105.5 Triple M’s Project M in Full Swing

105.5 Triple M’s Project M in Full Swing
Only six contestants remain in Triple M's singer/songwriter competition. The next performance is April 28.

It started with a record sixty-five entries.

105.5 Triple M’s Project M competition kicked off on April 7 at in Fitchburg before a packed house after staffers had whittled the candidates down to eight contestants. , the focus for this year is on solo performers of the singer/songwriter ilk. If you think getting up in front of a packed house isn’t nerve-rattling enough, imagine having to do it solo, with a song you had only a week to write, with one shot to perform it well, in front of cameras (simultaneously streaming on the web) with a table of judges staring at you. Top all that off with the video being streamed for several days on Triple M’s site with voters weighing in on who excelled.

If it sounds a bit like “American Idol,” it is. Each week the judges (including yours truly) must decide who will leave the competition (the online votes are an indicator but not a decider). How it differs from the insipid TV show is that Project M is a songwriting competition—and a difficult one at that. Each week the contestants are given a challenge. In week one they were presented with a picture of a woman in glasses (Ulla Eyewear is the main sponsor, ponying up a $1,000 grand prize) with a dog at her feet, a cat on her sweater and a pensive expression on her face that could be interpreted in countless ways. Week two’s challenge was a grab bag. Song titles such as “Just Another Madman,” “Drunk on Doubt,” “Modern Imperfections” and “Drive-by Heartache” were thrown into a hat and chosen at random. The best performer, as selected by the judges, won an appearance on Studio M, Triple M’s live in-the-studio program. The third challenge was sponsored by True Coffee Roasters who offered a prize package that included a performance at their venue on Nesbitt Road with a $250 tab for the winner and his/her guests. The challenge was to write a song that would wake people up. The results ranged from a song about coffee that could be True’s new theme song to a composition about waking up to gay rights and the need for a revolution of love.

This week’s challenge is really quite interesting and is sponsored by . The test is to compose a song you would hear if you were on hold, waiting to order from Ian’s. The winner will receive free pizza for a year and the song will actually become Ian’s on-hold song. The six remaining contestants will reconvene at Funk’s on Monday, April 28, at 6 p.m. to perform their compositions. It is a fun event, and Funk’s is a perfect venue. The stage is raised and large enough for a sizeable band. Funk’s also serves a wide array of fine tap beers and the food is excellent. Attendance is HIGHLY recommended.

Here are the eight contestants and the results to date (you can also meet them here):

Beau Osland Derek Pritzl (winner of week two Challenge) From the Moon Cait Shanahan Joey Broyles Katie Scullin Sam Lyons (left competition, week three) Carell Casey (left competition, week two)