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Columbia College Chicago gives students the spotlight during Biggest Mouth showcase

Columbia College Chicago’s Biggest Mouth competition showcases artists from all genres and gives them the chance to gain exposure in the real world.  

The competition took place on Thursday, April 20th at Chicago’s Metro venue in Wrigleyville located at 3730 N Clark St. The Metro is a famous venue in Chicago which has hosted iconic acts such as Fall Out Boy, Green Day and many more. This is the second year Columbia have hosted Biggest Mouth at the Metro and they plan to carry on using this well-renowned venue in the future. 

The event is organised and ran entirely by students on the Student Programming Board (SPB). The SPB has approximately 40 members ranging from freshman to seniors. “This is the biggest event that SPB throws throughout the year,” said Toni Butka, a general board member of SPB and a freshman Columbia student. “The G-board also got to be involved in the casting and auditioning process of deciding who was going to be able to perform tonight.”  

Personally, SPB has been a great choice for Butka. “I really like being on the student programming board, all of the events we have are very fun,” she said. “As I gain more experience with understanding how SPB works and all the different events we have, I would love to be able to serve on the executive board”  

Graduating senior, Oliva Brunell, was a solo artist performing. For Brunell, who usually practices in her bedroom, this opportunity was huge. “I’ve been performing since I was eight years old so to play on the stage of the Metro, first, is such a huge accomplishment and goal of mine, so to win would just be wild,” she said. Brunell has previous experience with Biggest Mouth, performing during peak COVID. “I performed actually two years ago at Biggest Mouth but it was all online…they aired our pre-recorded videos,” she said. This year’s showcase was very different and with no COVID restrictions, they were able to host a sell-out event.  

The event had a huge turnout with hundreds of people showing up. With both internal and external members of the Columbia community, the venue was jam packed. Audience member, Aubriella Jackson, said her favorite part of the event was the variety.  “I thought it was really unique that Columbia was able to bring together all different genres of music for this event, there was indie music, alternative, rap, disco, it was a really cool event that brought together a lot of people,” she said. 

Andres Guerra, Columbia student from Mexico and audience member felt represented at the event. “There was music in Spanish and rap and a soloist, that was something that honestly surprised me, and I wasn’t expecting that, so it was nice to see that Columbia did have that variety at Biggest Mouth,” he said. 

Drag artist Novila hosted the event and has performed in the showcase for the past two years. |Holly Angus

Novila, a drag artist who has hosted and performed at Biggest Mouth for the past two years, has so much love and excitement for Biggest Mouth. “What I love about Biggest Mouth so much is all the different types of talents we get to see from different Columbia students,” they said. “I feel like so often we are all in our own little pockets of Columbia and different things, genres and cultures, Biggest Mouth feels like the place where everyone at Columbia is able to come together all as one and really just appreciate the student musicians we have here.” 

The Columbia Chronicle, Columbia’s award-winning student newspaper, also covered the event. They highlighted the Biggest Mouth prizes, which included headlining Columbia’s Manifest Urban Arts Festival and a $1000 prize for first place, second place included a $750 and a performance on Manifest’s main stage, finally third place included $500 and a performance at Manifest as well.  

The winners of Biggest Mouth 2023 were announced at the end of the night, with Superdime winning the title and prize. “I love music and I love my friends and I love the places that music and my friends have taken me and I’m very grateful,” said Nolan Manke, a member of the band. 

 Superdime was only formed in Fall of 2022, although a very new band, they have been playing together for years. “We all grew up in the same area, listening to the same type of music and we’ve all been friends for so long we just know how all our brains work and we know how our brains work musically especially, so it’s really not a lot of conversation it just clicks,” Manke said. 

Columbia Chronicle Co-Director of Photography Bianca Kreusel and broadcast journalist Holly Angus covering the event for Columbia media. |Courtesy of Holly Angus

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