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Paid 2 Play: Exposure Never Pays The Bills

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The venue H.O.M.E. (Helping Our Music Evolve), based in Nashville, Tennessee, recently hosted Stephcynie’s livestream concert event this past Saturday evening. Tickets were made available online for attendees to purchase and enjoy the show from their homes, while supporting independent artists. The whole event was curated around the all to real theme of “exposure doesn’t pay artists’ bills”.

Upon arrival, we were extremely impressed as we were greeted with a temperature check, hand sanitizer, and a reminder to keep our masks on at all times. We were really fans of the precautions that were being enforced, as well as respected, by the limited physical audience.

Photo by @stargirlshoots

The night opened with a singer-songwriter styled round featuring four artists: Larysa, Kellie Bresch, It City, and Swrap. Unlike Nashville’s well-known country writer rounds, Paid 2 Play’s round highlighted a variety of the city’s talent beyond the Broadway scene.

First up to the mic was Larysa. Larysa had an incredibly warm and soulful voice, accompanied by her playing on an acoustic guitar. She definitely demonstrated blends of gospel and R&B influence. Her fiery red hair perfectly matched her pumps which made a bold statement. Many of her messages clearly came from the core, as she provided personal insight to each song she sang — giving them an additionally raw feeling.

Photo by @stargirlshoots

Secondary was Kellie Bresch. Being supported by an echoing electric guitar, her exterior gave us Billie Eilish vibes — primarily dressed in dark attire, complimented by a chain. Yet, her voice hit high notes in a very angelic manner. Her voice reminded us of a cross over between Miley Cyrus as a young adult and Avril Lavigne — like a sweet pop vibe with a hint of punk.

Photo by @stargirlshoots

Next up was It City. He had a sound that was a bit all over the place, but worked for him. Originally demonstrating a more twangy sound, strumming the guitar with distinct precision, he opened up about the influence disco music had on his sound which put two and two together as far as what you were hearing + the methods behind it. On top of these groovy tracks was his voice which, unexpectedly, reminded us a bit of Joe Jonas. Ending his performance, he performed a song called “All Shine, No Silver” which we considered the most memorable.

Photo by @stargirlshoots

Finally, Swrap steps up to the mic. His poetic flow over his brother’s peaceful keys created for an easy story-telling experience. Swrap clearly will paint pictures accompanying his stories in your mind, and mentioned he was frequently known as the “speak life guy” — which we found no surprise. When he spoke he preached practices of a positive mantra, yet his songs spoke greatly on powerful social messages and struggles he’s experienced during quarantine; such as living by his positive mantra.

Photo by @stargirlshoots

Following a quick transition by the production team, Stephcynie’s performance began. Introduced by thought provoking audio clips that set the tone as deep and retrospective, her voice came out booming and could be considered classic yet very pop. Her performance was extremely high energy, and supported by two background dancers and singers which complimented her voice very well. Something else that stood out to us about Stephcynie’s performance was her ability to flow over the beat, without missing a step, and returning to a full chorus where she’s really using her pipes! Her outfit and hair were show-stopping, and her uplifting messages encouraging audience members to follow their dreams and put their minds to their goals were so nice to hear. The overall experience of her set really reminded us of a Lizzo or Lady Gaga concert.

Photo by @stargirlshoots

Closing out the night was Abigail Rose. During her performance, she shared that the release of her EP Billion Dollar Questions has been one of the better things to happen this year and how excited she was to have an additional opportunity to perform the songs — she had released the EP closely to the beginning of quarantine, which certainly put a damper on performing live. That being said, Abigail has certainly been busy throughout the live-stream circuit, and this show was definitely a notable one! With the support of her band, a lovely married couple home she credits a majority of her career’s strong foundation to, she sang beautifully and was an excellent headliner for the event to highlight. Our favorite song she performed that evening was definitely Bob Dylan.

Photo by @stargirlshoots

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