BY MIRANDA WYLIE
Last year, Salisbury University grad student Eric Karge was nominated in three categories by The Maryland Music Awards including “Country Artist of the Year,” “Songwriter of the Year” and “Breakout Artist of the Year.” After going through fan voting and making it into the final top five artists, a portfolio of songs was then reviewed by professionals in the industry.
After this rigorous process, on December 12, 2014 Karge was named “Country Artist of the Year” and he does not intend on stopping there.
“When someone wins an award, it opens the eyes of the listener but it also opened our eyes to another side of the state,” Karge said. “I think that for this year, my goal is getting a few shows and playing for crowds I haven’t played for yet.”
As if that was not enough motivation, along with winning “Country Artist of the Year”, Karge was named “Young Alumni of the Month” for February from High Point University. Despite all of these accomplishments happening in such a short time, he still remains humble and honored throughout his rise to fame.
“I play these professional shows, but I’m still Eric who sits in the back of the class, it’s almost like living two lives,” Karge said. “People recognize me, and I’m like, I’m from a cornfield and I go to Salisbury. When I say I’m a country singer, they’re like, ‘That’s it! You’re Eric Karge!’”
Along with booking shows, Karge is currently tackling two important projects.
One is a Master’s degree in Applied Health Physiology, the other is a rock album dedicated to the men and women in the Marine Corps who serve and protect this country called “For My Brother…and His Brothers”.
“For My Brother…and His Brothers” is Karge’s first rock album, only purchasable as CD and a portion of the profits will be donated to a military benefit said to be released later this year.
“The army has so many songs; there are no songs about the marine corps,” Karge said. “These guys deserve songs so in silence I started writing about the years they went through; it was a way to express myself and their experiences through music.”
Karge says writing this album was extremely important to him. It tells the story of his brother who served in the Marine Corps from 2004-2010. Not only is it a personal album, it also shows his versatility as an artist to branch out into different genres.
“I kind of watched (my brother and his friends) from when they were wet behind the ears, to the early stages when they thought they were the biggest baddest dudes in the world, all the way to doing humanitarian missions,” Karge said. “I watched them through the combat phase in Iraq and when they came back from Iraq, I watched their demeanor change; I started to learn what post-traumatic stress disorder was about.”
As for school, Karge has a very firm grasp on his goal of achieve his M.A. in Applied Physiology. He puts heavy priority on working hard and maintaining his grades and even sites school as a source of inspiration to constantly grow and expound creatively.
“If you’re not writing and creating, you get stale,” he said. “When I’m working my brain cognitively, in my opinion it makes me write better.”
Even though he has faced challenges and is constantly confronted with the limitations of his balancing act of school and music, he does not lose face. Instead, Karge reminds himself of the dreams and goals he wishes to accomplish and uses them as motivation to keep going.
“When I’m in Nashville I’m doing things that artists with record deals do. I write my own melodies, music and lyrics. It gets tough; you have to compete with guys who can financially do whatever they want,” he said. “But you have to think how important is school, how important is music. I think once I get my master’s degree, I’ll be ready to do everything I want.”