Welcome to Indie Voice, a blog that will highlight, promote and support indie artists and their work, with an emphasis on music, books and theater. This is my first foray into the world of blogging. I look forward to bringing you the best of the indie world. My feature articles will include the return of the Women in Entertainment series every Monday, which was originally published on Examiner.com. In addition, I will provide reviews of new music (EP, CD, singles and videos), concerts and theatrical productions, as well as promoting the latest crowd funding efforts for indie artists.
This will also be the new home for the LA Music Critic Awards, as well as the forthcoming Missoula Theatrical Awards and the efforts of the soon to be announced Missoula Theater Council.
In my first blog, I thought I would take time to introduce myself to new readers, as well as provide some background on my career in the industry.
I have always loved Celtic music and historical events, especially the Renaissance era. In the early 90’s, I was first introduced to a band out of Orange County called The Fenians when I heard them perform at the Orange Blossom Festival in Riverside, California. I started attending every show I could, and gradually got involved in their marketing and merchandising efforts.
During one of their shows at the Disney House of Blues, I first heard an opening act named Kerry Getz, a singer-songwriter whose songs had amazing lyrical content. I soon became Kerry’s roadie, helping her set up at shows, running her merch booth and assisting in whatever way I could. Kerry in turn introduced me to Martin Brown, the creator of the Orange County Music Awards (OCMA) and publisher of a small monthly magazine called Live, which was available free of charge at most venues and bookstores around Orange County. Martin invited me to submit articles to his magazine, and I became one of his concert reviewers, as well as the coordinator for the acoustical live performance portion of OCMA.
As I began to cover more and more indie acts for Live, I grew to love the indie scene and the amazing artists that made up the scene. As my articles were published more and more often, I was introduced to Bernard Bauer, an editor for Music Connection Magazine. Since the magazine was based in Los Angeles, he needed someone to cover concerts in the Orange County area, and I became a freelance live music reviewer for the magazine. During my three years there, I published more than 150 reviews. When the magazine went from bi-weekly to monthly, and changed from regional (west coast) to national coverage, they dropped the freelancers in favor of in-house talent.
At the same time, I spent five years working with the OCMA before branching off to form my own awards program, the SoCal Music Live Awards, which was focused solely on live performances. We were able to secure sponsorships from major musical equipment manufacturers, such as Minarik Guitars, Daisy Rock Guitars, Peavey, Gibson Guitars and others, who provided equipment for the winners of the annual competition. The SoCal Music Live Awards continued for five years before giving way to the current LA Music Critic Awards program.
In the midst of all of this, my company, Shout it Out Promotions, was formed and began booking shows at several Los Angeles venues, including The Viper Room, The Derby and Genghis Cohen. These shows provided an outlet for indie artists to book gigs where they could be paid for performing, as well as a chance to showcase their musical skills. I also booked indie artists for weekly shows at various Borders Books & Music stores located throughout southern California.
In 2010, I learned about Examiner.com from my friend, an indie musician, artist, actress and comedian named Denise Vasquez. My first title was Griffith Park/Los Feliz Examiner, and I covered my local community of Los Feliz and all the music and art going on there, which included the brand new Hollywood Fringe Festival. In addition, as a result of having been involved with the Southern Renaissance Pleasure Faire since 1994, I was named as the Los Angeles Renaissance and Medieval Events Examiner, which gave birth to the Rennie Awards, honoring the cast and crew of the Faire.
In 2013, I moved to Missoula, Montana, and received two new titles, Missoula Music Examiner and Missoula Theater Examiner. I continued writing for my other two titles, as I kept in touch with all the indie artists that I had previously met and reviewed, as well as the new artists that my industry friends like Jen Lyneis of Ue3 Promotions and Laura Goldfarb of Red Boot PR introduced to me.
When Mark Cuban’s company AXS bought out Examiner.com, I was chosen to become a contributor to AXS.com, where I wrote artist profiles as well as profiles on local venues and events. During my time with Examiner.com I contributed almost 800 articles, as well as nearly 150 more for AXS.com.
I have found so much to cover in my new home in Montana, as I became involved with the Missoula Community Theater, First Night Missoula, ZooFest, Zoo Music Awards, Celtic Festival Missoula, River City Roots Festival and the Zootown Fringe Festival.
I look forward to introducing you to new artists, as well as reviewing plays, concerts and new music. Please feel free to drop me a line with review requests, comments, and suggestions for future coverage. I look forward to giving a voice to indie artists everywhere. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment below. I also invite you to like my Faceboook page (link below) and follow me on Twitter (@dramabob).