Artists Share Advice on DC Music [excerpt]

Katie McLeod, Voice of The Hill

Lianna, driven to advance her music career, was searching for a place that would make it possible for her to do just that. She drove to Washington, DC, watched a live performance and simply knew her next move.

"I had an overwhelming sense of peace," Lianna, who performs by that name, explains, describing how when she came to DC to visit a friend and check out the area's local music scene she just knew she was meant to play in the nation's capital.

Lianna moved to DC in the fall of 2002 to pursue her music career some time after finishing law school in North Carolina, her home state where she is a licensed attorney.

Like many local musicians, Lianna's story is one of passion, drive and hard work; one that is still in the making, but that looks ahead to a future filled with music, in one form or another.

Whether it's playing at bars and clubs, open mics, the annual Cherry Blossom Festival or recording a CD, DC's musicians are in love with the notes, rhythms, sounds, energy and adrenaline that composes their lives. And they are driven to keep playing.

Solo artists and bands playing original music or cover songs all share the desire and the need to perform. And it's up to the musicians—depending on their varying dreams and ambitions—to learn how to break into the local scene, making contacts, getting gigs, and even recording.

A 'Learning Curve'

"We have a lot of fun playing music," Lianna says about playing with her band, which she describes as acoustic pop/rock with three-part harmonies. "It's a business all on its own," she adds, noting time spent marketing her music, networking and lining up gigs.

Beyond working 40 hours per week as an office manager for a law firm in Fairfax, Va., Lianna works 45 plus hours per week on music: rehearsing, writing her own songs and lyrics, performing, doing promotions and making contacts, she says.

Lianna performs as a solo singer/songwriter as well as with her band. She released her first CD, Walk in My Shoes, in 1998, so she had knowledge of CD production prior to her DC move. But, she explains, as she is about to release another CD on March 13, she realizes that she's gained a great deal of knowledge about her sound, the process and the language involved in the industry. "It's such a learning curve," she says. Lianna also cut a demo CD, titled Beautiful Life, in Sweden in 2002. (To find out the location of Lianna's upcoming CD release party, please visit her website:

Lianna just signed with a booking agency in Charlotte, NC. She will be touring the college market nationally, playing with her band in coordination with her solo tour dates and locations.

Lianna also stresses the huge sacrifices she's made as a partnership with her husband, who lives in their North Carolina home. They commute to spend time together when they can. That way, Lianna can focus on her music in the DC area, a city that is accessible to North Carolina, yet offers the kinds of opportunities she wants for her music career, she says.

"I've never felt as complete as anything as I do when I'm playing live," Lianna says quite passionately. "Nothing else fulfills me to the depths that music does."

Reprinted by permission.

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From Here CD coverLianna's latest CD, From Here, is now available at shows and in the Shop section. Buy it now!

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