Marina Albero photo by Daniel Sheehan.
It goes without saying that the pandemic has brought the live music industry to a screeching halt. Concert halls have been emptied, tour buses are sitting idle, and even the largest music festivals have shuttered their entrance gates. However, the venues that have suffered the most are those at the very core of the musical ecosystem: our local clubs—sacred spaces where audience members can pay a modest cover charge to hear live music any night of the week, where musicians can gather and exchange ideas over a drink, challenging one another to raise the bar and elevate their art form, where young up-and-comers can seek mentorship from seasoned professionals, where musicians and music lovers can find a sense of belonging and community. COVID-19 has forced some clubs to close their doors forever—most recently the Jazz Standard in New York—but most music clubs were already operating on razor-thin margins and facing a multitude of challenges before having to reckon with a global pandemic. The loss of Seattle’s beloved Tula’s in 2019 is still an open wound. Now more than ever, there is a sense of urgency about supporting our local musicians and preserving the local live music infrastructure that allows them to thrive.
The South Hudson Music Project (SHMP) was founded in 2018 to support the presentation of music at The Royal Room, a cherished cornerstone of the Seattle music scene. Just a few months ago, we successfully registered as a 501(c)(3) organization, allowing us to accept tax-deductible donations to support our mission: to develop, promote, and present innovative musical collaborations crossing boundaries of genre, culture, generation, and neighborhood in order to strengthen and engage our community. When the pandemic hit, many of us feared that The Royal Room would not survive. Thanks to the generous support of our community, and under the leadership of Executive Director Wayne Horvitz, the SHMP has kept live music alive at The Royal Room. Shortly after the onset of COVID-19, we partnered with Live Concerts Stream to present the Staycation Festival; we’ve since streamed over 50 performances live from The Royal Room stage, connecting local musicians in need of work with local audiences in need of the spiritual fulfilment that only live music can provide.
When we all emerge from the pandemic, and we’re once again able to experience the magic of live music in a physical space, SHMP will be the primary music presenter at The Royal Room, ensuring that live music will have a home in south Seattle and that local musicians will be compensated for their invaluable artistry. The Royal Room will provide the food, booze, and space, and SHMP will provide the music. However, we won’t be able to do it without the support of our community. On Sunday, January 24, we will present “Solos for a Brand New Day,” our first fundraising concert since registering as a 501(c)(3). The lineup will feature a multitude of Seattle treasures, and will represent the incredibly diverse community that calls The Royal Room home: Sera Cahoone, Ayesha Brooks, Marina Albero, Ahamefule J. Oluo, Alex Guy, Jeff Fielder, Sheridan Riley, J.R. Rhodes, Kathy Moore, Benjamin Hunter, Skerik, Robin Holcomb, James Falzone, Victoria Parker, Cristina Valdés, Reggie Garrett, Ray Larsen, and Sweeter Than the Day, among others. Tune in at 5:30pm on January 24. If you’d like to learn more about SHMP, or make a donation to our cause, you can do so at shmproject.org. We hope you’ll join us!
–WILLEM DE KOCH, BOARD PRESIDENT, SOUTH HUDSON MUSIC PROJECT
Tune in to “Solos For A Brand New Day” January 24, 5:30pm PST