Creating Records, Community
As the university continues to expand its resources for students pursuing careers in investment banking, consulting and public service, other groups, like aspiring student musicians, have found a network of support among themselves.
Since its inception in the summer of 2015, the student-run Clock Hand Records music label has served this goal of bringing musicians at Georgetown together. One year later, its reach has extended beyond the front gates and into the local music scene.
At the helm of Clock Hand Records is founder Zoe Rosen (COL ’16). Born and raised in Switzerland, Rosen attended high school in Toronto before coming to Washington, D.C., to study American musical culture – her major at Georgetown.
Rosen has been passionate about music her entire life. In high school, she took classical opera singing lessons and participated in singing competitions around Toronto.
“I was always more passionate about the modern pop world of singers and song-writers. I really loved indie-pop,” Rosen said.
However, at Georgetown, she found a different path.
“I really love to write songs and play guitar, but finishing high school I decided I didn’t want to go in as a performer,” Rosen said.
After reaching out to a friend who had already graduated yet shared her passion for music, Rosen realized founding a record label was possible with hard work and dedication.
“I found out there were about 150 student-run record labels in U.S. universities alone. I went to their websites and reached out to the heads of the ones I liked best, and had a lot of phone conversations over the summer of 2015 just asking how they worked,” Rosen said.
During the spring of her sophomore year, Rosen assembled a team of other students to launch Clock Hand Records.
“Georgetown is a very preprofessional kind of school, so I thought starting a student record label could be a great way to give both musicians and managers real-world experience,” Rosen said.
To Rosen, Clock Hand Records is more than just a business – it is a community.
“I noticed there’s a lot of people really interested in doing great things [who are] really talented, but there’s not so much of a cohesive community. There’d been groups in the past that’ve tried to get musicians together, but as people graduate, it’s hard to keep them sustainable,” Rosen said.
In the past year, Clock Hand Records has expanded beyond its role as a traditional record label by regularly hosting live performances.
“It’s a great way to bring in new talent. That’s actually how we’ve discovered many artists we’ve worked with,” Rosen said.s
Last spring, the Healey Family Student Center partnered with Clock Hand Records during the Fall Festival, showcasing more than nine student bands. This year’s Fall Festival will take place Oct. 15, commemorating the one-year anniversary of the label’s first major event.
Rosen’s label threw a party of its own last April, commemorating its official launch. The label, which is not currently affiliated with the university’s Student Activities Commission, aims to gain full university recognition and funding in the near future.
Rosen realized the importance of establishing a strong foundation before expanding the label to represent campus artists.
“Because we’re so new, last year we worked a lot on solidifying what we were doing and creating a strong structure before taking on any artists,” Rosen said.
Julian Chartouni (MSB ’19) is another one of the label’s artists and has what Rosen describes as a, “rich, deep country voice.” In preparation for the full album, Chartouni and Clock Hand Records are recording demos and going through rough recordings of Chartouni’s original songs to decide what will make it into the final cut.
In terms of the label’s operations, Rosen mainly works with recording, production, promotion and marketing, which provides her with plentiful experience relevant to entering the music industry after graduation.
Despite her busy schedule running Clock Hand Records, Rosen has not given up her passion for performing and recording. She is currently working on recording a full-length country album for Chartouni to be released at the end of the semester. In addition, she continues to be a part of the Georgetown Entertainment and Media Alliance, even singing background vocals for the GEMA Rocks Concert on Sept. 16 and 17.
Rosen’s varied experience in music and business have made her a successful entrepreneur, providing her with a solid background as she interacts with artists and fellow producers. After working at Big Machine Label Group in Nashville over the summer and taking both business and studio-recording courses, Rosen is now thinking of her next steps after graduation.
Wherever she decides to go, her musical legacy at the Hilltop will be carried on by other student musicians who have waited for a group like Clock Hand Records to exist and finally provided them with a community in which they can express themselves.