Our first hometown show in five years is coming to Bethlehem, PA this Friday, November 17. That’s when we’ll team up with Your Next Favorite Band to present Nashville Meets Bethlehem: An All-Local, Nashville-Style Songwriter Night at SteelStacks, sponsored by Tuk Business & Entertainment Law.
As the big night approaches, we teamed up with Your Next Favorite Band over the past few weeks to interview ALL EIGHT artists on the lineup — Roi and the Secret People, Greg Adams of TIOGA, Carly Comando of Slingshot Dakota, Chelsea Mitchell of Dirty Dollhouse, The Beautiful Distortion, Bronte Fall, Bobby Siegfried of Chasing Daylight, and Billy Bauer of Billy Bauer Band.
On Thursday night, rising music producers from Nashville and beyond came to Helping Our Music Evolve (HOME) to participate in Beat Battle XV, presented by The Beat List.
In the end, it was 15-year-old producer Eye-Q who came away with top honors, outlasting a field of talented beatmakers to take home a $500 prize and one month of free membership at HOME, a music industry incubator nestled in the heart of East Nashville.
The tournament-style competition — judged by Grammy-winning producer Konscience Beatz and local radio host Christine B. — also included a special performance by local hip hop artist Andre Wolfe, and was the latest in a long-running series meant to highlight the hip hop production talent coming out of Music City.
Our first week back in action has led to a cascade of support — and of course, that means a steady flow of new music submissions.
It was nice to see so many familiar faces jump in to let us know what they’ve been up to, so we thought we’d take this opportunity to highlight a handful of them. Welcome to the return of Songs You Should Hear!
Song: Moving Day Genre: Pop/Rock/Funk Why You Should Hear It: There’s a certain, McCartney-esque whimsy to the steady-marching rhythms and shimmering vocal layers on “Moving Day.” These uplifting properties support the song’s deeper meaning; to move past what isn’t working, so we can find what is.
“The song is about a literal Moving Day, but also about moving on and growing through things that aren’t working,” DaChri said. “It’s about getting out of your own way to make the changes necessary. It’s about not living for other people.”
Artist: Fame & Fiction Song: Famous Genre: Pop/Rock Why You Should Hear It: This rollicking alt-rock anthem — imagine a sonic cross-section between Walk the Moon and Paramore — features dreamy guitars, crisp vocal harmonies, deftly-layered keys, and fast-paced, intricately groovy work from the rhythm section. “Famous” — written by keyboardist Mary Jennings alongside collaborator Coley O’Toole — delivers tongue-in-cheek commentary on the pitfalls of fame, and the lengths some people will go to attain it, while offering a subtle reminder of the importance of authenticity in the digital age.
“I admittedly struggled figuring out where ‘Famous’ fit in my solo catalog, but once I brought it to the band, we all realized pretty quickly that it was always meant to be a Fame & Fiction song,” Jennings said. “As the newest member of this group, contributing this track really strengthens my sense of belonging in the band, and I absolutely love the way it turned out.”
Artist: Goodnite Robicheaux Song: Pinewood Genre: Soul/Hip Hop Why You Should Hear It: This slickly-produced, modern meld of soul, hip hop, funk, and jazz pops off from the opening keyboard progression. Powerful horn accents, bumping bass, and a memorable hook team up with the song’s message — about persevering through life’s challenges — to get us ready to face the day.
“‘Pinewood’ speaks heavily on the bands younger days, and the trials a young musician goes through trying to break into the business,” the band said. “The message of Pinewood is to not let those trials stop you. You must always ‘keep your head up.'”
Got something you think we should hear? What are you waiting for?! Shoot it our way, and you might just be featured in an upcoming edition of Songs You Should Hear!
It’s been five years since Mike Roi was on The Quinn Spinn, and a lot has changed! His band, Roi and the Secret People, emerged from the pandemic with a new lineup and sound, but with the same captivating spirit that has wowed audiences all over the East Coast.
Mike joins us for his third appearance all-time to chat about the band’s latest, in advance of their appearance at Nashville Meets Bethlehem, November 17 at SteelStacks!
We’ve all had that relationship — or situationship — that reaches the point of doing more harm than good to us, our partner, and anyone else around. In the end, stopping the pain means stopping it in its tracks altogether.
And, as Nashville-based songwriter Andi Jane suggests on her new single, sometimes simply closing the door just isn’t enough.
Carrying a sense of timeless, country-flavored balladry, “Hide the Key” is an emotionally gripping account of a love best left behind. Andi Jane’s every soulful word cuts through the ether, as she hits the listener with the somber realization of “it’s over.”
“‘Hide the Key’ is about the point when you realize you can’t keep the door open — to that person, or that habit, or whatever you keep going back to — without drawing it out and causing more pain,” she said. “It’s about realizing when it’s time to hold the memories dear, but shut the door, lock it, and hide the key.”
The artfully minimalist soundscape of “Hide the Key” exists in contrast to the events that led up to its creation, representative of the stark realization we all face when we choose to walk away.
“This song needed to be so simple. I had come from a chaotic, toxic, back-and-forth relationship that was so messy and complicated and painful. I had the realization one day that it was really so simple,” she said. “To end the pain was easy; I just had to cut all ties, and hide the key. It didn’t mean I didn’t still appreciate the story, the memories, and even still have love for the person, but I had to lock it up in order to move on.”
You may have heard us talking about this thing we’re doing back home in Bethlehem, PA next week. The concept: take eight local (or locally-tied) songwriters, and put on a mega-event in the form of a Nashville-style writers round.
The event? It’s Nashville Meets Bethlehem, taking place on Bethlehem’s iconic SteelStacks campus on Friday, November 17. And — as we’re known to do — we’re so excited that we decided to make a playlist about it!
Nashville Meets Bethlehem: The Playlist features a total of 16 tracks — two each from our lineup of The Beautiful Distortion, Billy Bauer (of Billy Bauer Band), Bobby Siegfried (Chasing Daylight), Bronte Fall, Carly Comando (Slingshot Dakota), Chelsea Mitchell (Dirty Dollhouse), Roi and the Secret People, and TIOGA.
Pictured: The sun setting behind the Rocky Mountains from the Gaylord Rocky Mountain Resort (Denver, CO).
I need to tell you about my trip to Denver a couple weekends ago.
I was in town to attend the Achieve Systems BizExplosion Conference. Admittedly, I was looking to shake up my day-to-day, and get some perspective on the direction of this platform — which, as you may remember, recently took a brief, yet thorough detour away from being Underground Music Collective.
On Thursday, October 19, I attended the conference’s welcome reception. Upon entering, I sensed pretty much immediately that this was a different room than the ones to which I had become so accustomed. You had speakers, coaches, and entrepreneurs who had reached a levels of scalable, sustainable success that I, plucky UnderDog that I am, still aspire to reach.
That night — before the conference even officially kicked off — I found myself on the receiving end a ton of valuable feedback about the concept, its niche, and ways that it could be better executed. I heard people’s intrigue around the notion of a music industry-centric platform — and what it could do, if properly built, for independent artists everywhere. I learned so much that night (and throughout the ensuing weekend) about exactly how to properly build it, that I’m still combing through and applying the lessons.
And, to be honest, it all felt a bit overwhelming at first.
I left the reception at about 12:30 a.m. when I caught an Uber back to my Airbnb. I explained to my driver, Mateo, that I was in town to get educated about my business, and I was receiving more of an education than I ever could have expected. I also expressed a bit of self-doubt as I digested the lessons, and wondered what it would take to meaningfully level up from this experience once it was finished.
Mateo then told me he was about to restart the song playing in the car. He wanted me to listen…
That song is “Mirror (You Ain’t Know)” by Brian Hyppolite ft. Nelse… and these words were exactly what I needed to hear in that moment, from the opening refrain.
“Oh, you had it twisted?
Oh, you didn’t know that you was gifted?
You ain’t know that stuff you went through just set you up for winning?
You ain’t know that you was chosen?
You ain’t know that you was golden?
You ain’t know you was important, huh?
You ain’t know you had a purpose
Much bigger than anything you ever considered?
Well, I’ma be your mirror So you can see it clearer…“
When we step out of our comfort zones, our minds can play tricks on us. The stories we’ve internalized can delude us into believing that we aren’t worthy, or ready, or “good enough.” These stories will do everything they can to pull us from our purpose, or fool us into thinking another lane is best for us.
That night, the cards of my imposter syndrome were laid out on the table. However, as I listened to “Mirror (You Ain’t Know)” I realized that I — and not the stories — hold the winning hand.
That moment — and the entire experience of that weekend — helped me reconnect with my mission and vision for this platform. We’re here to build something of impact for independent artists, and connect them to the world of entrepreneurship so that they can built their platforms — and lives — regardless of whether they ever receive traditional music industry approval.
In that moment, it dawned on me that there was no better way to do that than to #GoUnderground.
That’s why we’re back as Underground Music Collective. And frankly, it feels damn good to be walking in this purpose again.
Ah, the mid-20s. Those rough-and-tumble years where most of us discover that the “American Dream” sold to us throughout our youth and adolescence is just that — a dream.
Surely, that realization gives us plenty to sort through, as we’re met with new “real world” pressures, for which a college classroom could never have prepared us. That’s the moment Til Now speaks to on his latest single, “Waste My Life.”
“Waste My Life” was written, recorded, and produced in its entirety by Til Now songsmith Aaron Marmolejos. Never one to let a creative moment slip by, the Tampa-based artist found inspiration for the single while on the road. He then tracked the vocals on a portable console in the back seat of his car, before bringing the project home for finishing touches.
The end result? An emotionally gripping track about balancing your ambitions with the burdens of everyday life. Til Now’s heart-on-his-sleeve vocal delivery and shimmering tone calls to mind the late, great Chester Bennington, while a glowing, pensive synthwave backdrop injects a colorful 80s sensibility into the track.
Check it out below. We hope that it helps you solve the riddle of where you’re going in life!
The Welters have graced us with some gritty, high energy indie rock and roll — and we’re here for it!
Released on August 11, “Soldiers” attempts to make sense of work, relationships, and an overall life’s purpose during one’s coming of age. The fast-paced and fuzzy instrumental — reminiscent of The Strokes — counterbalances a slower, more contemplative melody, illustrating the inner conflict we face when caught between the contrasting urges to live fast, or take life as it comes.
If you want more from The Welters, you shouldn’t have to wait long. “Soldiers” is the final single from the band’s forthcoming full-length album, For Your Consideration. For now, go right ahead and give yourself a preview below!
No matter your role in the creative ecosystem, you must present yourself as though you have something to offer that nobody else can.
But, here’s the kicker…
You have to believe it first!
One time, I had a coaching client. He was a musician, putting on a weekly open mic night at a local establishment. When I asked him how much he was charging for his time, he told me he was doing it for free, and that he didn’t think the venue would pay him.
I responded by assuring him that he could — and should — be getting paid for the service he was providing to the venue. His response?
“What service am I providing?”
Live entertainment, for one thing. As a performer, he had invested years of time and effort — not to mention, thousands of dollars — into his craft. And, because this was an open mic night, he was bringing the establishment even more business by inviting other artists and their loved ones to participate. In addition, any time spent promoting the series through his own digital channels was valuable time spent.
Even after that, he made it clear that he wasn’t interested in negotiating a rate with the venue. (We also didn’t remain working together for much longer, as you might imagine.)
The greater issue here is that he didn’t recognize the value in what he was doing. By offering it for free, he invited the venue to undermine his value, too.
We’ve all done this, right? We want to get business in the door — or gain “experience” — so, we offer our time and often-already-developed talents at deep discounts (or worse, free of charge). We think that having additional portfolio pieces will pay dividends for more business down the road. Sometimes, they do — and sometimes, we still remain in our own way when it comes time to negotiate a fair rate. That could become even more complicated once word-of-mouth gets around that we’re the “cheap option.”
It’s up to us at entrepreneurs to break that cycle, and we must do it by communicating our value. That means charging according to our experience, the value of our time, and what we uniquely bring to the table that nobody else can. We also must factor in that our needs — not just as business owners, but as people first — must be met.
The machine can’t run if the engine breaks down.
That’s you. You’re the engine.
Value yourself in a way that keeps the machine running strong.