Jillian Firnhaber, Echo’s Marketing Coordinator, tells us her experience with freshman year

Although most people think of California as the state of perpetual beach weather, in Northern California it can get quite chilly. That was a huge surprise to me, coming from sunny Orange County. University of California – Santa Cruz, where I went to school, had a special term for the sweeping case of seasonal affective disorder that seemed to blanket the school from January through March: winter quarter blues. For me, the winter quarter blues of my freshman year had a soundtrack.

Lauryn Hill’s MTV Unplugged. Apparently it was poorly reviewed. But in the winter of 2006 it was my world. Specifically the track “I Find It Hard To Say (Rebel).” Although this song is about a police brutality incident – the shooting of Amadou Diallo, it somehow was an absolute perfect anthem for skipping class because it was too cold to get out of bed, and because I was busy fighting with my roommate about her weird boyfriend. Read more »

What do you think of when you think country music? A dirt road? Cold beers? Long, summer days on the lake with friends? Maybe a few four wheelers with a smattering of daisy dukes (Cue the jean cutting anthem)? In short, you probably think of summer. After all, summer is when Nashville hosts its annual CMA Fest, a veritable Mecca for country fans.

Now let’s throw fallen leaves all over that image. Instead of dirt roads; pumpkins. Instead of cold beers, how about pumpkin spice lattes. And how ’bout scratch that whole “short jeans” thing in favor of, oh I don’t know, Richard Nixon?

While it may sound strange and even absurd, on September 25, 1970, President Richard Nixon proclaimed that October be recognized as National Country Music Month. Heck, Nixon even performed at Nashville’s Historic Grand Ole Opry.

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Team Echo is excited to introduce a few of the folks who are helping us launch!  First up, a round of interns from Loyola University New Orleans-

Braden Young

braden-headshotWhat was the last song you listened to?

Short Truth by Yumi Zouma

Guilty Pleasure?

Raspberry Sherbet

Favorite place to eat in NOLA?

Anywhere that has a deal on oysters that day.


Chantilly Benitez

imageWhat is your proudest accomplishment?

Having been able to balance a full time work schedule, taking 21 credits of mostly core classes (longish story), commuter life (aka family life-which includes 5 dogs to walk), and fundraising chair at my business fraternity. I had zero free time and hardly any sleep, but being able to manage it all was a good feeling.

What is your heartbreak song?

“Careless Whisper” by George Michael …kidding!! But it did just come on my Pandora ironically. Don’t have a particular one but I like “Tell It Like It Is” by Aaron Neville

Guilty Pleasure

I love quotes. I have a bunch of plaques on the wall with quotes or song lyrics I love. Also, coffee. I owe most of the energy I have to strong coffee.


Jeffrey Fisher

aaeaaqaaaaaaaagpaaaajdblowriyjezlwq0yjytndg1oc05ymvmltlkogewnmzindc3nwFirst Concert?

My first concert was Avenged Sevenfold’s headlining tour in ’07. I was 11 years old and in 6th grade, and with enough convincing, my dad was kind enough to take me to the House of Blues in New Orleans. Their self-titled album is one we still bond over to this day.

Heartbreak Song?

Thrice – Hurricane


When I’m not at work or school, you can find me either playing guitar in my instrumental band The Arbitrary or at a record store looking to expand my ever-growing vinyl collection.


But Wait, There’s More

img_3096We’re also incredibly grateful to Jillian Firnhaber from our partner, LOOKFAR Idea Accelerator, for serving as Marketing Coordinator while we are in Beta. We are remarkably lucky to have such a “marketing ninja”, “data guru”, or “story sensei” or whatever cheesy term people are putting on their LinkedIn bios these days.

It’s hard to believe it, but Nirvana’s Nevermind turned 25 years old last week.

I’d be lying if I said I still listen to this album very much — if at all — these days. Which, considering the massive influence Nevermind had on me from 1992 – 1994, is somewhat surprising. Don’t get me wrong, I still think the songs are solid (to this day I enjoy the MTV Unplugged versions). But the aggression and angst of this record just don’t resonate with me at 35 like they once did. And hey, that’s probably a good thing!

blink-182_-_enema_of_the_state_coverIt got me thinking about other artists and albums that, for one reason or another, just didn’t wear well with age. One album that immediately came to mind was Blink 182’s Enema of the State. I’ve always loved pop-punk and I really liked this album when it came out while in high school. But I must say, listening to it now, it’s … well … really sophomoric. And unlike Nevermind, I doubt an “Unplugged” version would be any more appealing.
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About a month ago I went back to my middle school, McMain, in New Orleans.  I was there representing Recording Academy (Memphis Chapter), whose GRAMMY IN THE SCHOOLS initiative was presenting the McMain band with a $5,000 check.  

Of course, I couldn’t help but think about the music of my middle school experience — 7th (94 – 95) and 8th (95 – 96) grade were such transitional times in my musical life.  5th and 6th (93 – 94) grades had been defined by the usual suspects in popular metal and grunge — Metallica, Pantera (turns out Phil Anselmo is a racist jackass, btw), Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, etc.  But as the early 90s turned to mid, things started to change.

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We’re happy to announce that Echo is officially in Beta! Download here:
App Store Download
Google Play Download

What is expected of a beta user?

A “beta” is a time period before a public launch where beta users try out that app.  This time is critical to an app’s success, because a beta user’s feedback determines how the app develops. In our app, here are a few things we’d like from our beta users:

  • Record a musical memory (an “echo”) everyday.  After you log in, you’ll be directed to the home screen to create an “echo” based of a musical memory. The more echoes you create, the better you’re experience will be! If you’re having problem creating echoes, please let us know in the Facebook group!
  • Share some echoes.  Obviously, some musical memories are private and you don’t want to share all of them.  That’s ok. Each echo has a privacy setting at the bottom of the “Create Echo” form. As you get more comfortable, please create and share echoes with some of your Facebook friends. Tell us if your Echo sparks a conversation.
  • Tell us about any bugs / bad experience you have. We are really grateful for the time you’re spending with our app, and if you have any bugs or confusion, please let us know. We are relying on your input / questions to improve the app.  And please share any issues there with screenshots if possible.

To be a part of the Echo Beta, simply follow these steps:

  1. Join the User Group.  This is where we listen to you about Echo. Tell us what you like, and what you don’t like.  Sign in with your facebook account: https://www.facebook.com/groups/847410458720298/
  2. Download the app.  Apple users can download their app here and android users can download the app here.


Echo was selected as part of an elite group of start ups to pitch at TechCrunch’s NOLA Tech Week Pitch Event. In addition to the pitch, our CEO Tim Kappel was featured in an interview with Nashville Start Up blog, Southern Alpha, and you can read the interview with Southern Alpha’s Ayumi Fukuda Bennett. http://southernalpha.com/startup-with-nashvillenola-ties-selected-for-techcrunch-pitch-off-at-nolatech-week/