Last Thursday I hosted and curated my first music showcase at Forecast Recordings, a boutique recording studio in the Arts District of Downtown LA.
Curating my own lineup has been on my music bucket list for some time. As an avid concert goer since high school and a lover of live music, I was excited to find myself full circle, curating and organizing my own music line-up. Thanks to my friend Hollis, a singer-songwriter who also moonlights at the director of the studio, I was able to cross that off the list.
There was great energy in the room, thanks to everyone who came out to support these talented, independent musicians. Bathe opened up their set, entrancing the audience with their psych-inspired R&B sounds. Ivy Sole got the crowd energized with her poetic tunes and dancing ensued. April + VISTA sealed the night with their electric, moving set and previewed new music from their upcoming EP You Are Here.
April + VISTA, Ivy Sole, and Bathe are all carving their own lanes and sounds while creating from authenticity, love, and vulnerability.
I was honored to have invited them all to personally to be part of this showcase not only because their music is incredible, but also because I’ve met them at various points in my life so far. To be able to reflect back together on how we met and how far we’ve come since then is a reminder for all of us to keep going.
April + VISTA
April George and Matt Thompson make up the genre-bending duo April + VISTA from the DMV. April is a violinist, pianist, and vocalist. Matt is a bassist, producer, and engineer. Together, they create incredible soundscapes and stories through their music, influenced by everything from gospel and soul to futuristic, experimental sounds. Their music transports you to another place and lights you up.
I first heard of April when I heard her across GoldLink’s projects over the years. Her talent and voice blew me away and has played a significant role in the growth of his sound. I met her backstage at a 2016 GoldLink show at Social Hall in San Francisco. We stayed in touch through the Internet and our connection grew especially in the last year. Last year, I interviewed and wrote a profile on April for OkayPlayer.
A special highlight was that after their show on Thursday, their latest single “Own2” played on the KCRW airwaves, an hour before their flight back to DC on Saturday. Alignment in action is a beautiful thing.
Ivy Sole is a Charlotte, NC native who now resides in Philadelphia. She boasts an incredible amount of talent as a rapper, singer, and songwriter. Her writing is strong and poetic, heartfelt and healing.
I learned of Ivy when she appeared on the Fresh Finds playlist (shoutout to Athena Koumis) and we met for the first time last year as part of my 2017 Jane Shin Summer Tour across five cities–Miami, Atlanta, NYC, Stockholm, and London.
There’s always something to take away from her music and a lot of depth to it, whether it's a song about the rollercoaster-like feelings of being in love or about the fragility and simplicity of life. She has an upcoming project coming soon too, so stay glued to this one.
Bathe consists of Devin Hobdy and Corey Smith-West who create luscious, psych R&B. I first met Devin in 2015 back in my SoundCloud days. He was one of the coworkers I instantly connected with right away as we swapped music links back and forth.
I didn't officially hear his musical talents until last December when he shared the band's demo of “I’ll Miss You” on his Instagram Stories. I instantly loved what I heard, we kept in touch about things since the start of the year, and I invited them to come out to perform their music live for the first time in LA.
Through my experiences working in digital music for the past 10 years, I often think about how artists “break” on the Internet. In this case, it was cool to invite a new band like Bathe to perform despite the fact that they haven't shared any music publicly yet. I felt it was a treat for people to experience their music live for the first time as opposed to a SoundCloud link. They have music coming out this year though so stay tuned.
Takeaways from the night
Support emerging and independent artists. Sure, it's a saturated industry we're in, but it's an exciting time in music. There's a lot of incredible music out there, especially from new artists who are creating new sounds and taking risks on the daily. I’m thankful I’ve gotten a chance to work with emerging and independent artists over the course of my career, and I don’t intend to stop.
“Build the community you want more of." Community is everything. The right people will come. Don't worry about chasing after people or things that don't reciprocate at your level. Be mindful of what you spend your time on and with whom.
"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards." I’ve always loved this quote from Steve Jobs, and I find myself thinking a lot about it in the context of heightened alignment I've been experiencing as of late. Not sure if this is a side effect of turning 30, but it feels good. I'm grateful for all the challenges and experiences that have led me to this point. Go after the things you want to do. If it sparks joy, keep doing it and follow your intuition.