Rapper 21 Savage and student performer highlight Homecoming concert

Michelle Marino and Alex Botto of the HP Concerts committee. Photo: Jenny Hudak/University of Miami

By Ashley A. Williams

Michelle Marino and Alex Botto of the HP Concerts committee. Photo: Jenny Hudak/University of Miami

Rapper 21 Savage and student performer highlight Homecoming concert

By Ashley A. Williams
Student-run organization HP Concerts gives a behind-the-scenes look of the planning that went into this year’s Homecoming concert.

HP Concerts is known for bringing some of the hottest names in the music business to the University of Miami campus. Thursday night, rapper 21 Savage and University of Miami’s very own student performer, DJ Chrlip, also known as Charlie Pomerantz, will hit the Watsco Center stage.

Alex Botto, chair of the HP Concerts committee which falls under the Hurricane Productions organization, felt it was important to hear directly from the student body when selecting this year’s musical acts.

“We wanted to cover all of our bases and really wanted to be sure we were able to make as many people happy as possible,” said Botto, a senior triple majoring in psychology, criminology, and Spanish. “Throughout the last semester, we tabled in the breezeway and had surveys asking for feedback. We found that rap was what they really wanted.”

A recent referendum was passed adding $7 more per student towards a homecoming musical artist. In the past, fees were usually spent to bring two artists, but Botto and her committee members decided to use the increase to bring one “A-list” artist and allow a student to perform as the opening act.

“I’m super pumped to have been selected by HP Concerts and to be opening for 21 Savage,” said Pomerantz, a sophomore majoring in finance who hails from New York City. “I’m not going to lie, I didn’t think they would even pick me because I play a lot of R&B music in my set. But I know how to cater to my crowd.”

Through an online application process, HP Concerts narrowed down their choices to three potential student openers. From there, a middle agent shared each contestant’s music samples and social media accounts with 21 Savage and his management team. Ultimately, Pomerantz was chosen.  

“I’m nervous because I’m performing in front of the entire student body,” said Pomerantz, whose parents will also be in attendance at Thursday’s concert. “I have to thank HP Concerts for picking me. It’s an honor. I have a nice outfit planned out and everything!”

On Oct. 2, HP Concerts took to social media to reveal that the Atlanta-based rapper would be making his way to the Coral Gables campus. Later that day, students were invited to The Rathskeller for a chance to win floor seats. Michelle Marino, a senior and operations chair of the committee, said revealing the artist in such an engaging way was something that hadn’t been done in the past and helped drum up eagerness to snag a ticket.

HP Concerts ticket distribution

“We reached an unprecedented number of 500 tickets in just two hours,” said Marino, a public relations and electronic media major. “We really wanted to make people happy by bringing someone to campus who the students wanted.”

Another first-time occurrence taking place this year are suite giveaways. Marino came up with the idea to give 32 students access to both a private viewing of the show as well as floor seat access. The special pass also comes with free food and drinks.

“In the past we’ve done meet and greets and I wanted to figure out how we could make up for that,” said Marino. “The students will get to have a true VIP experience.”

Just a day before the concert takes place, the committee has steadily given away more tickets than years prior. All tickets for the show have been distributed. There will not be tickets available at the door.

“We didn’t know how people were going to react to our new ideas but the feedback has been really positive,” said Marino. “Our main objectives when going into this was that we just wanted to make this a fun and safe experience for everyone.”