T-Pain headlines GV Spring Concert


GVL / Bethann Long

Hailey Hentz, Staff Writer

Campus Activities Board (CAB) welcomed artist T-Pain to Grand Valley State University for the annual Spring Concert on Sat. April 1. The performance was held in the Fieldhouse Arena on campus with more than 5,000 tickets sold.

Originally scheduled to perform at the Spring Concert in 2020, the rapper’s visit to GVSU was canceled due to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Saturday’s event marked T-Pain’s appearance on stage three years later. 

“We are always looking for ways to diversify our artists and the genre of music for (the) Spring Concert,” said Programming Graduate Assistant in the Office of Student Life Chad Novak. “We recognized that T-Pain would be an excellent fit and would give us the chance to honor the concert that never happened because of COVID.”

T-Pain began making music in 1999 as a member of the hip-hop group Nappy Headz. He transitioned into a solo career, releasing his debut album in 2005 and popularizing the use of Auto-Tune to enhance singers’ voices.

Since then, T-Pain has become a staple in 2000s R&B, totaling 12 Grammy nominations and two award wins. He is most well known for his songs “Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’)” and “Bartender,” as well as his collaborations with hip-hop artists Pitbull and Flo Rida. 

T-Pain performed a setlist with his greatest hits for the packed venue. In the glow of the stage lights, audience members recorded their favorite songs and sang along with friends. 

“(My favorite part was) when he got introduced,” said Aaron Veliu, a who attended the concert. “The video they put in the background was dope.”

Veliu and his friend group said they were excited they got to hear “Best Love Song” live. 

According to CAB, the organization sold 500 more tickets than last year’s Spring Concert with Yung Gravy, making it the largest yet. Tickets were priced at $15 for students, $25 for staff, faculty and alumni and $35 for the public.

CAB first hinted at the artist through a series of Instagram posts. The posts showed sunglasses, the shape of Florida, a white suit and a Mini Coupe. The first five students who guessed correctly that T-Pain was performing received free tickets to the concert. 

The organization encouraged students to attend GVSU’s annual talent show for the reveal of the headlining artist at the end of the event.

We wanted to try something new this year with a live reveal,” said Assistant Director of Programming in the Office of Student Life Katie Garrett. “We got a great turnout for GV’s Got Talent and got to showcase some amazing student talent, but also, we got to see the live reaction of students finding out who the Spring Concert artist was.”

Two performers opened Saturday’s event. DJ Q89, an entertainer from Greek Life’s NPHC Icebreaker, was brought back to GVSU. NandoSTL, an up-and-coming artist who collaborates with T-Pain, also opened the show. T-Pain wanted to introduce him to GVSU and CAB agreed that the concert was a perfect opportunity to include new artists. 

Organizing the event wasn’t a quick task. Novak said a large amount of work went on before students entered the Fieldhouse for the show.

“The week leading up to the concert is always hectic, in a good way,” Novak said. “We are working on finalizing last-minute details, meeting with all of our stakeholders, and ensuring we have all of our supplies and equipment ready for the concert. The day of the concert is the busiest with setting up the venue, stage, lighting, sound, signage and security measures.”

Behind-the-scenes work goes into making the Spring Concert one of the most popular annual events at GVSU. 

“Events like the Spring Concert can be some of students’ favorite memories of college,” Garrett said. “We hope that students can come together, and just have fun. There are a lot of challenges in college and we hope our events help students put down some of the heavy parts of college to take a break and enjoy time with their friends.”