Friday, June 20, 2003

The Pearls

I just had a great evening! My wife and some friends all went to the annual Pearl Awards Gala.

Now, I’m sure that most of you are scratching your heads about now, wondering what on earth the pearl awards are. It’s a wonderful event that they do each year for us Mormon musicians. I know it’s not much, but in our little world, it’s a big deal.

It’s kinda like a Mormon Grammy show. No, it IS the Mormon Grammy show. All the big LDS musicians vote to see who they think is the best in the various categories, and then we all dress up in our best and have a major hob-nob party.

Great fun.

This year’s awards had some way cool things happen.

One was a couple of really refreshing “upsets” or at least pleasant surprises. The first was Fiddlesticks. They’ve been nominated every year for the last four years, and this year, they finally won one! I’ve been hoping for that day for a long time, and I’m sure they have, too. They were up against some very popular groups, too, and still came out ahead.

Another was Stephanie Smith. She won for New Artist of the Year. I had the chance to promote a concert for her last year, and she was a lot of fun to work with. She is one of the more innovative young writers I’ve ever heard. But she, too, was up against some more popular acts in her category, and came out ahead.

Also, neither of these two have big, or even small label support.

Some of the perennials were there, of course. Tyler Castleton was listed as writer, producer, or artist in just about every category. Kenneth Cope won his 9th and10th award. It’s not like these guys don’t deserve all the accolades. They really are that good. But as the LDS music world grows, there’ll be more equally good people to share the wealth around a bit.

The best part of the evening, is introducing my friends to the people I’ve met as I’ve been a part of the industry. It’s just a lot of fun.

The reality is, that the LDS market is still very small. And winning a Pearl won’t mean a dime in additional sales, like a Grammy would. But at the same time, it’s a fun time, and a really cool event.

And a chance to hear some great new music.

Mark Hansen

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