Monica Ostroska chases her music dream
By Sarah Hall
Monica Ostroska knows it takes more than talent to get noticed in today's music scene.
"Momo," as she is affectionately known to her friends and familyˇ and now as she is known on her recently released Christmas CDˇis not shy when it comes to promotion, and has no problem standing out in a crowd.
The singer-songwriter didn't have to go far from her Rockwell home to find the training and advice she needed to get started in the music industry. She is a music business major at Catawba College, one of only a few schools in the country that offers a major in popular music business.
Currently in her junior year, Momo has learned a lot about the business side of music while developing her skills as a performer.
Many aspiring musicians have been discouraged when confronted with the legal issues, royalties, rights, taxes, and promotional demands of a music career. Not Momo. She has plunged right in, ready to swim to the top.
She is looking toward recording her own album of original songs, an expensive proposition. She doesn't want to end up deep in debt like other songwriters who have struggled to get their music recorded and distributed.
So she came up with a plan. She approached local businesses and sponsors to contribute to the expenses of recording a CD of Christmas music. In exchange for this funding, the sponsors get acknowledgement and advertising on her posters and at her public appearances.
She then plans to use the money she makes from selling the Christmas CDs to pay for the recording and production of a CD of her original songs, which she hopes to begin work on right after the first of the year.
Momo has been a highly visible part of the Salisbury Christmas scene at public appearances including the Christmas parade and the Downtown Holiday Night Out. And she has a busy schedule coming up, singing for anyone who will listenˇand hopefully purchase a CD, putting her $12 closer to her dream.
Upcoming gigs include the Nazareth Thrift Store at 1 p.m. on Dec. 12; Tastebuds Coffee & Tea 3-6 p.m. Dec. 14; Oak Park Retirement Community 6:30 p.m. Dec. 16; Stelia's 8 p.m. Dec. 19, Downtown Salisbury on New Years Eve, and a bunch of private parties in between.
In addition to earning money for her next album, this experience has given her practice in what is involved in creating, producing, and marketing a music product, making her better prepared for her next endeavor.
A highlight of the courses and training she has received through the music business program at Catawba is a class she took this past semester that was team-taught by Dr. David Fish of Catawba's music faculty and Dolph Ramseur, founder of the indie label Ramseur Records and manager of The Avett Brothers. Catawba students have been able to ask questions and draw directly from Ramseur's experience and expertise.
Ramseur spoke highly of Ostroska's efforts, saying "It is very refreshing to see a young person take the bull by the horns like Monica has with her new Christmas album. Catawba College and the city of Salisbury should be really proud knowing that the great American entreprenurial spirit is alive and well."
The CD "Merry Little Christmas by Momo" features smooth, distinctive, laid-back arrangements of popular Christmas tunes including "I'll Be Home for Christmas," "Siver Bells," "Christmas Time is Here, and even jazzy treatments of traditional songs like "O Christmas Tree" and "The Coventry Carol."
Backing her up on the CD are Erin Harper, keyboard, Ed Burnside, bass guitar, and Jamie Viars, drums.
The album is available at several Downtown Salisbury locations: Tastebud's Coffee & Tea, Just The Thing, Maia's Fashions, Southern Spirit Gallery and Handbag Heaven. It can also be purchased at CVS Drug Store in Rockwell or Manifest Records, Charlotte.
For more information, visit www.officialmomo.com.