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Sarasota Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019 2 months ago

Local band premieres first song 'Sarasota'

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The band AWAKENNATION featured lyrics about Sarasota Bay and the Ringling family in the city-themed song.
by: Brynn Mechem Staff Writer

The beaches of Longboat Key influenced a book, the young lifestyle of Siesta Key sparked a reality TV show, and now the culture of Sarasota has inspired a song.

With nods toward Sarasota Bay, the Ringling family and art on Main Street, the new band AWAKENNATION paid homage to its home city with its debut song, “Sarasota.”

The band, composed of members Marco Vannucci, Adam Bowman and Quayshaun “Q” Oliver, began collaborating a few months ago, though the song has been around for a while.

The idea literally flashed by Vannucci, the group’s songwriter, while he was driving home from work last year.

“I was just trying to think about what song I should do next,” Vannucci said. “I saw a bunch of billboards about Sarasota, and I thought it would be different and unique.”

So he set to work writing the lyrics. Vannucci said he wanted something fun and catchy but also something that would be representative of the city.

After perfecting the words, he enlisted the help of preschool friend Bowman and work friend Oliver. They bounced ideas off one another and pulled from each member’s musical background.

Oliver, an instrumentalist who grew up playing organ in church, brought his flair for gospel and hip-hop music, and Bowman brought his affinity for production and unique sounds.

While tweaking Vannucci’s original version, the group focused on making the song reflect the current sound of popular music and the feel of Sarasota.

“We all have different backgrounds and genres, but we all bring it together and infuse our sounds to make a song sound like what’s happening at that time, so that more people will listen to it,” Oliver said.

After finishing “Sarasota,” the newly formed band needed a name, something that also came from the brain of Vannucci.

“I thought of the AWAKENNATION name because if I ever did music, I wanted it to be constantly changing and dynamic,” Vannucci said. “So the first part, awaken, is because we are always changing, and the second part, nation, is because I wanted us to not just be a band but a community people feel like they’re a part of.”

After the name came a music video, the idea for which came easily to the band. They turned to the song’s eponym to provide various video backdrops.

The video is shot in places including Siesta Key, the John and Mable Ringing Museum of Art and even on a boat in Sarasota Bay.

Now that the band’s first single is complete, the trio wants to turn their attention to making an extended play record, or EP.

For the band, music is all about connecting with people, and they said the best way to do so is to continue writing about other cities. Eventually, they said they’d like their EP to be full of songs that reflect different cities and their cultures.

Bowman said the group has been working more closely on their different song ideas, a process that is always changing.

“It’s constantly something that’s changing because we want to get everyone’s skills in there,” he said. “We want to crack that code and see how we can actually get together and make our songs the best they can be.”

Although the group is unsure when it will have enough songs to create an EP, the trio will continue to play together regularly. Their current goal?

“To create a community of music-lovers and relate to them,” Vannucci said.

“To bring happiness and joy to people,” Oliver said. “To reach the nation.”

“And awaken it, once we get there,” Bowman added with a smile.

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