It's levels to putting on a carefully-curated showcase. It takes more than throwing a line-up together or picking a dope venue. A showcase has to have a sound, vibe and a story tailored for the ears of your audience, and Carolina Waves creator, Mir.I.am, hits them all.
What started as a radio show to help indie artists get their sound out, quickly transitioned to host and founder, Miriam Tolbert using her platform to host events and showcases throughout the North Carolina triangle (Raleigh,Durham,Chapel Hill) and highlight the emerging talent. In addition to her showcases, she hosts a weekly Sunday radio show that runs from 12pm-1pm on K 97.5, and also provides artist services including live music reviews on Facebook and brand consulting found on her website.
You can catch the waves Mir.I.am is bringing to A3C Friday, Oct. 7, and we got a chance to chat with the creator about the crucial points to ensure success, how to handle artist egos and how her personal music taste shines through her line-up.
How did your showcase come together for A3C?
As host/ founder of Carolina Waves - a radio show on k97.5 and a platform dedicated to helping indie artists, I host and curate many shows and events throughout NC. Once I found out that A3C accepted showcase proposals, it only made sense to for NC have its own showcase due to the overwhelming talent in the state, and the number of artists seeing Billboard success, like Tigo B, Luke Nasty, Colonel Loud, Da Baby, Swift and G Yamazawa to name a few.
What's something you pride yourself on most when it comes to how you managed to put this together?
The line-up. Being able to get all these amazing artists on one carefully curated Official A3C showcase was a feat. The Carolina Waves A3C Showcase will really expose to the world the movement that is taking place in NC. J. Cole, King Mez, and Rapsody are just the beginning.
What do you look for in rising artists to determine if they have that “it” factor?
Stage presence, confidence, off stage charisma/ personality, and how they are able to craft a song.
How do you feel about the title "curator" being used so freely in media and marketing today?
There is a difference between being a curator and someone who just throws line-ups/ playlists together. Being a curator is about doing what makes the most sense, and what's most cohesive. It's all about the music and vibes.
what are some of the things that someone putting on a showcase may overlook that are cruicial to the show's success?
The line-up order is almost as important as the line-up. It's almost like you're telling a story based on the order. Who opens and sets the tone/ energy? Who keeps the audience engaged in the middle, who closes with a bang that people will wait to see? Whose performance styles mesh? A lot goes into it.
to what extent does the showcase lineup reflect your personal taste?
Considering I love Boom-bap to trap and everything in between, the line-up reflects my musical taste pretty well, due to the range of subgenres used. There's something for everyone.
how do you handle the egos of artists/managers on the day of the show?
Keep calm. Be organized and answer and address any concerns. It's also important to demand respect and be respectful.
how will you gage the success of your showcases?
By a few things.. how the crowd reacts and enjoys the show. Are they still talking about it days and months later? Posting pictures/ videos on social media? On the logistics/technical side.. was sound okay? Did the show run smoothly? And of course attendance is important. No one wants an empty room.
How does building your personal brand translate to curating events?
Being a radio personality on K97.5, while hosting Carolina Waves Radio, which plays NC artists and as someone heavily involved in the Indie scene -- it only made sense to use my platforms and position to start curating events. It was very organic for my brand to transition because I enjoy creating and putting things together -- and I like things done with a certain level of professionalism and fun.
what's the main way you discover new music? Is it through a streaming service or through personal relationships with labels/managers/artists?
I'm surrounded by DJs (DJ Wade Banner/ Dellmatic, etc.) who send me music, and of course you've got the labels hitting you up, and I accept email submissions for K97.5. Other than that, Apple Music, Soundcloud and Spotify.
Breaking new music is a major part of A3C showcases. How do you shed a light on new artists without alienating your core fanbase?
My core fanbase is receptive and open to learning about and hearing new music as long as it's dope, so I make sure whatever I put before them has potential.
"Carolina Waves" is going down Friday, October 6th at 8 p.m. at TEN ATL. Catch this and all the other dope showcases we'll have at A3C '17! Grab your ticket ASAP and learn more about the line-up here.