Author

About the Author
Jana Lee Macheca, a.k.a, Lady Jaye, is a writer, professional music photographer and the owner of First Angel Media, which focuses on bringing the emotion of music to it's fans through articles and photos. The company has local, national, and international aspects. Working as editor and photographer for Chimera Magazine, a fast growing online publication that focuses on National and regional names, she is able to bring attention to our area bands in a unique way. Whether working with bands as a PR rep, heading up groups designed to help Pittsburgh's local music scene, or any other of the many projects she's involved in, she tries to bring a positive and passionate approach to the Pittsburgh Music Scene.

Music is passion to us all

As I write this it is very late at night. I just finished my outline for bands and other things I want to tell you about but I finished my tasks and checked out Facebook, and then I had to write. There’s this drummer I know, really a down to earth kind of guy, and he doesn’t post anything but memes really. Musician memes to be exact. I have never seen anyone be so poignant and touching without saying a word. Today I saw one about being a musician and being passionate about it. I made me start thinking about how passionate all of you are…and do you even know it?

See, I’m a people watcher as well as having a pretty large amount of schooling in psychology and mental health. I don’t just watch, I kind of study the people around me. It’s why I love live shows. The last show I went to was Saturday, in this nice little bar not far from my house. The crowd is a mix of family, friends, fans, strangers, and regulars. It gets pretty interesting. At the start of the night everyone is in their little bubble – groups formed of those who know each other well and they really don’t mingle. The regulars just wanted a beer and good food. Some of them had just gotten off work and this was a stop along their way. It was packed though, that’s for sure. A quick look around and I see people who are rather uncomfortable as checklists are gone over for the show and people in the crowd try to decide if they want to stay, some thinking they want to leave before that weird kid with the long hair gets up there – (Is that face paint?? Ugh, and that one in the hoodie has on eyeliner.) Other musicians who are part of the crowd feel anxious for those about to take the stage. Especially the one in the hoodie, he’s been sick with a fever of over 100 degrees the last few days and they are worried for him. I get my camera ready and scan the crowd waiting for the magic I know is going to appear. I watch it happen every time and never get sick of it.

The band takes the stage and some people prepare to leave. Then those first chords are struck… and so are they. Even out of the corner of my eye the reaction in the crowd makes me smile to myself. People ask all the time why I always look so happy… How can I not? I watch these people who have never heard this band pull out money to pay their tab but when the music starts, they sit back down. They look to the stage with surprise or they close their eyes. Some of them blink a few times and seem to look inward at their own reaction. All of them are touched. As the night goes on those little closed off groups begin to loosen and by the end of the night you don’t know who belongs with who. People chatting about this being the first show or one of five hundred, discovering new music, new musicians, new friends are made, new fans are found.

Do you know that you do this? I don’t care if you are a musician or not….do you know the passion for music inside of you? Some people like books, some like movies…there is not a person alive who doesn’t like some type of music. It’s inside of us.

If you are a musician, think about it. You tap into a part of yourself that not everyone has. It’s a gift. At times you think it’s a curse because it is so much a part of you that you live and breathe it above all else…but that…that is a passion burning in you that no one else can touch. You live with a flame inside of you that cannot be fed in any way other than you giving in to it and becoming even better at translating it’s desire. You think of music so much. You don’t just make music, music makes you who you are. If you are not a musician, you are a fan of music. You grew up making sounds that you liked. Hitting things to create a beat, stopping in wonder at the loud noises at parades, festivals. Maybe you listen to water and nature, but that is a rhythm all it’s own. We like different types of music, but we all like music. For people who don’t play, live music is the closest they get to the fire that burns so many. A friend once told me he mourned “The Death of the Rock Star” and I think we all do. Singing in the shower isn’t singing to ourselves. Our mind wanders and takes us onto a stage. We channel our inner rock star….even if the neighbors are using earplugs because we can’t sing a single note well. The magic is in the energy from that flame inside these men and women and the talent they have to connect us all. Flame or not, we whistle, hum, sing. Tap pencils in cubicles, feet in elevators. Our very hearts beat in time with some special cosmic beat. Music let’s us feel the connection. We are freed and connected because there are others who share our emotions and our needs. This isn’t just life, this is nourishment for our souls and I want you to start watching people yourself. They move with a rhythm. Headphones aren’t put on to stare ahead motionless and unblinking. Eyes close, smiles begin, heads move. Factory workers pick up the pace and mailmen get a spring in their step.

Music is powerful. It is inspiring. I think our souls were made with music in mind and at the end of this journey we are greeted by sounds and tones and beats that we have tried to mimic in life. These will resonate within us, and this will be Heaven. Until then, live music is the closest we will get. Passion is within us, and it is stirred by those first chords that reach into us and wake us from every day slumber. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to. Find some bands that interest you and be part of the crowd touched by their energy and warmed by their flame. I’m not here just because the music scene needs you….I know how bad you need the music scene. Get out. Have fun. Make memories. Above all – LIVE.

Let’s begin at the beginning

Who remembers Kindergarten?? Let’s see those hands. Criss-Cross-Applesauce to sit down, Duck Duck Goose (seriously, though, who came up with that !?!) Yep, that’s what we usually remember. That and any tadpoles we watched turn into frogs and such. However, that’s not ALL we remember. Those are our memories but our actions show the world what we learned. We are brought into this world kicking and screaming, totally selfish, but also totally dependent on others. Feed us NOW, change us NOW, that’s MY toy. Of course, parents never really allow that. Yes, the basic needs are met immediately but that ego? The selfish part of our brains that doesn’t want to share? Nope. We are taught from the time we have some understanding that those things must go. Kindergarten is normally our first experience playing in large groups, learning to be silent, attempting to make friends. We are given examples of how to act but we also had other kids going through this with us at the same time. Kindergarten is usually held away from the rest of the school, an isolated bunch really, but as we grow we are put into bigger systems, with basically the same rules – just learning bigger ideas. Middle school happens and they start to change things again, move around the people you are used to. Your best friend is in another home room. You have to decide…do you sit down and shut up and stay apart because it’s new, or do you reach out and adapt to the change in your surroundings? I think some of you see where this is going.

“Forever ago” musicians were great celebrities. They have always lived this slightly off the beaten path type of life, always had stories surround them, too many parties, too much booze, too many women, but always good people to their fans. Always appreciating their social status, teaming up with newcomers to help them in the business. Trying new things and adapting. Somewhere along the line, they went off track. The music became more wild and energetic, persona’s were born to reflect that and the lifestyles became so extravagant that some of them just…well…died. Literally. Suddenly they saw the real face behind the musicians – what I call Beautiful Madness. The most creative artists of any type are touched with madness, tempers, confusing thoughts that wouldn’t make sense to so many. My temperamental musicians is how I think of them. So angry but so in need of love and understanding. (Cue Sarah McGlaughlin “In the Arms of an Angel”….Just saying..) But a funny thing happened when this side was revealed – the fans understood! They finally got why they felt so caught up in the music because they had been there too at times in their lives! But then came the ego’s again, those things we were taught from Kindergarten, if not before, to let go of. A generation of music was born again, this time still wanting THEIR TOY. Ridiculous clauses were put into contracts for all green rooms to have a large bowl of only blue M&M’s, 1003 yellow and pink tipped roses and someone to fan them as they were fed grapes. The egos went unchecked, the demands and lifestyles became so ludicrous that one day someone looked at the demands and said…No. Of course, by this point they were lip synching to songs to save their voice (though I don’t know what they were saving it for), and they worried more about dance routines in undergarments than lyrics. And this is what the nation saw. An entire generation of music that somehow forgot what we were taught in our formative years. Suddenly music was a joke. One song-writer wrote for country, metal, and pop bands, it was all watered down to try to save the image. Poor promotions in the way of “Win this music battle and we will make you a star” were televised. Do you know I get people from other countries contacting me because the world thinks that in America as long as you don’t suck horribly they will make a star out of you? I can’t convince them otherwise. Now there is so much mechanical engineering that you can sell millions of records and not know how to carry a tune. “I’m a musician on stage but not in real life” is being sold to the entire world!!

So, what can little old me do, right? I mean, we are just one city. Just a few hundred bands in the world. Just a handful of promoters and venues.

Well, we don’t have to change the whole world. We just have to light a fire under our own butt !! Let’s get this down to basics and start it over. Remember, you were taught to share (the spotlight), you had to adapt to the new rules (promoting others, giving credit to others, building up others, changing the way you’ve been doing things). I really am not certain when this will be published but I was inspired to write this today. I issued a “challenge” of sorts to the music community to share other bands pages for likes on Facebook and I was NOT disappointed. Some simply shared one or two. Others spent their free time posting pages every few hours, more stated they plan on making this a regular thing and one guy even listed 30 bands in one post !!

I told you there was a movement in this city. I told you it is the simple things like finding a station playing local music, sharing bands. I’ll tell you another thing – this isn’t over. Not by a long shot. We are going to change this music scene and we are going to let the public have their Beautiful Madness minus throwing egos around. They crave what you can give them, not perfection but feeling. You need them to hear you. Guess what…sharing your fans is ok. Sharing that spotlight is awesome! You talk about others who in turn talk about you….and we watch the tadpoles turn into fully developed musicians in a high functioning music community. We meet new friends, new contacts, and we adapt…..because when you hit it big you will be FORCED to adapt. So start now. Stop telling everyone how you hope one day you might get seen and be a gleam in the eye of a national act, and begin grooming yourself for when YOU are that act. If you have decided you’re happy being Pittsburgh Famous, that’s fine, but support the one’s getting started. Show them the monkey bars you already climbed and give them tips on getting to the top. Like it or not, this is happening. If you are mired in the old ways of thinking, if you are guarded and jaded….look at your kids. What lessons are you wanting them to learn? And why aren’t you acting the way you want them to? This doesn’t begin with the next generation of music. It began the day you were born with the ability to make music. The moment you heard those first chords and were hooked. The things you need to make this scene great are already inside of you – get back to basics isn’t just an idea. It’s the thing this scene needs the most. Beautiful Madness and a love for each other will bring this whole city to a new level.

Listen to the Radio to help Support the Local Scene!

In my last article I talked about the music scene, the movements to help it grow, the positive change……now here’s something you can do to help. Listen to stations that play local music! Bands don’t want air time so they can hear themselves on the radio, the station doesn’t call them up and tell them their song is about to play so they can drop everything they are doing and run to the radio to brag about “This is me!!”. What’s important about getting played is getting more people to hear them and decided that the song (or songs) are good enough that they want to hear them live. When you listen to a national station, hey, that’s great. But you’ll hear a lot of the same stuff on all the stations that everyone else in the world is listening to. Listening to a radio station that plays your local music is something no one outside your area is going to hear – along with the bonus of being able to tell everyone how you’ve been listening to them for years before anyone else when they do go national. The Pennsylvania Rock Show is an example of a station getting these artists out there to you. Am I the only one who likes to hear interviews with my favorite bands? You learn about the people behind the music, do you like them? Hate them? Who knows if you never heard them talk. Then you get to head out to their show and let them know you heard their podcast, or their song on the radio. That shows them you really are being supportive! Are you aware that many of the local DJ’s for Adrenaline 101 are in local bands? They know how important it is to play local music so you hear the big national bands, the big local bands, and some of the lesser known locals, too. These DJ’s are often doing this for the love of music and to support local musicians, there is not that much money in local or internet radio, if any. So you’re not hearing what they are being paid to say, you are getting a DJ who honestly loves to do their job. That’s not fake enthusiasm, that’s for real!

Is it really this simple? You can support your local music scene by just listening to the radio while you drive to work, do dishes, pay your bills online? YES!! In fact, a new addition to AK Music Scene is a constant stream of unsigned tracks from local artists that you can tune into any time you want! Let them know you appreciate it by getting those listening hours in! Any time you tune in to the music scene you are helping to support it. Maybe you like a song, so you request it, and now that band is getting recognition for their hard work and the radio wants to play more of their stuff, in turn getting them more exposure…..yeah, you’ve heard that word. It’s almost a dirt word in the music industry but THIS is the right kind of exposure that you don’t have to pay for. Well, unless you like the band enough to check them out and buy their CD’s! Here’s a list of some of the stations I know of, feel free to add to it and get it out there! Let’s tune in and turn on to the local scene you didn’t know you needed so bad!

https://www.buildthescene.com/radio/
(Constant live stream of unsigned local tracks)

http://www.adrenaline101radio.com/
(Written reviews, Interviews, Dj’s, national and local music. Check out the local DJ’s to get your local music fix)

http://indiemusicbus.com/
(All kinds of stuff related to local music)

http://podcastyourscene.com/
(Interviews, unsigned music, and more with local musicians and those in the music scene)

http://megarockradio.net/
(Accepts unsigned music for their station’s rotation)

http://www.977rocks.com/grass-roots-2/
(97.7FM The Rock Station’s show about the local music scene! These guys even broadcast other people who do radio shows to help them get more attention and strengthen the scene)

http://dve.iheart.com/
http://1059thex.iheart.com/
(Can’t forget our local station – DVE’s Coffee House &  The X’s local listen)

REMEMBER THAT SUPPORTING MUSIC IS AS EASY AS 1,2,3 – LISTEN, REQUEST, ATTEND THE LIVE STUFF TOO!!

 

Icons made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com is licensed by CC 3.0 BY

 

Please allow me to introduce myself…..

Please allow me to introduce myself……

I’m the owner of First Angel Media and while I’m sure you want to know more about that, I’d rather tell you about something far more important – The Pittsburgh Music Scene. If you’ve heard my interview then you know I’ve been in music scene’s since I was 14. I’d always been under the impression that Pittsburgh was THE place for music. If you played in Pittsburgh, well that was just an honor. I saw some of it first hand at concerts and I always pictured it being the center for a love of music. Recently I came out of hiding, so to speak, and back to my music addiction. I began going to see live music again….and it didn’t let me down. I sat in the back of the bar, out of the way, letting the music flow over me. The electric sounds finding that place deep inside and bringing me back to life. The bass making my heart keep time, the beat of the drums making me move slightly in time. The guitars can bring out bliss and live vocals, well, there is nothing like live vocals. A single person standing on stage using words to seduce, to kill, no digital mix – the true talent searching your soul. And then there are those moments. Those moments when the music hits a sweet spot and you can literally FEEL these musicians feeding their very being into it. I was once again in love, enraptured, my addiction stronger than ever. Music has never let me down – but the crowds did. Over and over I paid my small fee to enter a venue and watch an amazing on stage performance to a “crowd” of five to fifteen people. For those of you not familiar with what I mean, I’ll gloss over it a bit. That means that a sound person was hired, Lights were run automatically or a light tech ran them, and approximately four people cleared their entire night, practiced for weeks and gave their very soul into playing….for five people.

I couldn’t believe it. When I left the scene you could count on a crowded house for pretty much any venue, any band. So, being me, I searched for the cause. Oh man did I find them. Yes, them. So much more than one cause. First and foremost – people believed the scene to be “dead” but I’m here to tell you, the further down the rabbit hole you go, the more you see it was just asleep for a little while…and it’s had it’s coffee mixed with Red Bull to wake it up! Bands always come and go, that’s the nature of the beast, you don’t give up on music just because one band you liked stopped playing. Music is LIFE. It is needed, it is necessary and it is here for eternity. When this world is no more, eaten by a black hole, burnt to ashes by the sun’s explosion, or a vast barren landscape due to our own destruction of ourselves….the very stars themselves will make a noise in space, that noise will travel through galaxies, and the gods will sit up and listen to even that sweet sound. This scene is not dead, it’s the person on the other side of the bar that you notice and wonder about. That mysterious stranger you want to explore. So come find it. The ego’s are dying, there is so much love and support between musicians that there is an actual movement to bring back what belongs not just to the music community but to everyone else as well. Some venue owners are finding new ways to help bring in crowds because they remember the high sales on live music nights and want to see that prosperity again. Musicians who were ready to give up have seen this, and with new flames in their hearts are once again getting out there to show their talent. Oh the things I will tell you in our time together on this site…this scene is alive, vibrant, driven and sexy.

It’s time. The movement has started and it will not be stopped. I stand before you as the voice of one person in this scene, but behind me are thousands of others. They are the musicians who move you, the promoters who help you feed your addiction, the event planners who put on the shows you will talk about for weeks, the radio hosts and DJ’s who introduce you to the local music you might miss otherwise…and there are even more. Join us in this change, this new world we are creating. We are not content to wait for the gods to listen to the stars… We will force them to sit up and listen to us now, and revel in what is created here.

Lady Jaye

#PittsburghMusic