When Chase Lawrence (’14), a songwriting major, and Joe Memmel met in their music theory class, they didn’t know that fame was just around the corner. Now joined by drummer Ryan Winnen and bassist Zachary Dyke (’14), an audio engineering major, their band COIN has sold out arenas and broken onto the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. The band recently returned to Belmont to share their success story and advice to aspiring Belmont artists.
After releasing a few singles on Noise Trade and playing small gigs, Lawrence said, “one show kept leading to another.” Their third performance as COIN was Belmont’s Rock Showcase, where the group was discovered by Columbia Records.
COIN then released its single, “Run,” in 2015 and was hailed by Billboard as “new wave crash-course survivors” destined to “break the Nashville mold.”
The group had this advice for aspiring Belmont artists:
- “No one is ever going to care as much as you care,” said Lawrence. A record label might want you to succeed, and your fans care about your music, but you have to put the heart, soul and hard work into the band if you want it to succeed. Winnen added, “Treat your business like you’re always running a start-up.”
- Record labels will only “magnify what we bring to the table,” according to Lawrence. They will help you, but you have to put in the up-front work.
- Winnen emphasized that there is “strength in identity.” Your music has to be a reflection of the culture of your band, and you must be authentic to that culture.
- As students, Memmel highlighted the future value of your current education. He said, “Take what you learn in school and put it to use outside of school.” Lawrence agreed, noting how invaluable his copyright law class has been in his career. Additionally, Memmel encourage students to take advantage of the “sprawling network of people you meet here [at Belmont].”
- Most importantly, the group attributes most of its success to “just showing up and trying,” said Memmel. He pointed out that you can’t be too shy to share your music.
The band has just kicked off an international tour, which began in Nashville and includes four sold-out shows in Europe. Their most recent album, “How Will You Know if You Never Try,” released in April and features their hit single, “Talk Too Much.” The song has since become their first to chart on a Billboard playlist. As COIN continues to grow their outreach, Memmel encouraged students to take risks and “be confident in what you’re doing.”