AMEA and Josh Glenn were both finalists in the Riffs and Reels music video showcase, a partnership between SASG and Santikos Entertainment Group. Much thanks to both for their positive contribution to our home-grown musical identity.
Texas Public Radio is giving San Antonio music some much-needed love, and is set to give it a whole lot more. Via Cultural & Community Engagement director, Nathan Cone, NPR appears to be giving local musicians who submitted Tiny Desk entries, but didn’t make the final cut, the next best thing.
Click to Watch: AMEA
Described as capturing “the diverse sounds of South Texas,” these ‘Back 40 Sessions’ are being released through the TPR YouTube channel, with additional content featured on the series’ hub page. At this time of writing, the playlist has four sessions: AMEA, Christine Su, The Dirty River Dixie Band, and The Josh Glenn Experiment; all four are San Antonio-based.
“They had a summer intern of the studio contact me and said they were reaching out to all the artists in the San Antonio area who submitted for the tiny desk concert earlier this year,” says one-man wonder Josh Glenn. Reportedly, they’ve reached out 35 artists so far.
Watch Now: Josh Glenn
The local TPR studio sits on the eighth floor of an unassuming building in the Medical Center, just off Wurzbach Road, sandwiched between layers of doctors’ dens. San Antonio soul favorite and alumna, AMEA, describes the physical space as “cozy” and “chill,” comparing it to Trinity’s KRTU studio. The process didn’t consume much of their time or energy either.
“We did the whole thing in 15 minutes,’ AMEA told CO LAB Magazine. “We just went through the set. The last, Vacay, took three takes because we got really excited. ”
Watch Now: Catherine Su
Josh Glenn: I got off the elevator and saw a door across the small hall with “Texas Public Radio” on it. This was the waiting room. Tiny, with a couple Public Radio posters on the wall. It reminded me of a dentist’s waiting room. I told the receptionist I had an appointment with Adriana, and I waited a couple minutes. Adriana led me through the doors of the waiting area, and the whole floor was just wide open. TPR occupies the entire 8th floor of this medical building. They had cubicle-like office spaces in the middle, with closed door rooms around the perimeter. There were maybe seven or eight folks working in their office space, on the phone or computer. I recognized Brent Boller because he’s a regular at the coffee shop I work at – I always listen to NPR and hear his voice on the radio. It was definitely an ‘aha’ moment. We did the audio recording in one of the perimeter closed rooms, then we moved to another perimeter closed room to do a short interview.
Besides providing an easy platform for the less promotion-savvy musicians, what does this TPR program provide in way of opportunity?
Watch Now: Dirty River Dixie Band
For AMEA, it means a professional lens of performance.
“If they’ve never seen me before, it gives a taste of how I perform, and that’s important. When I look up new artists, I look up their NPR Tiny Desk.”
While most would focus on the studio session as a means to reach new fans, AMEA sees it as a professional utility for those who might book or choose to work with her as an artist. It is a chance to gauge chemistry and performance expectations, both for musical collaborators and venue operators. While the selection for this studio series is most likely capped out, she encourages her fellow music-makers to not write off the possibilities.
“Don’t be discouraged if you don’t win the biggest competition,” she says. “NPR ended up reaching out to TPR, and that opportunity came almost a year after. Every bit as much as you put yourself into your music, you’ve got to put yourself out there.”
Josh Glenn has some advice to offer as well, albeit a bit more utilitarian in nature:
“Keep circling the building and you’ll eventually find a parking spot if your lucky. Just show up with a smile and own yourself. Be you.”