When I'm driving home from work listening to the radio I sometimes wonder, How do these radio programmers know what new music is out there? I hear the constant streaming of Top 40 hits, but where are the underground singer-songwriters? Where can radio and music lovers find the new IT group or artist that is going to blow up? Well I found the answer and I have three words for you... the Sunset Sessions.
For over 16 years, the sessions have opened their doors to new and upcoming artists, and you won't believe the list of alumni: Grammy winners Jason Mraz, Colbie Caillat, The Zac Brown Band, The Black Keys, and Fun., just to name a few, and did I mention they are all Grammy winners?
Michele Clark, who founded the Sunset Sessions, wanted to create an event that would bring together music supervisors, radio programmers, music managers, all in one place to discover artists and bands no one else is playing.
This past weekend I got to spend some time in San Francisco with some of music's most talked about new artists and groups including the much buzzed about, AlphRev and Saints of Valory. When I arrived at the Grand Hyatt Hotel right in the center of downtown you could feel the energy of the musicians as you stepped into the many rooms and stages to watch the various artists. Though they were all music industry professionals there on business, at the end of the day they are all music lovers in search of new music.
The Parlotones, the multi-platinum selling Johannesburg-bred quartet, who has shared the stage with bands like Coldplay, say that the event has "a cool vibe, everyone's music lovers and meeting each other so it's just a cool vibe." Kansas born rock band, Gooding, who were at the sessions for the first time, said "one of the things that makes it very special is the quality of not only just talent, but the people ... there's just a lot of passion here."
The opportunity is very different than other music industry events as rock and roll songstress, Anna Rose, says "it's rare, you don't get to sit in front of people like this and play ... especially for an independent musician like myself." Country spitfire Emily Bell says that the music professionals "really accept all these up and coming artists with open arms."
The Sunset Sessions have also gathered artists all over the world to come and showcase their music including Sweden's Anna Bergendahl, who performed for the first time in the US during the sessions, Keith Harkin from Ireland, Chris Assaad from Canada, and they even went to the island of Hawaii to bring singer songwriter Anuhea to join the fun; throughout her career she has jammed with the likes of Bruno Mars and Ziggy Marley.
I wasn't sure what to expect but after a full weekend of new music, I was refreshed and cannot wait to see where this year takes all of these new and amazing artists.
To see what other up and coming artists like Faulkner, Savannah Philyaw, and Fernando Perdomo, had to say about the Sunset Sessions and their performances watch the video above and follow @sunsetsessions on Twitter or go to sunsetsessions.org for more details on the next Sunset Sessions in Carlsbad, California.