Carrie Underwood’s “The Champion,” Recorded at Dark Horse Recording, Wins Big at the Super Bowl and Winter Olympics


Dave Hagen, Carrie Underwood phonecall

It was a phone call any of us would love to make. Lead Engineer at Dark Horse Recording and Audio Engineering Instructor at Dark Horse Institute, Dave Hagen, stepped from behind the Trident recording console to call studio owner, Robin Crow.

“Robin, are you seeing this?” he asked. It was February 4, the night the Philadelphia Eagles would beat Tom Brady’s New England Patriots in NBC’s Super Bowl LII, and the telecast—watched by more than 100 million people—started off with a video of Carrie Underwood performing her latest anthemic song, “The Champion.” The cause of all the excitement? Just weeks before, Underwood had recorded the lead vocal at Dark Horse.

“Even though I only had a small part in recording that track,” Hagen explained, “it’s pretty exciting to see something you helped create on such a grand scale. I mean, it’s the Super Bowl. And Carrie Underwood. You can’t get much bigger than that.”

Well, Dave, actually, you can. “The Champion” is also running throughout NBC’s coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. How’s that for “big”?

“The Champion” was co-written by Carrie Underwood, Brett James, Chris DeStefano and Christopher Bridges, PKA Ludacris. Produced by Jim Jonsin, also known for his work with artists that include Beyoncé, Usher, Lil Wayne, Kid Cudi and Eminem, the song is an ode to those people that are truly champions—from parents to athletes to role models to those who have overcome the toughest of obstacles.

“When we were writing “The Champion,” our main focus was to celebrate athletes at the top of their game, but we also wanted the song to resonate with people in their everyday lives,” explains Carrie Underwood. “We hope the lyrics will inspire people to push themselves beyond their limits to conquer anything they are trying to accomplish or overcome. There’s a champion in every single one of us!”

For the staff and students at Dark Horse, it’s a song that exemplifies one of their core mantras—with determination and hard work, you can succeed as an audio engineer, record producer or music industry entrepreneur, as is evident by what Dark Horse students and grads have accomplished.

“Our students have worked on some amazing, high-profile projects with, Britney Spears, For King & Country, Billy Joel, and Bruce Springsteen,” said Hagen, “and with brands like adidas, ESPN, Gatorade, and BMW… just to name a few. Since Dark Horse is both a world-class studio and an audio engineering and music business school, opportunities like this come up all of the time. It’s one of the reasons I constantly encourage prospective students to come study with us.”

Check out Dave’s personal intro to Carrie Underwood’s, “The Champion,” and watch the full music video!

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