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September 29, 2023

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Alumnus competes in competition to work with talented producer

Local musician and alumnus Zack Fletcher has the chance to win a trip to Hollywood and to record an EP with a producer who has worked with the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, among other artists.

The EP recording with producer Don Was is the grand prize in the Guitar Center Singer-Songwriter Contest 3.

Artists in the contest earn points when people watch or share their music videos. The top 10 artists in points for each week for a 10-week period form a pool of 100 finalists. Was and the other judges will choose 10 artists from this pool to be flown to Hollywood. The artists will perform a show and a winner will be chosen.

Fletcher describes himself as a singer-songwriter and described his songs as “strongly based on experiences and my feelings toward those experiences.”

Musically, Fletcher is inspired by the music he enjoys, which ranges from Radiohead to Spanish classical guitar to Led Zeppelin’s acoustic side. Fletcher described his own style as tending to include folk, blues, soul and R&B.

He has shown the ability to adapt, however. At an open mic night at Howard’s Club H, Fletcher paired up with saxophone player and Live Muzik founder Mike Williams for songs more jazzy than Fletcher’s usual style.

“He adapted very well,” Williams said. “Playing jazz allowed Fletcher to be more free and to more so kind of go with the flow.”

Williams said Fletcher’s personality is calm and relaxed, yet he brings a lot of energy into his powerful performances.

That energy, along with the imagery he creates, made him “such a fun person to play with,” he said.

“Guitar is definitely where I’m most comfortable,” Fletcher said.

However, he has some experience with drums, mandolin, banjo and piano.

Fletcher did not choose a music-related major while attending the University because he did not want music to feel like work. Instead, the December 2011 graduate chose Spanish and Environmental Policy and Analysis.

Still, he was playing music the entire time. For about six years, Fletcher has been part of the hard rock band Flaming Hot Marbles. In 2008, he started taking his solo songwriting more seriously, he said.

Writing a song is a long process, Fletcher said. He never goes into it with a specific outcome in mind, preferring to see where the process takes the song.

Musician and almunus Cory Breth has played music together with Fletcher since 2010 and has kept up with Fletcher’s contest. Breth said Fletcher is an extremely talented musician and hopes he will be the victor.

“A lot of times people are one-track minded and he’s really open to different things and he wants to experiment and take things different ways,” Breth said. “It was just fun and simple playing music with him and he was the easiest person to work with.”

Fletcher has played solo and with Flaming Hot Marbles at venues such as The Stones Throw, Howard’s, Grumpy Dave’s and Cla-Zel. A recent solo performance at Cla-Zel was taped for Live Wire, WBGU’s radio and television music show.

Fletcher’s next show will be on Oct. 16 at The Stones Throw. It’s part of the weekly Hump Day Revue and that particular Wednesday night is a benefit supporting the downtown Christmas lights.

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