Student aims to showcase St. Louis musicians via mobile app

UMSL student Gregory Ballard wants to develop a mobile app that would showcase local musical talent. (Photo by August Jennewein)

As an aspiring hip-hop artist, Gregory Ballard Jr. knows firsthand how tough it is trying to make a name for yourself on the St. Louis music scene. He also knows that building buzz is paramount to achieving that goal.

“I want to help artists. I feel their pain,” said Ballard, a senior studying media studies at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

He thinks the best way to help other St. Louis artists is via a mobile app he’s hoping to develop. LoveTheLou™ is what he intends to name it.

“The app would be a playlist of songs submitted by independent artists in St. Louis,” said Ballard, who performs under the moniker PhaGinBaum FaNess. “They have to be good quality original recordings, and they have to pass a screening process. After they’re approved, the songs would then be available for the listener to hear on the app.”

With the app, people would be able to download new music from St. Louis artists for free. Ballard’s inspiration for the app is his love of St. Louis and the local music scene.

“St. Louis has a lot of talent,” he said. “I want people to listen to local music as their first choice.”

One of the obstacles up-and-coming artists face is getting airplay and building a fan base. Because garnering radio play is nearly impossible for artists that aren’t established, the app would solve that problem.

“With the app, it’s not about having personal relationships with radio personnel, or if they’ve ever heard of you, “ Ballard said. “It’s all about the music. It kind of eliminates all of the politics associated with it.”

He said the app would be a boon for the artists because “typically in the business you want to build a fan base locally before you try and go national.”

Ballard is hoping to team up with other UMSL students to realize his project.

“The mobile app is in the conceptual stage at this point. I hope people will hear about it and want to help,” he said.

Ballard is on track to graduate in December. After that, he plans on pursuing a master’s degree in communications.


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