Nashville is the Place to Be

For musicians and songwriters wanting to work in the industry, there’s no better place to be than in the company of other creative, like-minded folks. When you surround yourself with people who appreciate music and the arts, their enthusiasm enriches your life and provides the support and inspiration you need to continue honing your craft.

Every Musician Moves to Nashville

Starting out in 1999 as a music critic for Impact Weekly (now called the Dayton City Paper) in Dayton, Ohio, I wrote a weekly column called “Soundboard,” which covered the local scene. I saw firsthand how many Midwestern musicians choose to launch their careers “at home” at then eventually head southeast to Nashville to jumpstart the next step in their careers. Jayne Sachs is one such example. When I first interviewed Jayne in 2003, the ‘Velveteen Girl’ had the intent of moving to Nashville to make it big. After nine years as a songwriter and performer, it was time to make her stand.

“With every chunk of my life, music has played the leading role in shaping and molding that time period,” she said. “Something as quick as a smell or a taste of something can trigger a memory. Music calls up the very emotion of the memory, however bitter or sweet. To me there is nothing like the physical reaction that music creates, even if it feels like a kick in the gut…” Nearly 10 years later, Jayne is still performing.

It’s been a common thread tying the Midwest music scenes and Nashville together. Even The Weakenders, who recently performed on the Nuvo stage at Oranje in Indianapolis, Indiana, are comprised of three Indy natives who moved to Nashville to follow their dreams.

A Welcoming City

It’s no wonder! Nashville is a very welcoming city, and not only for country music. Though it may be hard to find a gig on your own there, bands are likely to succeed if they team with two or three other acts to form a unified “show bill,” with which they tour the circuit. Also, countless open mic nights and singer-songwriter workshops offer opportunities for aspiring musicians to express themselves and share their voice.

As Irene & Reed, we’ve been fortunate to record both our debut album (Closer to Home, 2009) and our upcoming second full-length album (Struggle, Strength, Reclamation, 2012)  in Nashville at Sony Tree Studios. Though working independently of a record company for now, we have appreciated finding a “home away from home” in Nashville, and we look forward to many more adventures to come.

Nashville just keeps getting better…. Not only for hosting the Country Music Awards, which air tonight, by the way, but for its rich history and future of offering musicians at the top of their game a platform for their art, no matter what their chosen genre.

And now with the popular television drama, “Nashville,” on the air, stars like Connie Britton as Rayna Jaymes (from “American Horror Story) and Hayden Panettiere as Juliette Barnes (from “Heroes”) are turning up the heat on the great music city, bringing even more attention to its scene.

Reed and I are returning to Nashville again this weekend (our third consecutive year), not only to scout the music scene, but to celebrate it as music fans. We’ll be posting photos from the road, so you can enjoy the experience with us.

Nashville, here we come!

– Irene

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