Provided by Simeon Lawrence
SALT LAKE CITY — You may know them as the artists and producers of "Teach Me How to Jimmer," a hip-hop song that generated more than 1 million views on YouTube a year ago.
Feel Good Music Coalition, the independent label that released the song, has officially been on the Utah music scene since May 2010, appearing unofficially four years before that.
Like many other indie labels, Feel Good Music Coalition uses the Internet as its primary promotional tool, but the music it produces demonstrates a unique philosophy on media.
"We really stress no vulgar or explicit content," said Simeon Lawrence, the creator of Feel Good Music Coalition.
All artists associated with the label that were interviewed agreed: The label's chief goal is to create "real life" music that connects with people and leaves them better than they were before. Part of fulfilling that mission means following the rules against vulgarity and sexually explicit content. But mostly, it means writing about things people can relate to and benefit from.
"Kristy (Uzelac) is a cancer survivor. Definit (Sean Curran) was addicted to drugs and is clean now," Lawrence said, referring to two artists in Feel Good Music, "They have amazing stories people need to hear."
St. Louis-native Kristy Uzelac was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2000, when she was only 20 years old. Although she had been involved in music all her life, it wasn't until then that Uzelac started to learn guitar.
"It opened my eyes. I asked myself, 'Am I really doing what I want to do? Why wait?'" Uzelac said. "I got a guitar for Christmas from my brother who knew I wanted to play. It's what helped me get through the emotional battle of dealing with cancer and I knew this was my outlet for getting through anything in life. "
After Uzelac beat the cancer, she kept up the music. She met Lawrence years later when she was practicing a song with his roommate. Lawrence heard her singing and was impressed, so Uzelac invited him to her upcoming performance. Shortly thereafter he asked her to sing with him on his own CD. She's been a part of Feel Good Music ever since.
"I have an emotional attachment (to music). If I'm sad, I grab my guitar. If I'm happy, I grab my guitar," Uzelac said. "It's really about expressing myself. I want listeners to feel (my music). I'm putting my heart, everything, on paper."
When Sean Curran, whose stage name is "Definit," writes music, he is very candid about what his life was like when he was suffering from drug addiction and how he got clean.
"Originally when I started writing, it was about overcoming that kind of stuff and a lot of stories about the life I used to live and the life I changed into. Not from a point of glamorizing that life, because there was no glamor," Curran said. "It was painful, it was deadly; I hurt a lot of people. When I talk about it in my songs, it's not, 'Oh, that was fun,' it's 'I'm glad I'm not there anymore because it almost killed me.’"
Curran grew up in Orem, Utah, and got addicted to drugs in high school. He struggled with his addiction for years until finally overcoming it in 2004. He's now happily married and studying psychology at Utah Valley University with plans to work with youths or adults struggling with drug addiction. Because he is so open about his prior addiction, he’s met people looking for help or advice in their own struggles that he may not have met otherwise.
He has a special perspective on media values and the power of music, having been on both sides of the music influence.
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