Going Live With Zeren Zia: A Hawk Studios Segment Revival

Photo Courtesy of Yelena Ku Guillopo

 Last Friday, Hawk Studios released a new episode of Going Live, featuring New Paltz’s own singer-songwriter and student, Zeren Zia — their first of the series in nearly two years, and our student production club has brought it back without missing a beat.

Going Live was originally created in Fall 2021 by now-alum, Olivia Meynadasy. Sophia Singer, Vice President of Hawk Studios recalls, “The main premise of the show was that she pitched it as kind of like a Tiny Desk, the NPR show. We decided this semester to bring it back and try to bring it into the studio and get more bands involved.” The idea was to feature New Paltz artists to promote them and their work. In spring ‘22, they featured local artists: Brittainie, Kablamo and Denise. For two years,  the series has been on hold, but now it’s back and looking to highlight more artists on campus.

The Vice Head of Marketing for Hawk Studios, Danielle Cavaliere put it, “the goal of Going Live is essentially just to help the band get another video to promote their own band. It’s good practice for us, but it’s more of a collaboration with the artists because now they have something that they can show to other people, that they performed.”  

Zia, who recently reached a million streams on Spotify with two singles released last spring, was selected for the first episode this semester. Head of Marketing for Hawk Studios, Matthew Mingoia, chose Zia after hearing her manager, Zoe Woolrich, present a project in their class about making her blow up in popularity. “I went back and listened to all her songs. They’re really good and I was like, ‘oh, this is the perfect person for Going Live.’” They needed someone for the coming production date and Zia gladly took the opportunity. Three days later, they began production.

Production of the episode took about four hours with all of the set up, rehearsal, and of course, the performance. President of Hawk Studios and director for this episode, Quinn DiPalo, spoke on managing their team of 35 people in the studio. “I’d say we’re a beginner video production club where people are really learning for the first time how to put their hands on equipment,” he said. “It’s really just trying to make sure that no one’s time is wasted.” Set up takes up the majority of the time to make sure that once they start filming, everything goes smoothly.

Hawk Studios comprises three departments: development, production and marketing. Development writes scripts which move onto production once they get approved. Production is made up of in-studio and out-of-studio production. In Spring 2022, Going Live episodes were filmed in the artists’ own space like in their house. This episode was shot in studio as Zia did not have an out of studio space of her own. Lastly, marketing promotes everything which comes out of production as well as the club itself to get more people to join.

In the past, Hawk Studios has mainly focused on narrative short films, scripted variety shows and short films. Mingoia wanted to add something unscripted to allow crew members to work on a different kind of production and change up the roles a bit. “Production is not just for scripted stuff; it can be unscripted and that’s why I really wanted to bring back Going Live.”

In the recently released eleven-minute episode, Zia performed two original songs and one cover. “Such a Shame,” an original with nearly 600k streams on Spotify, was her first song on the setlist. This was followed by “Spiraling”, an unreleased song coming soon, and “Strawberries and Cigarettes” by Troye Sivan. Rich Guillopo, Zia’s producer, played keys and guitar during the performance.

In the future, Going Live wants to promote more bands in New Paltz to give them a platform for exposure. They want to give them the same opportunity for this as they did with Zia.

As Mingoia put it, “I just want this show to hopefully launch something long term for both the club and for artists on campus to be able to showcase artists who want to sing and who love music. So we’re hoping this show can be a showcase for that.”

“Going Live: Zeren Zia” is up now on YouTube, as well as all of the other episodes from two years ago.