The NAMM Experience
by Julie Perez
NAMM 2018 kicked off in Anaheim, California this past Thursday and I’m still feeling the residual exhaustion from the jam-packed adventure. NAMM is the convention that showcases the newest innovations in music, recording technology, stage and lighting products. It is a music lover’s wildest dream and I got to experience four entire days of it.
Admittedly, I was a bit nervous to attend the convention. Being that I am into the emotional side of the music scene, the technical aspect felt a bit intimidating. However, after spending four days at NAMM I can confidently state that the convention is for all types of music lovers (even the ones with zero musical talent). Unfortunately my adoration of everything musical does not come accompanied by a magnificent musical talent so imagine my frustration when I stood on the main floor of the convention center, surrounded by musical instruments, but unable to properly play any of them.
Okay, so my lack of musical talent definitely did not stop me from enjoying myself. I stumbled into the Blue Microphones booth and pretended to sing into one of their beautifully displayed microphones. I put on their headphones and softly whispered into the microphone, while people definitely stared. If I closed my eyes, I could almost pretend that my dream of being Britney Spears’s backup singer was becoming a reality. The fact that I’ve taken zero music classes didn’t stop me from walking into the Sterling by Music Man booth, picking up a guitar and pretending that Beyoncé had just picked me to be part of her all-female band. I even found time to make my way to the Ludwig booth and convince some guy to try to teach me how to play the drums.
I apologize to everyone who happened to be walking by; I was terrible.
Walking through NAMM, you are bound to come across some amazing talent. On my first day, while I was trying to make it to a panel, I stopped in my tracks when I heard Brittany Atterberry trying out a saxophone. She was playing “Isn’t She Lovely” and her talent radiated throughout the entire convention center. Then, while I continued to TRY to make it to the panel, I found myself distracted from the singer performing on the Yamaha stage in front of the Hilton. Her name was Olivia Millerschin and long story short; I never made it to my panel.
Olivia was the winner of The John Lennon Songwriting contest and two minutes into watching her on stage, I immediately understood why. Her voice is captivating and her storytelling was beautifully sweet. I found myself in front of another winner at the Arena Plaza Stage; Kate Brady. Kate Brady won the Guitar Center Singer-Songwriter content and the reason was obvious as soon as her set started. I was absolutely captivated by her voice and what was meant to be a two-minute break for my feet turned into me wishing her set was longer than the 15 minutes I was able to catch.
On my third day at NAMM I found myself back at the Arena Plaza Stage, completely unprepared for the performance I was about to witness. Alex Boyé is a British-American singer and actor; he is equal parts eccentric and talented. My favorite part about NAMM was watching a performance on one of the many stages and then seeing people, who were rushing to get somewhere, immediately stop when a performance caught their attention. Alex Boyé had the most people stop when he started performing; his music is full of life and his band performs with their hearts at the forefront.
I closed out my NAMM experience by dancing with strangers and watching Andy Grammer on the Yamaha stage. I don’t know what kind of cute rock I’ve been sleeping under, but how was this my first time properly listening to Andy Grammer?
Andy is a magical being on stage; he leads with flawless vocals and he is powerful with the energy that he performs with. I knew one of his songs and I still found myself absolutely captivated the entire time. He kicked off the concert with “Keep Your Head Up”, he got us dancing with “85”, vocally blew us away with “Grown Ass Man Child”, made us fall in love with “Fresh Eyes” and kept us wanting more with “Honey I’m Good”.
NAMM 2018 was a perfect combination of everything I love about music. I got to pretend to be a magical being with musical talent when I played with the musical instruments. I got to learn when I attended different panels. I made new friends when I got lost and forced my introverted-self to interact with my fellow music-lovers. I got to find new musicians to add to my playlists at every corner. My point? NAMM is perfect for anyone with a passion for music, from the technical to the emotional; NAMM is a dream for the passionate music nerd inside all of us.