As the coronavirus' impact grows and shifts daily -- and continues changing how artists and musicians create in its wake -- The House of Songs in Bentonville is finding ways to move forward in supporting artists and generating content. The video here, just released by The House of Songs, outlines some of the steps the nonprofit organization is taking to maintain its vision of connecting artists around the world.
"I think it's important to stay adaptable to changing situations, in the spirit of growth and understanding," says Evan Alvarado, the new manager of the Bentonville house. "Stay healthy, love one another, and stay creative."
Alvarado's background in music and in filmmaking -- as part of the Fayetteville band The Irie Lions, and with his video business AENIMATE MEDIA PRODUCTIONS LLC -- crossed paths with The House of Songs several times before he joined the team full time. Now he's part of the crew looking to take The House of Songs to new heights, in spite of a pandemic. Here, he answers a few questions exclusively for What's Up!:
Q. Tell me a little about how you got involved with The House of Songs.
A. Soon after starting my video business AENIMATE MEDIA PRODUCTIONS LLC in late 2017, I attended a "Young Professionals" summit in mid-2018 at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville. At the event, I ended up meeting The House of Songs founder Troy Campbell, who was a panel speaker there. He gave me a shot at doing some filming and editing at a music showcase they were putting on at Meteor Guitar Gallery in Bentonville. After that first gig, I continued to work with them for a couple of years, documenting their songwriter summits and other programs. Recently, I was offered the position of Northwest Arkansas manager, as the previous manager, Jamie Lou Brolund, had decided to pursue her band fully.
Q. As the new manager, what is the vision you have for work that needs to be done through the House? As a local musician prior to joining The House of Songs, and a videographer, I'm sure you have a unique perspective of what the Northwest Arkansas music community needs and how the organization can be a resource to help fill those gaps.
A. For The House of Songs, I am diving deeper into our local scene by reaching out to more artists, creatives and musicians. I hope to be a catalyst in bringing people together within this scene, fostering new connections as well as increasing the output of song creation in this area. Our goal is to build a tight-knit community of supportive artists that help each other create better.
Other than more quality music videos, this area needs a better infrastructure for music business education. In my opinion, creating new opportunities for our artists is best served if they are also equipped with the proper tools to succeed. Obviously, The House of Songs is a crucial regional force in bringing people together, as well as providing educational value that will benefit Northwest Arkansas artists.
Q. Tell me about some of the work House of Songs is continuing to do while "locked down, but not shut down." What do you want the public to know about how you're helping artists stay connected and get back to work?
A. Since the world closed down due to covid-19, we have shifted our artist programs to virtual co-write sessions. Instead of artists meeting in person to write songs together, or having artists come stay at The House of Songs in Bentonville, we are curating pairings between local and international artists through video calls. The Associated Press reported on one such co-write between Fayetteville's Sarah Loehten and the Swedish artist Meadows. Artists rushed into livestreaming to keep sharing their work with audiences around the world. The House of Songs is taking local artists to the next level with tools to stay competitive with the support of a recent grant from the Northwest Arkansas Council.
Q. It looks like this thing will be around longer than we'd hoped. What are the next steps House of Songs is taking in continuing to adapt to an ever-changing situation during covid-19? And how does the organization's recent grant from the Northwest Arkansas Council further your abilities to help artists?
A. The House of Songs will continue its remote #Player2Player co-writing program, so local artists can stay connected during these isolation times by writing songs together. Thanks to that recent grant, our program provides artists more freedom in their content creation from home. This way, they can get their art out to the world easier, and in better quality, than what they would normally be able to do.
Stay in touch and up-to-date with The House of Songs at thehouseofsongs.org