Austin native a finalist for ESPN challenge

Published 10:11 am Monday, March 3, 2014

It’s one of the most universally recognized jingles in television and an Austin native is one of the eight musicians taking part in a contest to come up with a unique arrangement of ESPN’s famed SportsCenter theme song.

Singer-songwriter Trace Bundy performed a complex arrangement on an acoustic guitar, utilizing a variety of styles to come up with his version. While four versions feature rock, electric guitar and sampling arrangements, Bundy is one of four artists who took a different path with his take.

“It’s classic,” Bundy said. “Through the years it’s changed and meandered, but still stayed true to that main melody. I tried to meld older and newer versions, but still keep the ‘da, da, da, DA, DA, DA’ but play in a unique style.”

Bundy, who has been a professional musician for about 10 years and who has played both nationally and internationally, didn’t have to go through several rounds but was instead approached by ESPN.

“They contacted me, ‘we’re from ESPN and we would like to see if you wanted to compete in this contest,’” Bundy said.

While several of the entries took a more aggressive approach to the song, Bundy stayed true and approached the song in his own way as much for practicality as anything else.

“It’s hard to come out aggressive on the acoustic guitar,” Bundy said. “I knew I was going to be up against people with drums in the background and who are more energetic. I didn’t want to have a drum track so I stayed true to what I do.”

Regardless of the styles used in the contest, Bundy admitted he was part of a talented group of musicians and was thrilled to be part of the experience.

“I really liked every one of them,” Bundy said.

Voting wrapped up last Thursday. Although Bundy is still waiting to find out the results, He said that he felt really good about his chances, especially considering the response he’s received from his fans.

“I couldn’t be happier,” he continued. “I’ve had a good response for the most part and the response from my fans has been amazing. It’s been really cool.”

Watch SportsCenter starting at 8 a.m. Central Standard Time (9 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) when the winner will be announced and then be performing.

Trace Bundy

Singer-songwriter Trace Bundy originally lived in Austin before his family moved when he was in fourth-grade to Colorado.

Having an interest in music at an early age, he and his brother bought an acoustic guitar and promptly began playing music seriously. Bundy soon started writing his own songs.

From there, however, Bundy’s path to music took a detour.

“I think my parents often tried to be the voice of reason,” Bunday said. “They always said, ‘You will never make a living doing this you should study something practical.’ So I went to college for civil engineering.”

Bundy said he was good at it, he didn’t like it so he took time and taught rock and ice climbing before he was asked back to school to pursue a graduate degree, which also included some time teaching.

It was then Bundy’s paths of music and school came together again

While dealing with school, Bundy returned to music and a juggling act of school and art. Soon though he started using his schooling to figure out his career path.

“As a good engineering student I did the math,” he said. “Could I make a living playing music and yeah, I really could.”