By DALEY JENNINGS
The blossoming Fredericksburg music scene is somehow one of the city’s best-kept secrets despite hosting some of Virginia’s best up-and-coming artists. This could be due to a myriad of reasons, but talent and demand for such is not one of them.
Senior English major Britt Ingels first dipped her toes into the scene when her partner told her about UMW alumni band SoBadly, which is one of her favorite acts in Fredericksburg. She explained that she likes the music she hears in Fredericksburg because it is a lot less commercial than what she’s used to hearing.
“It feels more personal and heartfelt most of the time, not as manufactured as what’s on the radio,” said Ingels.
She believes a contributing factor that keeps the Fredericksburg scene from really exploding is the competition with the neighboring cities when it comes to venues and accessibility.
“We have very little [here], and being so close to DC, Richmond and NOVA etc., I think most local acts would prefer to just drive the extra hour than to scramble to find somewhere around here they can play.”
Despite the lack of traditional venues available to touring artists in Fredericksburg, bars and coffee shops are able to hold gigs that showcase the talent of Fredericksburg.
On Sept 19, The Bourbon Room hosted the “Hidden Sound Collective” which featured the artists Sinbad, 90wyse, King Jahsh and Kwallah tha God who has just released his latest album, “PAIN. PLEASURE. PROBLEMS.” which is available on the Hidden Sound Collective website as well as SoundCloud.
The show amassed a crowd of loyal followers of the performers, who hung onto each performers every word, even joining them in the designated stage area when prompted. The show showed how much the music scene in Fredericksburg was thriving from the support of its people, even if it is less notable than that of DC or Richmond.
Kwallah tha God had just as good of a time as his audience.
“It was breathtaking. I got to perform along with two of my favorite local artists and everyone showed hella love when I went. Exhilarating as hell,” he said.
He said he likes the music in Fredericksburg because of the community the music scene is built from.
“I love performing in the Fredericksburg underground scene. I feel like its nothing but love and support out here if you work hard and show people that you love what you do.”
Besides The Bourbon Room, another venue that has the potential to build Fredericksburg’s music scene is Katora Coffee on Caroline Street. Musician and Fredericksburg local, Danny Arslan, better known by his stage name “2wogirlsonecup,” which he assures has nothing to do with the infamous video, hopes to build Fredericksburg’s music scene by building its first commercial recording studio in Katora, where he first got his start performing.
“Construction actually started a few days ago, and I’m building a recording studio inside the Katora. I think we’re going to turn it into a real venue, so I’m really excited about that. That’s probably one of the bigger things I’m doing right now, is just opening a studio.”
This would be Fredericksburg’s first commercial recording studio, which Arslan believes would open up opportunities for a more stable and safer spot for younger music artists.
“I want somewhere safe where someone could teach you how to engineer, how to produce, vocals, like all this stuff. For me I’m just doing it because I like doing it and I think the community needs it.”
While he knows that an immediate pick up in traffic of the music scene here in Fredericksburg isn’t plausible, he has high hopes for the future of its popularity, knowing that the talent here will be able to keep it afloat.
“Maybe not now, maybe not five years, maybe ten years from now. And that’s why I think it’s important to build an infrastructure right now while we all have that advantage.”
When asked what he thought made the music scene and its artists special and noteworthy, he shared the same sentiment as his fellow Fredericksburg artist.
“It accepts all genres and people from all walks of life. Nothing matters besides the art someone makes. It doesn’t matter if you’re from outer space. If you’re a genuine person, people in Fredericksburg are going to f— with you (in a good way).”