Last Friday evening at 7:30 p.m., Grammy Award-winning artist T-Pain performed on campus as the featured Welcome Week concert artist this year. The annual concert is organized by the Student Involvement department and the Student Programming Board, and it is open to all students.

The originally scheduled artist, alternative rock band American Authors, was unable to take part in the concert due to a conflicting obligation at a charity event. Student Programming Board responded by inviting T-Pain to Trinity to begin the year.
While many students were excited for American Authors the response to T-Pain was positive.

“It was the coolest thing to wake up and see tons of Facebook posts, Snapchats, tweets, messages [and more] about the success of the concert,” said Benjamin Gomez, SPB concert chair. “To me, that is one of the most rewarding parts of the job.”

American Authors informed the concert organizers that they would not be available for the scheduled show date a month before the show would take place, according to coordinator of student programs Esther Kim. The Welcome Week concert typically booked months in advanced required a new performer to be booked within weeks. Though the group would have been available at a later date, it was decided that the event would stay on the scheduled date, and that another artist would be brought to campus instead.

“[Locating a new artist] taught us to be really flexible and responsive,” Kim said. “We thought it would be better to keep the original date and spirit of the concert.”

Before an artist is brought to campus for the concert, a list of available artists for the date and price range given by the university is brought to SPB and Student Involvement. Gomez is in charge of selecting the artists to take part in the concert and working between the SPB advisor, agent and production team to secure the artist. In addition to this, Gomez is in charge of the day-of operations, such as ensuring the full comfort of the artist and acquiring the requested items on his rider. Gomez has formed his own talent booking and artist management firm, BG’s Booking, and is interested in working in the music industry in the future.

On the day of the concert, T-Pain, whose given legal name is Faheem Rashad Najm, met briefly with members of the university community, including members of SPB, the Trinitonian and other campus media sources. He was dressed in a gifted university t-shirt and faded jeans and took pictures with visiting members of the university. Following this brief meeting at the Holt Center, T-Pain continued on to the concert.

“SPB is a really dynamic organization, and we strive to put on the best events possible,” Gomez said. “If you have recommendations, feel free to contact me or any of the members [of SPB]. We’re here to put on [events] that you can enjoy, absolutely free.”