By Sean Willett
There is something special about local music. It has the ability to foster a sense of community among artists and fans, creating an environment where newcomers and veterans alike are welcomed, and bold new ideas are able to take root and thrive. However, the independent nature of local music can hold this community back, making it difficult for music fans to discover up-and-coming talent.
A new website, Musicyyc.ca, is hoping to make this disadvantage a thing of the past. By bringing together different people and genres that make up Calgary’s music scene into one location, they have done the impossible — they have made local music accessible.
“We wanted to promote local talent and local music in every genre,” says Colleen Krueger, one of the founders of Music YYC. The site features artist bios, playlists and music videos for over 40 artists, with more added as the site grows. From bluegrass outfits like The Bitterweed Draw to electronic solo artists like Krystle Love B, the blossoming website already features a wide variety of local musicians.
The diversity of the website will make the task of finding local bands that fit certain musical tastes much easier for fans, allowing people to discover more of their favorite genres while giving them a chance to try something new. A randomized playlist on the website’s front page offers a convenient sampling of the different talent hosted by Music YYC.
The site will also be a boon for bands, exposing their music to new audiences that might have never discovered it otherwise. Self-promotion is often difficult for independent artists, who lack the money and resources that come with bigger labels. With their music in an easy-to-access central location, local artists now have access to a new channel for building their following.
In addition to the site, there will also be an a blog devoted to showcasing local talent. Entitled The Common Room, the blog will feature videos of musicians playing short acoustic sets accompanied by audio recordings of interviews. The filming will be done exclusively in Commonwealth Bar during the day, when it is closed to the public.
The first artist showcased on this blog will be University of Calgary student Kaleem Khan, who plays under the stage name Baleen. Since Khan relies mostly on acoustic guitar to produce his music, performing an acoustic set was not difficult for the experimental-folk musician. However, the cameras were a new experience entirely.
“It was really exciting to be a part of something like this,” explains Khan. “But it was a different experience — I’m not used to having cameras on me.”
The video will be posted on the website in the next few weeks, with more artists coming in the months that follow. With this additional content, Music YYC will become an even more important tool for both fans and artists. Khan himself is eager to see the final result.
“I think what was really cool about it is that I don’t know what to expect. I am the first artist to be showcased, so I’m really excited to see what comes out of it.”