By The Alchemist
This reading of Alchemical Records content provides a multimedia experience for our audience while increasing the accessibility of our content to persons with hearing loss, low vision, dyslexia, physical or motor disabilities, or are on the autism spectrum.
As Alchemical Records prepares to close out 2021, the team would like to extend our thanks to the many artists and creatives who partnered with us to make this year one of our best yet. What we do is only possible with your support, and we consider ourselves fortunate to have you as part of our community. Despite another challenging year for the music industry and the world at large, DMV artists found innovative ways to channel their energy into inspiring others through music, reminding us that we are not alone in this journey. Below you will find a few of the team’s favorite moments of 2021 (out of many).
Daniel Warren Hill
There are lots of reasons why I’m fond of everything I’ve written about, and determining a special piece from 2021 was not a simple process. Each piece represents a complicated processing of emotion such as how I felt when I heard the new release and what circumstances the world was facing at the time, and what inspired the artist to share this story from this unique perspective. I think one of my favorite pieces is a recent one where I featured a local show with Flowerbomb, Brave, and Jasmine Gillison about the struggles facing touring artists (like Great Wide Nothing) and the adaptability that necessity dictates during these times.
I’m incredibly proud of all the work Andy Reed and I have accomplished to see 24 episodes of Alchemicast launched in 2021, and highlighted the music of the DMV to over 10,000 listeners. My favorite episodes of Alchemicast were with guests Sunstoney (Episode 17) and Ben DeHan (Episode 24). I honestly geek out pretty hard when guests share their vast knowledge of the independent and local scenes and name-drop so many incredible local talents. Sunstoney’s vast knowledge of the Richmond, Virginia community and Ben DeHan’s enthusiasm for the Baltimore, Maryland community make both of these artists a prime example of the interconnectedness Washington D.C. music scene shares with the surrounding region. Velu Ochoa (Episode 22) of D.C.-based Colombian folk-rock band DeSanguashington, and Arvind Venugopal (Episode 18) of electronic, Carnatic, and world music fusion band TVAMEVA are incredible examples, though just a sample, of the global context surrounding the music of the DMV.
What has been especially enriching this past year is seeing how D.C.’s artists have managed to thrive despite the pandemic and the lack of live music. It was incredibly gratifying to write about the DC Film Festival finding its way in a “new normal,” and learning about Jacob Green’s music introduced me to my new favorite local blues artist. Finally, it was so cool to chat a second time with Kemi Adegoroye, who finally released her album after she and I spoke in 2020 about that very thing; it was wonderful to “close the circle,” as it were.
Since joining Alchemical Records as editor in June of this year, it’s been refreshing to see how our content is becoming increasingly more representative of the vibrant DMV creative scene. During 2021, many artists have shared their inspiring stories through our platform, reminding us all of the life-changing power of music and community. Here are a few words of wisdom from these artists that I now carry with me.
“I pay attention to people other than myself.” – Akua Allrich
“Expectations are the enemy of creativity.” – Chris Grasso
“Don’t try to live according to what or who other people believe that you are.” –Rafael Pondé
“There is a special blessing on Black women. We are survivors, and we make a way.” – Shacara Rogers
This year was very special, as it was my first year writing for Alchemical Records. My first READ piece sticks out to me in particular, as it was my first professional article. I interviewed Christie Dashiell, a jazz singer and educator. Her passion and love for music was evident in our discussion, and that is something I have seen in every other interview since. I have learned and grown so much this year, but maybe the most important lesson is to carry that passion and love for what we do in every situation.
As 2021 comes to a close, I am thankful I found Alchemical Records early in the year and became their first intern and social media director. I am grateful for the people I have met, places I’ve been, and experiences I have gained. I cannot wait for what 2022 brings.
As a dancer who is also a musician, I feel that choreography for music videos is a trend that deserves a resurgence in the new year, which is why one of my favorite moments writing for Alchemical Records so far was getting introduced to Emily Henry’s work. I have been fortunate to cover the D.C.-based indie pop musician twice since I started with Alchemical Records in September, and both times, she delivered wonderful music videos that prominently featured dance artists. With a deadly tale of seduction set in a hotel room for “The Sound” or the more abstract yearning and basking in “I See The Light,” which features choreography by Robert Bowen Smith, Henry stands out with her collaborative approach to physio-musical storytelling. She’s definitely one of the coolest artists I have covered to date, and I am looking forward to whatever she releases next!
Working with Alchemical Records this year has been an absolute joy. I never considered the possibility of a job that combines everything I love: creative writing, music, helping others, making new friends, and working with a team of amazing people. Every GO post I’ve published has felt like a little piece of my heart going out to the artists who have so kindly trusted me to write about them and their music. I’ve loved discovering new bands, watching some consistent ones travel from place to place, and throwing in some puns along the way. It’s been so much fun writing for you all, and I can’t wait to see what 2022 has in store!
Emerging and established artists are encouraged to submit their releases to be featured in our publication for the first quarter of 2022.
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