Music is engrained in the human experience. It’s what we listen to at all our most momentous occasions and the beat to our saddest days. Everybody listens to music; whether it’s Hip Hop, R&B, Rock and Roll or Country. In Arizona we have often struggled with defining our culture. The big cities like New York, Chicago, New Orleans, they’ve all got their culture, their music, their food. All these things are what make those cities some of the most visited cities in the world. In Phoenix we have a hotchpotch of all these other cultures, and to me, that’s what makes this city so incredible. On the first Friday of every month Phoenix begins to look like a real city. Art exhibits are spread all across downtown phoenix, musicians, painters, poets all the foundations of the beginnings to Phoenix culture.
We have already seen incredible talent come out of Arizona – Chester Bennington from Linkin Park, Kiana Lede and Jordan Sparks. All sensational artists who grew up in our backyard. And there’s more to come. Our mixture of cultures from around the states has created a breeding ground for upcoming artists to thrive. I believe it is our duty as Arizonans to support this talent, and to ensure they continue to build not only our foundation of culture but our entire building. Following are some of my main reasons to support local talent:
1.) Encourage upcoming talent to follow their musical goals – We see artists all the time abandon their dreams due to a fear of being judged and ridiculed. Supporting local music in any way; buying tickets, streaming songs, posting them on social media – not only provides the artist with confidence but it provides them monetary support to continue to pursue their dreams.
2.) Local shows are cheaper – Let’s face it, most of us don’t have the finical freedom to attend expensive shows every weekend. Most major artistsexpect us to pay well over $100 to see them. This is all fine and dandy when it’s an artist we have listened to our whole lives but when we are just looking for something to do on the weekend, a local show is the way to go. Tickets for local shows can cost as little as $5!
3.) Local shows are more personal – Have you ever sat in the front row of a concert and felt like the artists was singingdirectly to your soul. This is how every local show feels. With smaller venues we are able to create a connection between the crowd and the artist that is personal. Not only is there a level of intimacy in proximity. There is a level of intimacy in knowing those five dollars you spent are going to heavily impact that artist’s future.
4.) Discovering new music – Our music can become stale, that same playlist you’ve been playing for the last 3 months is in desperate need of some new music. By attending local shows you not only support the local talent but you find new music. Perhaps someday you will be able to annoyingly state, “I knew them before they got big”.
5.) Culture & music diversity – My final point is the point I feel most strongly about. In the beginning of this post I talked about the culture of Phoenix. I strongly believe we are cultivating the future culture of Phoenix right now. Through events like, First Friday, we are showcasing all of this amazing talent that has grown right here in Arizona. I think it is imperative that as Arizonans we begin to support local talent not only to help our neighbor but to create a sound that is uniquely ours.
Here are some local artist we think you should support in Arizona:
Two great platforms that are supporting local artists in Arizona are Power 98.3, 101.1 The Beat & Respect The Underground
While there was a controversy about Power 98.3 not “truly” supporting local music, it is important to understand that Power 98.3 is a business first. While most don’t understand the behind the scenes stuff that goes on, they do their part with their show Ground Zero every Sunday night hosted by 2 Tone Da Super Star, Julez, Oh Jezuz & DJ Madd Rich.
Respect The Underground has been doing a lot for the local hip hop community that sometimes can get overlooked. Every year they throw a 2 day annual hip hop festival featuring over 30 artist along with doing a local showcase about every month.
Last but not least, the Beat Locker Show from 101.1 The Beat does their part in supporting the growing community of local artists. The Beat Locker was the first radio show introduced with the purpose of showcasing over 40 R&B and hip hop a week artists based in Arizona. Pokafase, a very respected individual in the Arizona music scene started The Beat Locker 7 years ago and brought along DJ Marvel to the show. They air every Sunday from 8pm to 11pm.
Derek Ware Jr. has been apart of the company since 2015! He started shortly after high school with tasks behind the scenes. Now his duties range from official DJ to everything that goes into the planning, advertising and organizing of events.