When I (Ashley) first started playing open mic nights, they were called just that: an open mic night. Anyone could attend, and could perform anything, over the microphone. Occasionally you’d have someone tentatively adding performers’ names to a list, other times it would just be chaos. But everyone understood the open mic.
Today, as I wander Berlin, open mic nights aren’t quite the same, at least by name. You’ve got ‘open stage’, ‘jam nights’ or ‘singer-songwriter nights.’ There’s also the horribly corporate ‘Talent Showcase’ which has sneaked into common use.
Regardless of what you call them, I think we can all agree a few things:
- They’re a great night out
- They’re full of superb talent
- They’re gradually dying out
Open mics are often the only public performing time artists get – myself included. Not famous enough for gigs, not well-connected enough for fame, or not bothered enough to pursue anything more than a few songs a week.
The problem is this: as they die, the chances to hear great talent and have a great time become fewer and fewer. Three-song sets become one-song quickies. Pay to play becomes the norm.
And it’s all shit for upcoming talent.
This podcast is a small effort to rectify this problem. Every two weeks, you’ll hear an in-depth interview with a different artist, talking about their life, their passions, their inspiration and their tips on songwriting, singing, playing and life in general. All that stuff there used to be time for at open mics.
Don’t think of this podcast as a crusade to change the world (I’ve got other stuff to do, quite frankly). Equally don’t see it as a soapbox for artists (though there’s bound to be self-promotion), nor as an excuse to talk random nonsense (though that’s guaranteed too).
It’s a way to hear what those unheard or perhaps lesser known voices have to say about songwriting, about performing, about life on the road, and about their journey through this crazy world. Because while we love the Springsteens of the world, they’ve had enough coverage. (Though I feel I must hastily add that, if Springsteen ever wants to appear on this podcast, he’ll be right on. C’mon, I’m not a monster.)
This is about hearing from the unsung voices in a deep, meaningful way. It’s about getting behind people’s music (BPM, see?)
Every two weeks, you’ll get a new episode. It’s that simple. Stay tuned.
(And alright, I’ll concede – I guess, in this instance, you can call it a Talent Showcase.)
Background music on the podcast is supplied by my friend, record producer, mentor and musician, Hans Annellsson. Check out his music here. Thanks again Hans for all your help in this.
Artwork has been made by my other dear friend, Lotta Olsson. Check out some of the incredible work she does here.