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Jamie Norwood

In hopes of appealing to a wider range of students, Tulane University Campus Programming will host singer-songwriter Ben Folds with opening act Minus the Bear in McAlister Auditorium Tuesday.

“We haven’t done a rock/pop show in a really long time,” TUCP President MaryKate Romagnoli said. “Ben Folds appeals to a demographic of Tulane that maybe didn’t go to the Janelle Monae or Snoop Dogg concerts.”

In the past, TUCP has mainly brought in hip-hop artists such as Kid Cudi and Lupe Fiasco. For the spring concert, however, the TUCP board worked to find a performer in a different genre.

“Think about Janelle Monae and Ben Folds,” Romagnoli said. “Besides the fact that they’re both incredibly talented, they’re polar opposites in terms of the music they make and the crowds they appeal to.”

Monae is without doubt a fresher name in the business, but Folds’ music is recognizable to a wider demographic.

Folds released his first album in 1995 with his first group, Ben Folds Five. The band churned out hit after hit, including the heartwrenching abortion ballad “Brick” and the upbeat, life-affirming anthem “Army.” After four albums, the band split and Folds moved on to pursue a solo career. His first solo album release, 2001’s “Rockin’ the Suburbs,” was a huge success. Since then, Folds has embarked on sold-out tours and released nine solo albums. His newest album, 2010’s “Lonely Avenue,” was a collaboration wherein English author Nick Hornby penned the lyrics to Folds’ music.

Though it’s nearly impossible to please an entire student body, the TUCP board puts a great deal of time and effort into choosing an artist who students will be excited to come and see.

“We do try to get a lot of student input and definitely take feedback from students after our fall concert,” Romagnoli said. “Then there’s a whole concert committee of 20 kids, so we bounce around ideas.”

Once the concert committee makes a list of potential performers, the board takes a vote. From then, TUCP communicates with a middle agent and discusses prices and availability.

“It’s this big, huge communication chain until someone says, ‘Yes, we can do this event for this price,'” Romagnoli said.

Folds is sure to put on quite the performance. He expresses his passion through his unbelievable piano skills and moving lyrics in each and every one of his songs. Popular live antics include a spirited cover of Dr. Dre’s profane classic “Bitches Ain’t Shit,” audience participation during the singing of choruses and use of the popular webcam site Chatroulette to broadcast concerts to random viewers online.

“He’s an amazing performer and has such high energy,” Romagnoli said. “He’s the perfect spring act.”

Tickets cost $5 for Tulane students and are on sale in the Lavin-Bernick Center and online at tucp.musictoday.com.

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