A Bigger Box

It’s been quite a while since I have posted, and its been quite a year so far. Do you remember my very first article? It was called “Excuses, Excuses” and can be found here: http://www.linescratchers.com/?p=1113 Well, I stopped making excuses and I’ve jumped into this crazy business full time.

It’s been an interesting year as I’ve started my business (2 businesses actually) and have worked with a number of artists and projects, both in and out of the LDS world. This year, my “flagship” project was (for the first time) something that was not just influenced by my beliefs and values, but that was openly promoting a religiously themed message. Working on it has been enlightening and educational as I have begun to better understand the “typical” LDS Market for music. This project was one that was close to my heart, as it was a personal project done with my teenage daughters. Together, we wrote and produced an album of fun, energetic, and uplifting music geared for young adults and teens, and based it on the values and principles promoted by the Young Women’s theme. This was their first serious project. The music has a great spirit about it, and a positive message. It’s well done, and we’ve received fantastic feedback overall on it. I am not shy about putting in a plug – you can check it out at www.ofpreciousvalue.com – but my point in this article is not just to promote this, I am trying to make a point, and looking for some feedback.

My point – we don’t fit in “the box”. Most of us on this website don’t quite fit in “the” box, and that’s why we are here. We don’t quite fit the stereotype of an “LDS Musician” and yet there are many in the world who are slow to accept us if they are aware we are LDS. Hence, the “linescratchers box”. Well, I’m not even sure my most recent LDS project (Of Precious Value) fits in the Linescratchers box…. it’s sort of in no mans land. With a blatent religious message and obvious religious target market, its on the fringe at best of what would fall under the classic definition of a Linescratchers musician. And, with music that is much more a blend of modern pop and guitar driven rock, delivered in a fresh and energetic way, it struggles to fit into the “traditional” LDS music box in spite of having a direct and blatent LDS message.

The music I’ve made may never make it into a “Sabbath Sounds” type of broadcast, and at the same time it’s probably not the right choice of albums to review and feature on Linescratchers. And you know what? I’m fine with that! I’m not here to try to fit into a pre-defined box, I’m here to help make a BIGGER BOX! I hope all of us share that same artistic drive and passion. The LDS market is a tough one to crack. If you don’t fit in or have the right connections, its even tougher. But we need to work together to make a bigger box. We need to support each other and work together to expand the box to include great music that is being overlooked. With going back into music full time, I am reminded how many AMAZING musicians there are who will really never be heard outside of their circle of friends and family.

How do we make more room for them? How do we make a bigger box? Shouldn’t the “LDS Music Box” include not only traditional and contemporary musicians but also include a lot of secular music that is just…well….Good? Free of profanity and questionable subject matter, music that simply celebrates and speaks of the ups and downs and experiences of life? Shouldn’t the “Linescratchers Box” include not only those who are LDS and make secular music, but also include those who are bold in challenging the status quo for LDS spiritual music ? (while staying appropriate of course!)

I am asking for your help making a bigger box. I have a lot of ideas running through my head. I know a lot of LDS youth and young adults and very few of them are listening to LDS music or LDS artists. Some LDS bands and artists are popping up thank goodness, but they are a drop in the bucket on the ipod playlists of our youth. Really?? Do we not have amazing talent among us, both for religious and secular music? How do we reach these people who are ripe to accept us if we can connect with them? One thing I’ve noticed is that the overwhelming majority of broadcasts of LDS music (real or online) are more “Sabbath Sounds” oriented. There are some that are broadcasting, podcasting, or streaming more contemporary music and even secular music, but I haven’t found many. Kudos to Steve Larson at LDS Music Today who has included a very diverse range of music in his regular podcasts. We need more of that.

With all this in mind – I’m asking for your input. What can we do? I’m considering a lot of things. One is I’m thinking of starting a 24/7 online radio station that will play a wide range of good music – LDS Music, Secular music, New Artists, Contemporary Christian Music, etc – with a focus on lesser known artists, interviews, themed shows (ideas: Best New Artists Hour, Linescratchers Royalty Hour, Genre specific shows, and more). I’d initially probably start with 1-2 daily shows and some rebroadcasts of those shows and then work up to having a full 24/7 schedule of good content. I’ve also considered doing an annual compilation CD of LDS artists that don’t fit inside the box (for example, did you know that there are some really amazing LDS artists doing country music? Whether you like the style or not – we need to hear more of this diversity within the LDS market!. There are many ideas I’m thinking of as I try to figure out how to help good musicians – LDS Spiritual, LDS Secular, and other just plain good artists – find a voice, and an audience.

Help me make a bigger box. We get a lot more done when we work together. i encourage you to leave your suggestions and feedback.

A Bigger Box

Interview – Tristyn Elizabeth, a rising star in Austin

Deep in the heart of Texas is a town known for live music, cowboys, and the blues.  When I think of Austin, Texas, I really don’t think of pop music… until now.  Allow me to introduce you to Tristyn Elizabeth.  After a couple of years of paying her dues as a singer-songwriter at many of the open mic events in Austin, she has emerged from the studio with her first real studio effort, an EP entitled Kiss Me in the Rain.  Like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, she has used her time in the studio to transform herself from a singer-songwriter into a more polished pop artist, without abandoning her roots.  I actually know Tristyn, after being in her ward for a couple of years in Georgia.  I recently connected with 21-year-old Tristyn to hear her story about her development as an artist.

 

How did you get started in music?

My dad is a songwriter/producer type as well and he’d always be writing or playing or talking music all the time. That was a huge influence all my life. I remember when Britney Spears and N’sync and Backstreet boys were  huge, I’d blast it in the living room and sing and dance to it with my siblings and imagine growing up to be a singer. I started writing sometime in high school. It started when I would listen to songs on the radio and it didn’t fit how I felt. There wasn’t a song I could sing from my soul I guess, I was in high school and I was dramatic. So I started writing music on my guitar.  All the songs I wrote were kinda bad and embarrassing. Over time they got better with re-writes and new life experiences. I wrote better ones when I went off to college. Also, when I was in high school  my dad would need vocals for various projects and songs and I’d record on those. That’s basically where it started. Continue reading “Interview – Tristyn Elizabeth, a rising star in Austin”

Interview – Tristyn Elizabeth, a rising star in Austin

An Interview With Myself – Matt Mylroie

Matt MylroieUpon hearing rumors that I had been working hard to wrap up an album project for December release, I decided to sit down with myself for an interview. Here are all the facts for our loyal Linescratchers readers.

 

Does your album project have a general theme?

To me, these are guitar-driven songs about life. They are real, they are raw, and they are relevant.  That’s pretty much the theme of the project.

Continue reading “An Interview With Myself – Matt Mylroie”

An Interview With Myself – Matt Mylroie

Interview – Church Williams

I can’t tell you how unsurprised I was to learn that Church Williams was a musician. Sharp-looking guy, snappy dresser, coolest spectacles I’d seen in some time. Of course he’s a musician. The only thing that could have made me more certain was if he’d been an utter slob.

Well, no. I’m listening to his album Touch the Sun as I type this, preparing to send you on to the interview, and realizing that “slob” is not an option for Church.

My recommendation? Pop that link open and take a listen while you check out this interview.

Continue reading “Interview – Church Williams”

Interview – Church Williams