Whether or Not You Won an LVMA…

On Sunday, the 17th annual Lehigh Valley Music Awards emanated from the Musikfest Café, located on the third floor of the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks. Of the many winners on Sunday afternoon, local mainstay Scott Marshall received top honors with a record-breaking nine LVMAs.

Naturally, many people feel good for Marshall. He’s assembled a band of talented musicians who play seamlessly across genres. They’re good, and you’d have a difficult time honestly denying that. Moreover, Marshall appears by all accounts to have remained hard-working and humble throughout his ascent to the top of the scene.

Others, however, decry Marshall’s nine awards as a perceived flaw in the system – one alleged in certain circles to play favorites and select the same artists, year after year.

While cruising social media Sunday night into Monday, I saw my fair share of both opinions. I know and respect numerous people who believe different things across the board. With that, I feel compelled to say…

Congratulations are in order for Scott Marshall and all of the event’s winners. You all work hard to perfect and present your talents, and you deserve recognition for that. My hat’s off to you and your continued success.

As for those who came up empty-handed – including those who weren’t nominated – you deserve recognition as well. I know for a fact that many of you work every bit as hard as Sunday’s winners, and none of you should feel like your efforts are in vain.

Most importantly, remember this: No matter where you find yourself in the wake of the LVMAs, you’re now on a clean slate.

The LVMAs come but once a year. It is one day out of 365 – or, in 2016’s case, 366. This is not to downplay the event’s significance or popularity, but to point out that there are more opportunities than ever to make your musical voice heard in the Lehigh Valley throughout the year.

New opportunities for Lehigh Valley musicians to perform and network are popping up all the time. For the vast majority of the year, it doesn’t take a large festival or awards gala to make waves. Small venues, as well as musicians and fans on the scene, expand these possibilities every day. Folks who work full-time “day jobs,” and who work on music as a passion project, are transforming the scene into one that is increasingly focused on the artist with open mic nights, weekly showcases, radio shows, blogs and more. These people and their ideas are the gears that make the Valley’s music scene turn on a daily basis. Without them, there would be nobody and nothing to recognize at larger-scale events.

It is your responsibility as a musical citizen to find opportunities, learn from the folks around you, and add your own ideas to the musical landscape. Perhaps your efforts will find you accepting the LVMA you covet in 2017. If not, or if you aren’t the “awards show” type, maybe it will gain you more respect and admiration from your musical peers. For some of you, perhaps the self-satisfaction derived from doing what you love is enough.

No matter what, your pure efforts are contributing greatly to the musical landscape in the Lehigh Valley. Whether you realize it or not, your unique voice is making this scene better, stronger, and more diversified as time marches forward – and that, my friend, is what we need around here.

If you won on Sunday, congratulations, but now is not the time to get complacent. Keep up the good, hard work.

If not, don’t let it get you down. It doesn’t mean that what you’re doing isn’t deserving of recognition.

Nine awards or zero, you have talent and a voice. The Valley needs those voices working together to thrive, and everybody knows it.

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