The Angie Haze Project Advances to the Final Round of the International Songwriting Competition
by Brittany Nader
The self-proclaimed “gypsy” of Akron folk music has been keeping busy lately. Angela Cevasco, a.k.a. Angie Haze, has been in the process of recording and compiling a new, two-part visual album. Each song represents a chapter in her life and is filmed on location in spaces that have been memorable to her over the years. She’s also on track to release 12 EPs leading up to the release of the visual “memoir,” with each song recorded in one take. She has also undergone a major project with Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts, which features students from all art departments interpreting Haze’s songs in an effort to bring awareness to the importance and necessity of local arts and the impact it has on our youth and community.
Now, her hard work is being recognized with a prestigious award nomination from the International Songwriting Competition, an annual contest that allows aspiring and established songwriters from around the world to have their original compositions recognized by some of the music industry’s biggest names. Among the judges for the competition this year are Tom Waits, Chris Cornell, Lorde, Ziggy Marley, India Arie, Donovan, Devo’s Gerald Casale and many other esteemed songwriting pros. Industry execs from labels like Warner Bros. Records, Atlantic Records and Sony Music also round out the judges’ panel.
Haze’s song, “Wave Goodbye” from her “Addiction” EP, has reached the final rounds, making The Angie Haze Project among the top 25 out of 16,000 global applicants. The song is eligible to win the grand prize, which includes cash, a custom guitar, recording time at Dark Horse Recording Studios, tons of gear, free music distribution and many other coveted goods and services. While judges like Waits and Casale will listen to her song and have the opportunity to select it as the winner, “Wave Goodbye” is also in the running to win the ISC People’s Voice Award, which is voted on by the public.
“‘Wave Goodbye’ is at least six years old — I wrote it in the kitchen,” Haze says. “The reason I chose it [to enter in the contest] was because I felt like that was closest to home in terms of production that I had done, along with the song ‘Follow’ that I submitted. I was thrilled to find out that was one of the songs that was selected.”
Recording that particular track took place over a week-long basement “hibernation” session, with Haze and producer Spencer Martin spending hours holed up in Haze’s home experimenting with different harmonies, instrumentation and, as it turns out, genres. “Wave Goodbye” is notably more bluesy than Haze’s standard eclectic, vaudevillian-folk repertoire, highlighting her range and ability to branch out beyond traditional blues standards.
From singing and dancing along to the repetitive thud of her dryer in the laundry room as kid, to sharing the stage with David Mayfield and The Avett Brothers, Haze’s journey as musician has taken her to many larger-than-life, unexpected places. However, she says it’s the moments where she’s playing for just four or five people in a small, intimate venue that can often be the most rewarding. It’s the connection she feels between her performance, her songs and the faces of those tuning in to what she has to say that reminds her why she loves writing and playing her original works.
On making it to the final round of the International Songwriting Competition, Haze says the experience has been surreal. She credits the law of attraction and her own psychological growth over her years playing music with this new opportunity, reflecting on the fact that the ISC nomination is already opening so many new doors for her personally and professionally.
“This has been a long journey, I’ve had a lot of ups and downs, but the one constant I’ve had in my life has been music,” Haze says. “That’s where I’ve found the most serenity, and I just want to share that with people so desperately. I want people to see that they can have that as well.”
(Photo by Jen Pezzo Photography)