Judging from the success of Barbadian superstar Rihanna, there is a wealth of talent on these shores.?? To this end, Invest Barbados will lead a delegation comprising six local acts, Kite, Nexcyx, Threads of Scarlet, Philip 7, Wesu and Indrani, to showcase their talent at the Southwest (SXSW) Conferences & Festivals, in Austin, Texas, from Monday, March 14 to Friday, March 18.
In an interview with the Barbados Government Information Service, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Invest Barbados, Wayne Kirton spoke about what the Barbados delegation was planning for the conference.??
"What we are doing is performing in two showcase events. ??One, will be a night event lasting for three hours, from 7:00 to 10:00 pm on Wednesday, March 16.???? The other, is a day event [on Friday, March 18] at the convention centre between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.?? We have specifically invited all of the international press agents, talent scouts, all of the artistes and label managers attending SXSW and local media, as well.?? We have actually secured some interviews and performances on Fox Television and with other l [media] as well.????
"Then we have a trade show booth for four days from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; and every hour in the booth we will do a 15 min live acoustic performance, featuring?? two or three members from each band. So, it’s quite a lot of exposure for these 20 odd musicians who are going to be over there during that period of time," Mr. Kirton said.??
The CEO of Invest Barbados maintained that this will be an opportunity of a life time for the acts involved,?? since thousands are expected to "flock" to the festival.
"SXSW is the biggest music, film and interactive conference in North America. This year they expect probably 150,000 people and anybody who knows anything about the music industry will be there. It is a learning opportunity for all of the artistes, because they get to do one on one interviews with experts in the industry; they get to hear panel discussions about the latest in [the music industry] and it is a networking opportunity. So it’s a great avenue to expose the musical talent that we have in Barbados to all of those people who are going to be coming there anyhow, as opposed to trying to set up [individual] appointments and shows," he explained.??
This is the second year that Invest Barbados has taken a delegation to SXSW.?? Kite and Nexcyx had the opportunity to be a part of the Conference last year and on their return to the festival, will be a part of the official showcase on Friday, March 18, where each band will perform in 40 minute sets.??
The CEO stated that last year was the "trial run", so they could be better prepared, this time around, by having hours of rehearsals to take a professional show to the conference.
Lead singer of the band Nexcyx, Mahalia Phillips, expressed her gratitude to be a part of the Barbados delegation for the second time. She was of the view that the conference was extremely important for artistes to grow musically and also to learn about the business side of the industry.????
"There are so many musicians there and so many people who are in the music industry …?? There are record labels and publishers, and there is a chance that you may be seen by somebody [ in the industry] and it is a very good chance that you may be picked up by a label or a booking agent.?? So many bands that we know well have passed through there, so you have the same chance as they did playing for people there.?? Even if you are just playing on the side of the road, it’s likely that someone may see you and take you under their wing.
"I think it’s important that we had the opportunity to go again because we had the initial experience, so this time around we can better coordinate how we are going to do it and what we are going to do and how we are going to maximise the experience," she added.????????
??So, as the local acts get their opportunity to perform in front of an expected 150,000 people, it is hoped that such exposure will lead to significant benefits and pave the way for the success of more local acts in the international market.