Boatman named Fighting Okra artist of the year
by Courtney Warren
Jan 31, 2014 | 2835 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Guitar is something that Justin Boatman has been interested in since he was in the sixth grade.

Boatman, a Delta State University sophomore from Eupora, was recently chosen as the Fighting Okra Records Artist of the Year.

"My grandparents were part of a program at the Webster County Library and Ms. Tricia came to talk about the DMI. They told me about it and said I should come visit. I came and now here I am," said Boatman.

Tricia Walker is the director of the Delta Music Institute where Boatman is a music industry studies major.

Last year Boatman went through an application process to become the artist of the year.

"I also had to send in some videos of me performing songs," he said.

After winning the title of artist of the year, Boatman was then able to sign with the Fighting Okra Records and he is now working on a four song EP.

According to the label’s Website, Fighting Okra Records is a student run record label at Delta State whose purpose is "to provide a practical, real world music industry experience to the students. Our mission is to provide a variety of independent artists with professional quality music industry services in an effort to expose their name in recordings to the broadest possible audience."

"I'll get a four song EP, it will be promoted and I'll get publicity. I'm most excited about getting the EP. I wrote three out of the four on the album," he said.

Boatman recently opened for county music star Craig Campbell, who played at the Bolivar County Expo Center on Jan. 21.

"I was very nervous before going on stage and while I was playing I just looked for the facial expressions of the people in the crowd," said Boatman.

When asked about how he creates his songs and what his process is, Boatman said he just writes about whatever comes to mind.

"I really don't have one. I'll typically start with the music first before doing anything lyrical. I don't have a process for the actual lyrics. It's more just whatever comes to mind. The three that are on the album are relationship based — not necessarily true but definitely based on relationships."

The DMI institute is unique in that it is an independent center under the College of Arts & Sciences at DSU. Its mission is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative, and business areas of the music and entertainment industries.

Boatman said he loves the program and getting to do what he loves for schoolwork.

"I get to come here and have fun doing school work. I always brag about getting to do music for homework. Everyone else has to do math and English and writing papers and I'm writing songs.

"Basically what I've been getting this year is they will send us a session that has recorded audio and we go in and edit and mix, maybe add our own things if we want to," he explained.

When asked what his dreams are and what he hopes to accomplish with music, Boatman said he is hopeful for success and said he would enjoy working as a worship director or with a worship band in a church.

"I want to work in church in some aspect with my music. I've always gone to church and for a few years I was in a Christian band. With my guitar playing that was a main thing I did and it was the first group I played with."

Boatman's EP is still in the creation process with the label and will soon be out and available for $5.

Part of the money made from the EP will go to Boatman and other funds will go to the record label for upcoming student albums.

To read more about the Fighting Okra Records visit its Facebook page or