Pioneer Records announces two new Pioneer Stars


Photo by Megan Clista

SAEM faculty with Pioneer Stars Allissa Logsdon and Victor Geriseb.

Written By Hattie Charney, Co-features Editor

Pioneer Records has announced its fifth Pioneer Star, but this year, there is an addition to the process.

Allissa Logsdon, senior sports, arts and entertainment management (SAEM) major, has been chosen as the Pioneer Star for the 2018-19 season. This year, Pioneer Records has added a spin on their Pioneer Star process. For the first time, Pioneer Records is introducing a collaboration between two artists. Victor Gariseb, freshman BFA acting major, will be collaborating on a song with Logsdon.

“I am so excited that I get to do it with somebody else,” Logsdon said, “because the thought of doing it by myself is mortifying.”

Logsdon said she is comfortable in public and around people but it’s nice to have somebody else to share that spotlight with.

“We did a photo shoot together and I was super awkward and then when he came I was so much more comfortable taking pictures so it’s just nice to have somebody to bounce off of and collaborate with,” Logsdon said.

SAEM professor, Ed Traversari, said this was the first year that Pioneer Records has brought in someone extra for the Pioneer Star process.

“We liked him so much and so did the kids that we brought him in, too. He’s a star,” Traversari said.

Traversari went on to say that Logsdon is the main star and will receive the full-length record, but Gariseb receives a single and will be included in everything that Pioneer Records will do for both artists. 

“I have a couple of songs lined up that I want to use as my single,” Gariseb said, “but it’s really tough just picking one out.”

The process of selecting the next Pioneer Star is hands-on and Pioneer Records is involved in the process as much as possible. It just so happened that this year, both artists are students at Point Park.

“We do a very fair voting process,” Traversari said, “and of all the twenty-plus submissions we had, I don’t know maybe half were Point Park, half were off campus. Our voting which is very honest between myself and several of the music people who work in the program and then the students, all came to an honest selection of both of them.”

Logsdon has been involved in this process since her freshman year. She wanted to apply because she was unsure of her future career path and hoped that this opportunity would kickstart her career.

“At that time I still wasn’t sure if I wanted to do music or if it was just going to be kinda like a hobby or just a dream,” Logsdon said.

Logsdon wasn’t chosen as the Pioneer Star her sophomore year either, however, the third time’s the charm. Logsdon is graduating a year early, so in turn this year would have been her junior year and her third time applying for Pioneer Star. She was accepted and got her recognition for her talent.

“I knew that this year I really had to go for it and put my best foot forward with my music,” Logsdon said.

To set her apart from the other artists applying, she had recorded two of her original songs in a studio with Benjamin Hull, the bassist for Lacey Strum who was in the band Flyleaf. Logsdon found him on Instagram and messaged to ask if he would be interested in recording her.

“I knew I was going to be competing against a lot of good people from Pittsburgh and the school,” Logsdon said, “There is just so much talent out there.”

Logsdon wanted to submit something that was different from what Pioneer Records have heard from her before.

“I really need to show them what my genre is so it had a lot more electronic pop-rock kind of feel,” Logsdon said, “I thought that this definitely represented me as an artist.”

Logsdon submitted her music to Pioneer Records in September but didn’t hear anything back until the first week of October. She first heard that she was in the final round of Pioneer Star before setting up a meeting with Jesse Naus at Red Caiman Studios about her music.

“They said that they were going to set up a meeting with Jesse to talk about where I was as a musician,” Logsdon said. “Where I wanted my music to go, so he could get a better feel of who he would be working with if I would potentially become the star.”

The meeting with Naus went well and a week later Logsdon was contacted by Pioneer Records with good news.

“I’m just really excited to be able to share my music with everybody,” Logsdon said. “This is the biggest platform I’ve ever been blessed with to run with. I just want people to be able to relate to my music and I want them to have some sort of hope after listening to it.”

Traversari said that this process of Pioneer Star is different than the past four artists.

“This is the first time we’re going to have an artist not only do her/his own songs and then we’re going to have somebody collaborate on a tune together,” Logsdon said. “Which will be kinda cool which will also become the music video.”

This is the third time that Pioneer Records is providing a music video for the artist. The cinema department takes four to five students in conjunction with four to five Pioneer Record students to create the music video.

Megan Clista, Director of Marketing for Pioneer Records said, “All of the students sit with the artists and present ideas then the artist chooses which one represents their vision best.”

Logsdon is looking forward to being involved in the process and working with the students to portray her idea.

“I have a feeling that I’ll be in every single one of their classes even though I’m not required to be just because I’m so excited for it,” Logsdon said.

The next step for Logsdon and Gariseb is to meet with Naus and schedule a time to start the recording process.

“This staff [Pioneer Records] will coordinate times with Jesse Naus, and then they will get that organized as to what days he can see the artist to start recording,” Traversari said, “Then they will be the liaison to Allissa and to Victor and they will schedule this time that they can go over.”

Any student on campus can come to observe the recording process. To attend, students need to check into Pioneer Records to see when recording is happening and to sign-up on a sheet on the 11th floor of West Penn in the Pioneer Records office.

“This is why I wanted to do these things,” Traversari said, “This is all about academia and so we are trying to teach everybody everything.”

Clista agrees that observing the recording process is educational and an interesting experience for any student that is on campus.

“Even as someone who doesn’t really know anything about producing music itself and the actual music creative process, it’s really interesting to see how they put it all together so it’s very educational regardless, you get to go and observe and see,” Clista said, “I mean even people you just listen to music it’s really cool to understand the background of that and how all of those inner workings sort of, you know all the moving parts come together at the end, it’s a really cool process to observe.”

As for the music, Logsdon’s style is pop rock and Gariseb has a different genre.

“I do R&B and rap, so I sing and I rap. I still don’t know what I’m going to end up on,” Gariseb said, “I just don’t know which way I lean more.”

Logsdon and Gariseb are excited to work together on their collaboration and are excited to see how it will turn out.

“When I did finally get to meet her and finally got to hear her music, I was like oh my gosh like her sound is way different than mine but there is definitely going to be a way that we can work together,” Gariseb said.

“To have him add his flavor into some of my songs is going to be really cool for me to hear my song in a different way,” Logsdon said.

Both artists praise each other for being easy to work with, being open to each other and for being talented.

The Pioneer Star process goes continues on through January 2019. The process finishes with Naus. Pioneer Records designs the CD cover art and then sends the designs over to Naus.

Naus then sends it away to a company and gets back around 300 CDs. Pioneer Records will host a release party at Stage AE for the CD in March. The release of the music video will be it’s own announcement in the middle of April.

Traversari wants to make sure that students are aware that anyone is able to join Pioneer Records and that he wants students to support the artists that have worked hard to get where they are.

“Yes, she is on the Pioneer Records run label,” Traversari said, “but she is coming from Point Park.”

Logsdon has performed in the Point Perk Entertainment Presents Series already but she is looking forward to her future endeavors which include performing at local Pittsburgh venues as well as Point Park’s own WPPJ Radio during their Noon Hour broadcast on Nov. 12.

Both artists have expressed their gratitude to Pioneer Records for supporting them and constantly being behind them.

“I knew for a fact it was going to be different than if I were to do it alone,” Gariseb said, “so that made me like so excited. I have a team backing me up, which is crazy.”