On a cold, rainy night in late December, Heather Thomas and I got together to discuss an upcoming gig we had in February at the Rendezvous, Jewel Box Theatre. Familiar with the Seattle scene, we have both played our fair share of shows and have frankly become fed up with the standard. Too often musicians are short changed for the amount of hard work and energy they put into a gig. We wanted to see if there was a way that we could make this particular gig different, to have a show that benefits the artists as well as the venue that so graciously offers up its space. We also wanted to take what could easily be viewed as "just another show of the hundreds of shows one could choose from," into THE SHOW that no one would want to miss.
We thought about the other artists on the bill, Kristen Palmer and Tasha McCoy, and recognized that each group performing that evening was led by an INCREDIBLE female vocalist and songwriter. We talked about how musicians aren't the only people struggling economically, but all kinds of artists, writers and independently owned businesses are grinding as well.
We had a vision.
On February 11, 2016, Rising Stars: Women in Music happened. We offered a VIP ticket for anyone willing to pay an extra five dollars in advance. This VIP ticket included a private pre-show collaborative performance of Kristen Palmer, Tasha McCoy, Heather Thomas, and myself as well as a goody bag stuffed with donations provided by local businesses. During the VIP set, we performed three songs that we wrote together for this event exclusively, making this a once in a lifetime performance that our fans didn't want to miss. The room was filled, not one seat empty. People were even spilling into the aisleways and standing along the sides of the room to watch.
The audience wasn't limited to friends and fans, we had multiple photographers, a videographer, an audio engineer, and a writer that agreed to provide their services for free admission into the show and exposure from the musicians. They take pictures, record video/ audio, and write about us, free of charge, and in return, we promote them by posting their art on our websites, social media accounts, and recommend them to other musicians for gigs in the future. Win-win.
At the end of the night all artists gained exposure on a variety of platforms, fans left uplifted because they witnessed something magical, each musician was filled with positivity and love from the people who came to watch them do what they love to do most, and BOTH the venue and the performers were compensated well.
We did it.
On a cold, rainy night in late December, Heather Thomas and I envisioned artists of all kinds, music venues, and local businesses working together harmoniously. On February 11th, 2016 we turned that vision into a reality.