TV changed the musical landscape tremendously by making music a visual experience and turned recording artists into superstars in some cases. In an time when the M in MTV has become obsolete due to the network no longer spinning music videos, there are more music videos than ever thanks to YOUTUBE. Visuals are still the most powerful way to sell a band no matter the genre. With the flux of music videos coming from this or that independent recording artist, where does the artist go to get recognition for their work if MTV's VMAs are all about celebrity and wardrobe malfunctions and KANYE WEST outbursts? JOWANNA LEWIS - the founder of the online radio station RADIO KSCR - is an entrepreneur who saw a need for this need for recognition and began hosting music video festivals involving screenings of music videos at vintage movie theaters. In 2016, LEWIS upped her game by hosting RADIO KSCR's MUSIC VIDEO AWARDS which celebrated the visual work of an intimidating number of bands and artists from around the world. Just as intimidating as the number of artists nominated were the categories themselves which included BEST HORROR MUSIC VIDEO and MOST LIKELY TO BE AN INDIE FILM. To check out the winners that year click here. A year and a half later, LEWIS has rebranded her ceremony the LA MUSIC VIDEO AWARDS. Bands and artists are able to enter their music video for consideration up until regular deadline of January 20, 2018 or the late deadline of January 31, 2018. Nominees will be announced on February 4, 2018 and the ceremony will be taking place at UNFRIENDLY STUDIOS on March 24, 2018. To promote the event, ROCKWIRED.COM will publish the official guide for the program featuring write ups on the nominees.
ROCKWIRED had a chance to speak with JOWANNA LEWIS of RADIO KSCR regarding the upcoming LA MUSIC VIDEO AWARDS and the inspiration for it. Here is how the interview went.
What inspired you to come up with the LA MUSIC VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS?
I had been doing music video festivals for years and a year and a half ago I did my first ever music video awards show. It was a one off event and I wasn't sure where I was going to take it from there but then I ended up talking to SKY- formerly of the band LESS LOVE and he was like "The award show was really fun! You should do it again!" His enhusiasm rubbed off on me so he and I started brainstorming and it kind of hit me that we should do a LA MUSIC VIDEO AWARDS.
Where will the LA MUSIC VIDEO AWARDS be held this year?
It's going to be held at UNFRIENDLY STUDIOS which is owned by MEL SANAZ and for people who were heavy into the metal scene from the late nineties to the early 2000's, MEL was huge into interviewing bands and stuff like that. She was somebody that I really looked up to when I first started podcasting. UNFRIENDLY STUDIOS is based here in LA and it's a really cool venue! It's super fun! She made this studio pretty much all inclusive because it has an area that is built like an auditorium. It's a space where people can come and do shows but it's also a full recording studio as well. I'm really excited to be having it there.
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And so far, how has the flow of submissions been?
They've been fantastic! When I first made the announcement about submissions I had a friend point out to me that it was th Holidays and I probably wasn't going to get that many submissions becasue of it. But I've not had a problem with getting submissions. It's been a really healthy dose of music from all around the world. I got really excited because the other day - I don't kow if you're following world politics - but there was a vote in Catalonia, Spain for independence and there is this metal band out in Catalonia who does these folk songs that they've gtrown up with and this band has become the rallying march for Catalonia's independence. That band actually submited and I just freaked out! I looked around me and was like "Does anybody have any idea how important this is to me right now?" It's so awesome! I've gotten tons of great submissions already. The submission process is still open. It doesn't end until the end of the month. I'm really excited by the stuff that we're already getting, but there is still a lot of space. There are categories that aren't even filled yet. I'm really excited to see what comes up.
The number of categories you have this awards season is truly baffling. It's a lot! I remember that from your previous awards show.
There are actually more categories this time. After having done the last awards show, I felt that there were other categories that we could've added. This year we've added BEST COUNTRY MUSIC VIDEO and BEST SPOKEN WORD MUSIC VIDEO. It was stuff like that that I thought should also be included in this. I'm really excited to see what comes up. I feel like a little kid! A part of me doesn't want to look at anything until it is time for me to look at everything, but I do find myself peaking at stuff every now and then. I'm not going to lie.
And what is it about music videos that has made you want to create an awards ceremony for the medium?
I remember being a kid and watching music videos on MTV when MTV played music videos. I would spend all summer watching music videos and recording them off of the TV and make some kind of compilation video onto a VHS tape. Now, in hindsight, it makes no sense but that was what we did. We woke up in the moring and we would turn on MTV and we would watch all of these music videos. I just loved the storytelling. I can remember a MICHAEL JACKSON video making it's debut and it would be an event. I remember when BLACK OR WHITE came out. It aired after THE SIMPSONS and that was funny because I was not allowed to watch THE SIMPSONS. It was one of those situations where my mom watched the show and she happened to watch the show on the absolute worst day and then she told me "You're not ever going to be able to watch this show!" In THE SIMPSONS episode preceding the BLACK OR WHITE video, MICHAEL JACKSON was a guest star and she let me watch that episode. I remember the music video for BLACK OR WHITE coming on right after that. This was a time when music videos were an event and it was cool. Things like that really meant something to me. I remember watching things like the MTV MUSIC VIDEO AWARDS and loving it. For me, music videos are just as important as the songs. There are times when I listen to song and it plays out like a music video in my mind anyway. I like seeing the stories that are told in these videos.
These days who needs MTV for videos when you have YOUTUBE.
Personally, I don't think that YOUTUBE would've been as popular with music if MTV and VH1 hadn't dropped the ball. If we were still able to turn on MTV and see good music videos, I don't think that we would be going to YOUTUBE. My thing with YOUTUBE is that I'll start watching and then I get distracted and the next thing you know I'm on some cat video and it's over. Now, because of these submissions, I get to look at them all in one place and to me that's super-amazing. Like I said, I'm peaking at what has been submitted and I'm ver excited by the videos that have come in. People have put a lot of energy and time into these videos and they should be recognized. My biggest issue with mainstream music videos is that when I watch them I get so depressed. Horribly depressed! I would try to figure out why. As a female, I don't look like any of the girls in these videos and being a black female we are typecast into these hip hop videos where all we're doing is shaking our butts and stuff like that. When you don't look like that, you're screwed. You just get sad. And now because of these submissions I'm seeing music videos that are anything but that. It's everything but that. It's because these are independent artists and there is so much storytelling going into it and they are really putting forth the effort. It's like "...if we're spending the money to make this video we can't just have some model shaking her ass on the video and thinking that we can get away with it. People are going to expect more from us." A lot of these videos are funded through KICKSTARTER campaigns and INDIE GOGO campaigns and people don't want to pay for that kind of thing. But people will pay and support powerful ideas and something with a story line.
What do you think this event has to offer music fans?
This event is two-fold. This is for the bands, the artists and producers to get the recognition that they deserve. But for the fans - they get invested in these videos as well. There are videos out there by independent artists that I watch over and over again just because I really like the video. I think this video can turn people on to the msuic videos that are out there and make them bigger fans of this independent music.
And can we expect the LA MUSIC VIDEO AWARDS to be an annual event?
Yes it will. This will an annual thing so this will be the first of what we hope will be many.
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