favorite artist

From left, UT students Julia Waicberg, Kyla Harrison, Katherine Allen and Hannah Kelly are collaborating to promote and expand the music app JamFeed. The app streamlines music-related news into one easy-to-use platform.
Photo Credit: Charlotte Carpenter | Daily Texan Staff

Your favorite artist tweets a little tidbit about a highly anticipated album or single. Your heart starts beating rapidly as you scramble to find any information about this potentially life-changing musical masterpiece. All of a sudden, your newsfeed swallows up the precious tweet, never to be seen again. 

That’s where JamFeed comes in. JamFeed is a 6-month-old free music app created by two brothers, Cameron and Tyler Gibson. With the help of UT students, the Gibsons developed the app, which places all music-related news onto one convenient platform.

JamFeed operates much like Team Stream, an app that notifies its users about the current status of their favorite sports teams. In JamFeed’s case, the app notifies users about album releases, concerts, tour dates and events. 

The Gibson brothers created the app when they realized how cumbersome it was to find current information about artists or bands they listened to. Updates on newly released singles or last-minute concerts were quickly lost in their Twitter and Facebook newsfeeds, making it difficult to keep up with the latest music news. 

The app has nearly 3,000 users and is the official app for Euphoria Music and Camping Festival, an annual, outdoor alternative music festival, which is taking place April 10-12 in Austin. The Gibsons’ main objective is to gain exposure and users  for JamFeed in the next few years and partner with local bands to promote the Austin music scene. 

Julia Waicberg, advertising sophomore and JamFeed social media intern, said she’s excited to see JamFeed gain traction at Euphoria and finds volunteering for JamFeed worthwhile.

“It’s not a paid internship, but it’s so rewarding still,” Waicberg said. “Each good thing that happens is because we put in the effort. Katherine Allen, mechanical engineering and Plan II freshman and the JamFeed Kickstarter campaign coordinator, said she hopes to reach potential users during promotional events at SXSW.

“For SXSW, we’re having a party that will host some local bands,” Allen said. “We’ll be in JamFeed shirts passing out JamFeed stickers. Hopefully we can get a few artists signed on.”

Aside from aggregating music news and notifying users of upcoming tours and events, JamFeed shares original content, such as artist profiles and Q-and-A’s, with its users. Bands that partner with JamFeed will share exclusive content about secret shows or new music.

Hannah Kelly, journalism and Plan II freshman and JamFeed’s content writer, said the app fills a void that Facebook and Twitter aren’t equipped to fill.

“With Twitter, it’s just really convoluted,” Kelly said. “You’re following so many things, and it’s hard to actually see what you want, and then on Facebook, it’s really expensive for artists to get all of their news out to their users.”

Allen said she views JamFeed as a gateway of opportunity into the technology startup industry. She said organizations such as the Longhorn Entrepreneurship Agency, which introduced her to JamFeed, give students a chance to explore innovative business ventures that otherwise wouldn’t have been as accessible. 

“It’s an amazing learning opportunity,” Allen said. “You’re not stuck in a cubicle. You’re not running getting donuts. You’re really making a difference, and you know if you weren’t there, then this thing wouldn’t be running.”

Fans often fail to identify their favorite artists as anything other than dedicated musicians. Some fans may not be able to imagine their favorite artist as someone who breaks away from writing lyrics or strumming a guitar to doing everyday tasks such as reading books, writing in a diary or even cooking dinner.

However, Glenda Pierce Facemire, author of “Music in the Kitchen,” has broken away from the notion that musicians are little more than the accumulation of their greatest hits. Facemire’s book allows readers to see their favorite artists from the PBS show “Austin City Limits” create masterpieces in the kitchen.

In her book, Facemire has published recipes from Willie Nelson, Bloc Party, Dolly Parton, B.B. King and many other artists who have performed on the show.

Facemire has been associated with “Austin City Limits” for 21 years, working more than 550 shows as head makeup artist. Eight years ago, Facemire had the idea of creating a book based on the favorite recipes of artists who performed on the show. She started by acquiring contributions from local artists, before eventually reaching out to nationally known artists.

“I made it so anyone that wanted to contribute a recipe to the book got the chance to,” Facemire said. “I figured, even if they aren’t that well-known, they were invited to ACL for a reason. Clearly, these are talented individuals.”

Facemire’s primary goal of publishing the cookbook wasn’t to make bags of money or achieve fame and glory, she said. Rather, she said she wanted to reciprocate what the organization had given to her and others.

“The book was my way of contributing to PBS and musicians,” she said. “It was about giving back to people who have contributed to entities beyond themselves. [For me,] it was all about creating an awareness.”

A theme that rings true throughout Facemire’s book is the idea of giving back to the community. Aside from lists of ingredients and recipe directions, artists have listed charities they support.

Because the contributing artists have grown up in different provinces, cultures and customs across both the U.S. and the world, each recipe is unique in its flavors, ingredients and variety.

Among the recipes readers can try are a traditional Southern recipe for collard greens from Loretta Lynn, a recipe for a New Orleans etouffee from Marcia Ball and a recipe for puff puff, a traditional Nigerian doughnut, from Femi Kuti.

Even though the idea of combining music and food may seem odd to some, Facemire knew from the beginning that she was onto something.

“These people aren’t just megastars. They are human beings who take joy in home-cooked meals and life beyond the road,” she said. “This book brings them down to a different level of appreciation.”

At the end of the day, the book can be summed up as it is described in the foreword: “bounty of unique and original recipes that are as creative, eclectic and adventurous as the artists who have shaped the ACL legacy and made it the longest-running popular music series in American television history.”