MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. (Oct. 15, 2014) — Even though Erin Aubrey knew her song “Made Your Bed” would be featured on the NBC TV show “Smash,” she was still caught off-guard when she heard it.
“It took me a second to realize it was playing,” said Aubrey, who is from Elizabethton and graduated Milligan College in 2010. The song, which she co-wrote with Alex Post, was a huge breakthrough for Aubrey as it played in the background of a New York City restaurant during a scene—far from her East Tennessee roots. “It was really exciting and surreal.”
Aubrey has worked hard to become established in the music industry since graduating. She moved to Nashville, recorded her third album with help from a Kickstarter campaign, won two times in the International Songwriting Competition and performed in various parts of the country with her band.
Her vocal talents are returning to the region this week in very unique ways.
On local TV, audiences will hear her sing the jingle for two new commercials from Pal’s Sudden Service, the local fast-food chain. She was tasked to rewrite the lyrics to her upbeat song “Closed Doors,” from her 2013 album “Finally Free,” and highlight Pal’s quick and personal customer service.
Thankfully, she could draw from experience.
“I’m a huge Pal’s fan,” said Aubrey. “Whenever I’m home visiting, the first thing I do is get a Pal’s sweet tea.”
The assignment came from her friend Will Griffith, the creative director for a local ad agency, Creative Energy. Griffith is a former Milligan professor who taught in the communications department while she was a student and aspiring singer. They even filmed one of her music videos in Seeger Chapel.
The Milligan connection doesn’t end there. The Pal’s commercial also features Milligan students from the theater department, Danielle Merante, a senior, and Brianna Florian, a sophomore.
Despite the recent success, though, Aubrey has decided to spend more of her time giving back. She no longer lives in Nashville and is currently enrolled in the University of Kentucky’s graduate program in music therapy, where she hopes to learn how to contribute to the healing of others through music.
That desire brought her back to Milligan on Friday, Oct. 17, and Saturday, Oct. 18, to perform with her band for “Harmony and Hope: A Buff Nation Benefit” in order to help raise money for two women on the basketball team who have both undergone surgery and medical treatment.
Kristian Moses, a senior, recently donated a kidney to her mother, Brenda, and they are both recovering.
Caitlyn Cain, a senior, was diagnosed this summer with alveolar soft part sarcoma, a very rare cancer. She is currently undergoing radiation treatment and will require some other follow-up treatment.
The concert fundraiser took place on Friday, Oct 17, at 8 p.m. in the Mary B. Martin Auditorium in Seeger Chapel. The public was invited to attend this more formal event.
On Saturday, Oct. 18, Aubrey sang at an outdoor concert in Milligan’s Village Commons that included an additional fundraising event called “Dareoke,” in which students raised money to dare five faculty/staff members to sing on stage.
Aubrey felt a strong connection with the players, not just as a Milligan alumna, but because her dad, Rich Aubrey, serves as the head women’s basketball coach.
“They’re like his second group of daughters,” said Aubrey, referring to the Lady Buffs. “He pours everything into that team. When my dad told me about his players and what they were going through, I wanted to find a way to help. For me, that was through my music.”
To find out more about Aubrey, visit www.erinaubreymusic.com.
To learn more about Milligan, visit www.milligan.edu.