Woodie Awards connect artists, fans in new ways

Seth Roy

The mtvU Woodie is an important accolade to add to an artist’s repertoire. At least, that’s what Tom Delonge of Angels and Airwaves thinks.

“This is one of the most important awards in the industry,” he said in a conference call last month.

His criteria for top awards in the industry? His band has been nominated for Woodie of the Year.

“I’m just wondering what the award looks like,” Delonge said, alluding to its suggestive name. “The dick jokes really do fit in sometimes, but I also can be political. I get to be every bit a 16-year-old as I want to be.”

The mtvU Woodies is an awards show for which the nominees and winners are voted on by college students, rather than a panel of so-called experts.

“It’s a validation of something that I really, truly believed in,” Delonge said.

Though Delonge has had success with his previous bands, some artists are able to use mtvU as a way to jump-start their careers.

William Beckett, frontman for The Academy Is …, said he and his band are grateful for the help they’ve had from mtvU. A Woodie is a special award, he said, because it shows a band how much fans appreciate the music.

“It’s the most exciting time in my life, as far as music goes,” Beckett said.

The Academy Is …, who was also nominated for Woodie of the Year, is concentrating on its next record.

“We’ve grown in more ways than I can probably even fathom,” Beckett said. “These songs are the closest things to experiencing who we are as individuals. I believe I was put here to write songs. Our band was put here to write songs.”

Slug, from hip-hop group Atmosphere, said filming videos has opened his eyes to the value of music videos.

“I always kind of saw videos as commercials for songs – a new way of trying to get people to like your shit,” he said. “I just totally got this whole new look that it’s important to give a visual interpretation of what you’re trying to say.”

But Slug said he’s not doing the videos to become more popular or to do extra work.

“This isn’t a situation where I’m trying to get my foot in the door,” he said. “I don’t know what it’s really like to work. I’m just going to go sit in the back and smoke cocaine.”

Stephen Friedman, general manager of mtvU, said the Woodies follow the channel’s mission of providing content of interest, and in interesting ways, to college students.

“We want to be where our audience is,” he said. “People can sit back on their computer and choose the way they want to watch the show.”

Viewers will be able to watch the show, which airs Nov. 2 at 8 p.m., on television or stream it online at mtvu.com. Voting on the awards ends Oct. 20.

mtvU is focused on delivering the music college students want to hear, and that music is not always in the mainstream, Friedman said.

Instead, the channel aims its focus at college students.

“There’s two-to-four years of your life where everything’s different,” Friedman said. “It’s an audience unlike any other.”

Contact managing editor Seth Roy at [email protected].