hadn’t even met him before, and we started talking.”

Lewis informed Oliver about the recording studio the school had just installed, inviting him to use it for recording his songs.

“I thought he just had, like, one or two songs,” Lewis said. “Then he came in, and he had seven or eight ready.”

Since then, the duo has recorded several of those songs with the goal of ultimately releasing an album.

They record the raw version with just Oliver and his guitar in the studio. Lewis then takes the track home to add more instruments like drums or the keyboard.

Oliver wrote the first version of “Get to You” two years ago following a breakup.

“I tried to make a generalization of what was happening, just among the problems that I faced,” he explained. “I tried to make (the song) as general as I could to relate to everyone instead of it being (about) a specific relationship and a specific problem.”

The song would still be on his phone if it weren’t for Lewis stepping in to help with recording, Oliver said.

Lewis spent much of this past summer working in sound studios and gaining connections in the music industry. The aspiring music producer plans to use those connections to help independently release Oliver’s album when it’s ready.

“When I play the recordings that we’ve made (for other people), they honestly won’t believe that it’s Parker singing all that,” Lewis said. “I have to bring him in there and (have him) sing for them. People are just astonished that this basketball player has that kind of voice.”

Lakeview’s fine arts coordinator Tammy Skinner couldn’t be more proud.

“It’s just really amazing for 17-year-old kids,” she said. “Not only does Cooper do this on his own time ... but we just won state for our one-act play, and Cooper ran the sound. ... The sound was absolutely, probably one of the best parts of the whole day.”

She called Oliver a “real artist.”

“This was not teacher-guided,” she said about Lewis’ and Oliver’s collaboration. “This is their deal.”

Neither Oliver nor Lewis is nervous about putting a self-produced track out there for public consumption; in fact, they are embracing the challenges it presents.

“Regardless of what people think ... I’m only after the audience that is happy,” Oliver said. “I’ll do my best to ignore the people that are trying to get in the way or the people that are trying to be a negative influence.”

“There’s more to come,” Lewis added. “This is just the first bit of it. Hopefully by the end of this year we’ll have the full album released, and we’ll be contacting venues around Gainesville, maybe metro Atlanta, for some gigs and performances.”


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