Dolly Parton uses the word “love” 1,985 times across all her records.
The Beatles mention “eyes” 60 times in their discography.
“Moon” shows up 118 times in Frank Sinatra’s work.
Added up, Aretha Franklin called people “baby” 1,185 times.
Those are some of the musical tidbits discovered by Sami Belcher, a senior majoring in communication and psychology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and depicted in a series of posters that were part of her entry in the UTC Student Fly! Pitch Contest. The competition is organized by the UTC Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and, in it, students present their business ideas to a panel of business owners and nonprofit representatives.
In the center of each of Belcher’s posters, which measure 18×24 inches, a photo of a musical artist is dotted with speech bubbles containing specific words—“love,” “time,” “God,” “know, and dozens more—and the number of times each word is mentioned in songs performed or written by the artist. The more mentions, the bigger the bubble.
Belcher’s idea caught the attention of judges who selected her poster-making business—Halfway Down Design Co.—as the winner of the recent Student Fly! Pitch Contest, held in the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
“I’m very happy. I’m really impressed with all the competitors. They all did a phenomenal job,” said Belcher, who won $3,000 for her first-place finish. “I’m glad that I’ve received so many kind words, and this will help me further my journey.”
UTC students Valerie Ring, Connor MacKey and Jakob Riley Lewis won second place and $2,000 for Aerosun Solutions, their proposed company that uses aerogel and thermal energy to heat water for homes. Ring is a junior majoring in chemical engineering; MacKey is a junior majoring in mechanical engineering; Lewis is a senior in chemical engineering.
Aerogel is a porous gel in which all the water has been removed, leaving a translucent, ultralight material that is very insulating and heat-resistant. It can be made from several chemical compounds.
Jacob Goesling’s Helion Marketing idea, which he designed to handle advertising and social media for small businesses, won third place and $1,500. He is a freshman and a business major.
Mike Bradshaw, interim head of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, said the competition is worth more to the students than winning money.
“In addition to a chance to win some bucks and work on their business model—which is the big thing—they can experience speaking to a group of people. I’m sure some of them may never, ever have done anything like this. They’re under pressure,” he said.
“The biggest thing for me is for these students to have a chance to show their ideas, show the work they’ve done to make their ideas real and make a case that their business needs support.”
To gather the information for her posters, which cost $30 each, Belcher uses software that digs through the discography of each artist, pulls out the specific lyrics and the number of times they are used in the artist’s songs.
“It’s taking the entire discography—so all the lyrics from all of their albums from start to finish, including a couple of singles that aren’t included on albums—and compiling it into one mega-list,” Belcher said.
“Then I go through the resulting data to find common themes and compelling findings.”
The posters now are available through Etsy, and Belcher said her next step is to find a production company to take over the production, packaging and shipping of the posters.
“Once a company is found whose cost and quality are in the right range, those tasks will be handed off,” she said. “All customers have to do is just go to the store, order it, and it’ll automatically be produced and shipped directly to them.”