Art Talk with Angel Rodriguez

By Adam Kampe

This past July, Angel Rodriguez of Puget Sound Adventist Academy High School in Seattle, Washington, became the National Champion of the Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for High School Students, a pilot initiative of the NEA and Playbill, Inc., with additional support provided by Disney Theatrical Group. Rodriguez's win earned him a $5,000 scholarship and a publishing contract for his song, "Bleeding," from Sony/ATV. As part of the competiton Rodriguez and his fellow finalists--Chelsea Mayo of Dallas, Texas and Jake Berglove of Minneapolis, Minnesota--participated in a weekend of intensive songwriting workshops with professional musicians, singers, songwriters, and producers. At the end of the workshop, each of their songs was performed by professional musicians for a panel of judges that included songwriter Adam Gwon; Tony Award-nominated and ABC Scandal actor Norm Lewis; and composer/lyricist Anaïs Mitchell, among others. We spoke with Rodriguez early in the weekend about the inspiration for his song and how he owes his best friend a boatload of thanks for convincing him to enter the competition.