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College audience votes for mtvU Woodies

Courtesy of MTV

Three artists nominated in the 2011 mtvU Woodie Awards, including Sleigh Bells and Matt and Kim, talked about what it means to be chosen for an award, how college students set the trends for music, and following your dreams during a phone conference with The Lantern.

The Woodie Awards is the only college music awards show, according to MTV Executive Producer Eric Conte. The artists chosen for these categories are more underground than mainstream acts and are chosen by college students across the nation.

The live show is scheduled for midnight on Wednesday in Austin, Texas, (during South By Southwest) for the first time and Donald Glover from the show “Community” will be hosting.

“I know for a fact that college students are the reason why so many bands and trends have been built up and become universal and mainstream,” said Matt Johnson, from the band Matt and Kim. “College students are the pacemakers and know things before everyone else.”

Matt and Kim are up for Best Performing Woodie against Girl Talk, Robyn, Mumford & Sons and The National.

Johnson said the best part about performing is that unexpected things often happen. During their performance at the Woodie Awards last year, people onstage were taking their clothes off. The duo will be performing again at this year’s show.

Alexis Krauss, from Sleigh Bells, talked about the effect of exposing its music on MTV, and how the band became more mainstream with its music being featured on the show “Skins.”

“Derek and I are very open to using our music in many different ways. The show is a new thing. We’ve never really watched it, but MTV contacted us about using our music in the show,” Krauss said. “It seemed like an interesting opportunity and a great way to expose our music to people who may never heard of our band. I think it’s really important for as many kids as possible to hear our songs.”

Sleigh Bells is nominated for Breaking Woodie, along with Dev, Local Natives, Wavves and Two Door Cinema Club. The voting for this category is left up to fans, and the polls will close on the night of the show.

“It’s a really good feeling to be recognized for your hard work,” Krauss said.

Before she left the call, she imparted some advice to anyone who wanted to pursue a career in music.

“If you believe you have good ideas, the next step is to work really hard at them. I know that sounds generic, but it’s true. Put yourself out there,” Krauss said. “If you believe you have the talent, talk to as many people as possible.”

The last speakers were the men of alternative hip-hop group Chiddy Bang. They are in the running for Best Video Woodie, along with The Black Keys, Duck Sauce, Gorillaz and Vampire Weekend.

“It’s definitely an honor to be nominated for having a creative video. That means we are striving to do something that hasn’t been done. We could have had a crazy party or something, but we really wanted to go a little deeper,” Chidera “Chiddy” Anamege said. “And there was something cool about having big heads on little kids’ bodies. You’re supposed to have fun with it, you know?”

The Woodies are one way for college students to let mainstream America know what the next “big thing” is, Johnson said.

Other categories in the show are Woodie of the Year, Left Field Woodie and College Radio Woodie. The artists performing are the Foo Fighters, Wiz Khalifa, Sleigh Bells, Two Door Cinema Club and Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All.


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