Local musicians and innovation connect at Cre865 Talent Showcase

Local innovators and artists gather at Scruffy City Hall to perform music and explore the connection between music and entrepreneurship.

The local musical innovators of Knoxville gathered in Scruffy City Hall to explore the vibrant music scene in Knoxville for the Cre865 Talent Showcase and startup event on Thursday, Sept. 22.  

The performers at the showcase were Jonathan Sexton, Ben Gaines, Shayla McDaniel and Benji.

It was made clear at the beginning of the showcase that the lives of the entrepreneur and musician are not as different as they may seem. Musicians must market themselves and practice innovation in the same way entrepreneurs do.

The showcase was equally about the innovation and marketing that goes into music, as it was the music itself. Between each musical performance, the artists would discuss innovation and entrepreneurship within the local music industry. 

“There are no records anymore. Records are dead,” said local performer Jonathan Sexton, who serenaded the bar with his acoustic pop-rock sound, “Artists will have to change.”

Due to the change in the music business, artists have been forced to make themselves more noticeable through innovation and persistence. Each of the local artists that attended the showcased approached this problem in different ways. One of the ways showcased was Nathan Frey’s Closeup.FM service, which he described as the “AirBnB for concerts.”

Giving artists a platform to market themselves and an ability to gain fans is the only way to ensure that Knoxville’s music scene stays as lively as it is.

The audience seemed to be just as interested in the practice of marketing music as the music itself. It was truly a celebration of the Knoxville spirit to innovate.

The second artist to play on stage was Ben Gaines, a member of the local and relatively successful Three Star Revival band, who showcased some of his new music and discussed how, with great music and persistence, followers will come.

The next artist was described as a “scene first” kind of musician. The singer-songwriter, Shayla McDaniel, brought on cheers when she came on stage with a bright, enthusiastic face. She also brought the fun with her by giving a passionate blend of jazz and alternative rock. She may have been a young face, but her musical ability and talent truly brought life into the scene. Shayla’s new single is dropping Friday, Sept. 30, on her website.

The locals saw the true diversity in musical style when the final performer, Benji, came on stage. His style was a hard-hitting hip hop style with a bit of a techno twist. He was very loud and proud and literally shook the house with his unique brand of hip hop.

This showcase not only showed the musical talent in the local Knoxville area, but also the innovation in practice here. Each of the musicians had their own unique style and their own unique way to market themselves.

It is important that Knoxville continues to make these strides in innovation and continues to practice events such as this that allow the city’s rich culture to grow and become even stronger.

To stay updated on local music in Knoxville visit the Knoxville Music Warehouse.

Edited by Kaitlin Flippo and Katy Hill

Featured image by Alex Rolph