Top (Unexpected) Cities For Aspiring Musicians To Start A Career

Top (Unexpected) Cities For Aspiring Musicians To Start A Career

Written by Jaron Lewis

The top two places to go for a musical career – one would assume anyway – are Los Angeles and New York City. Both cities are large, have a never-ending list of venues to play at, and a place for talent scouts to go looking for the next big thing.

People come from afar to these two cities to make it big. But, they are not the only two cities where success can be found. In fact, there are several other cities, some of them tailored for a specific genre. Here are five of these cities where artists can make a start.

The capital of Utah has grown as a place where many major artists, such as Imagine Dragon and Neon Trees, made their initial success. Utah sometimes gets a bad rap for being a very conservative state (90% of the population is Mormon and always vote Republican), but their advocacy for the arts is very supportive.

Salt Lake City has become very progressive and the surrounding towns is filled with the important age 18 to 24 demographic that are in college, attractive to indie, folk, and alternative artists.

It’s here not just because it’s a hub for country music, obviously, but also that it has expanded into other genres as well. Nashville has dozens of music venues, museums, and record shops, giving itself the nickname, “Music City.”

The city’s culture (in a state that is, again, quite conservative) takes in all aspiring artists from many different types of genres. Along with country and rock, pop, jazz, gospel, and blues also fits in with Nashville’s melting pot.

3. Austin

The capital of Texas (note the trend of conservative states) is called the, “Live Music Capital of the World,” for the many live shows and music festivals it promotes almost every month of the year. The most notable is South By Southwest (SXSW), as well as Austin City Limits. Over 250 music venues are scattered throughout the city and have been the opening base for legends such as Stevie Ray Vaughn and Willie Nelson.

The city was the setting for the recent film release, Song to Song, starring Ryan Gosling (fresh off the musical film La La Land), Michael Fassbender, Rooney Mara, and Natalie Portman.

4. Seattle

It is, of course, where 90’s grunge music came about in Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, and Hole. However, the music didn’t die once that era ended. It still has the strong music vibe for all rock genres and is a place where the aspiring artist right across the border in Canada will go to for a breakthrough gig.

Jazz has also been historically big here thanks to Ray Charles and Quincy Jones getting their careers beginning here as well. The city is also the birthplace of arguably the greatest guitar player ever: Jimi Hendrix.

Staying in the Northwest, Oregon has a diverse selection of genres for music lovers to choose from in their record shops, clubs, and music festivals.

(Seattle connection: Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love met at the city’s now-demolished Satyricon Club, a place for Western punk rockers to play.) The New York Times and The Guardian have reviewed the city for its wildly successful status as a music hub, and, more recently, has been the starting point for Grammy-winning artist, Esperanza Spalding.

Stay Away From LA Or New York

Los Angeles and New York City are filled with so many artists, that it seems to be impossible to stick out. These other cities are smaller and give more exposure to any aspiring artist to succeed. Some of this may come as unexpected, but they are just as valuable as the two leading places where dreams are fulfilled and a star is born.



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