Viewing entries tagged
Pebble to Pearl

12/31/18 - The Best Songs Brian Obsessed About in 2018

In creating the shows in 2018 we shared more than 300 songs, and listened to hundreds more. So what were the best of the best? We’re happy to share! These are Brian’s top 13 which he listened to on repeat in 2018, and a playlist of the top 57 in case you like what you heard and want to dig deeper. We hope you find some new tunes you love! Just a brief intro and then it’s all music for you to enjoy!


Podcast:  iTunesGoogle PlayStitcherTuneInPocket CastsPodBeanPlayerFM, or THIS URL in your app of choice



  1. Greens, by be steadwell (Pop/Soul)

  2. Stronger, by Juxt (Hard Rock)

  3. Cups to the Floor, by Rare Essence (GoGo/Hip Hop)

  4. Bartenders and Bourbon, by Fellowcraft (Rock/Blues)

  5. Petrified (Live), by Chris Cassaday (Folk/Folk Rock)

  6. Vapor, by Black Dog Prowl (Hard Rock/Grunge)

  7. The Imagineers, by Crys Matthews (Folk/Americana)

  8. Forgiveness, by Sol Roots (Blues/Funk)

  9. Long Way Back to Shonto, by Eli Lev (Indie/Indie Rock)

  10. Snow Day, by Tony Craddock, Jr. (Jazz/Gospel)

  11. Private Room (feat. JusPaul), by Footwerk (Hip Hop/Alternative Hip Hop)

  12. Crank It Up (Long Live Rock n’ Roll), by Lindsey Buckingham Palace (Hard Rock/Classic Rock)

  13. Come and Get It, by Pebble To Pearl (R&B/Funk)

->’This Week’s Dose Of DC Music’ Spotify Playlist<-

->’DC Music Rocks Show’ MEGA Spotify Playlist<-

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Do you like what we're doing?  Would you support us?  We'd love to grow and do more!  We're giving away shirts, access to our private facebook group, and more!  We also intend to set aside 10% to contribute directly in the DC Local Music Scene through charities, sponsorships, events, etc.  We want to continue to pay it forward!

HUGE shoutout to our current Patrons! 
**Daniel Warren Hill**    **David Mohl**    **Eli Lev**
**Sarah Byrne**   ** Chad Lesch** ** M4TR (Music 4 The Revolution)**


We're looking for local businesses to sponsor us!  Know One?  Would you introduce us to them?

DC Music Rocks All Music Episode Jan 01 2019

8/14/18 - Special Guest: Pebble To Pearl

This week on DC Music Rocks, Pebble To Pearl, a band with a unique blend of funk, rock, fierce and powerful blues, stops by for a chat with host Brian Nelson-Palmer.  The episode also features great tracks by Justin Shapiro, Feedel Band, Maryjo Mattea, and StereoRiots.

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Pebble To Pearl

Pebble To Pearl Bio/Links:

Pebble to Pearl (P2P) creates a unique blend of funk, rock, fierce and powerful blues fused and delivered with soulful grooves and incomparable vocals. They display a tapestry of sound that will truly captivate, mesmerize, and send chills down your spine, while undeniably keeping you entertained and dancing. P2P is road bound, touring up and down the East Coast to venues like the House of Blues in Orlando to the Canal Room in NYC.

They have no boundaries with visible influences from legends like Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, and Chaka Khan, to the new generation powerhouses ranging from Beyonce and Rihanna, to Joss Stone and Lenny Kravitz. Their self-entitled EP, debuted in March 2018, holds no bounds in blending a combination of funky blues rock with hard hitting and flawless vocals. If you haven't seen them in action, you are missing a key note in the chromatic scale. They throw in everything but the kitchen sink into their show and leave a lasting impression and the need for wanting more.

p2p episode.jpg
p2p episoder.jpg

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  1. ***Lost In Time, by Justin Shapiro (Rock, Folk Rock)

  2. Better Than Nuthin', by Pebble To Pearl (R&B, Funk)

  3. ***Meskerem, by Feedel (Jazz, Ethio-Jazz)

  4. Meaning of Life, by Maryjo Mattea (Pop, Pop Funk)

  5. Ghost Machines, by StereoRiots (Indie, Hard Rock)

***The first time we've played this artist for you on the show, & a new artist profile added to our DC Artist Database!  There's new artists every week!

->Follow The Show's Spotify Playlist<-



1)  Thanks to the amazing sponsors who have helps in so many ways to make the DC Music Rocks Festival grow to become the epic event it is!  Big thank you to:

2) Thanks to the below which had Brian on to talk about the festival.  The interviews were fun and some were quite extensive, going WAY beyond just the Festival!  



  • Odetta Hartman - Old Rockhounds Never Die
     (15 Song Folk/Indie Full Album - RIYL Beck, Patti Smith, Bjork)

  • HyeTension - Talk In Tongues
     (6 song Hard Rock EP - RIYL (Queens of the Stone Age, The Strokes)

  • Jae Alexander - I’m Gone
     (Hip Hop Single - RIYL T-Pain, Usher)



Our 2018 New Releases by DC Artists’ Spotify Playlist:

Our ‘DC Artists Official Music Videos’ Youtube Playlist:


Here’s just a few highlights for the coming week, be sure to check out the calendar for the full list of all the upcoming shows!

Aug 17 - Fri
Lauren Calve & Stranger In The Alps @ Songbyrd Music House in Washington, DC (Folk/Indie)
Pressing Strings & The Duskwhales @ The Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD (Folk and Classic Rock)
Dr Robinson's Fiasco & FuzzQueen @ Jammin Java in Vienna, VA (Indie Rock)
The Internal Frontier @ Union Stage in Washington, DC (Pop Rock)

Aug 18 - Sat
THE DC MUSIC ROCKS FESTIVAL @ 9:30 Club in Washington DC (Indie, Folks, Rock, Blues, Funk, Hip Hop, Hard Rock, something for everyone from 7 different acts!)

Aug 19 - Sun
Crys MatthewsJonny Grave & Shamans of Sound @ Pearl Street Warehouse in Washington, DC
  (Folk, Blues, Funk, Indie)

Aug 22 - Wed
Hungry on Monday @ The Hamilton in Washington, DC  (Rock)

Aug 23 - Thu
Elizabeth II @ Black Cat in Washington, DC (Rock)


Do you like what we're doing?  Would you support us?  We'd love to grow and do more!  We're giving away shirts, access to our private facebook group, and more!  We also intend to set aside 10% to contribute directly in the DC Local Music Scene through charities, sponsorships, events, etc.  We want to continue to pay it forward!

HUGE shoutout to our current Patrons! 
**Daniel Warren Hill**    **David Mohl**    **Eli Lev**
**Sarah Byrne**   **M4TR**

We're Looking For Advertisers/Sponsors

We're looking for local businesses to spread the word about with our more than 12,000 followers.  Know One?  Would you introduce us to them?

4/17/18 - Special Guest: Chip Py of Locally Grown DC

Thanks to Chip Py, creator of video series and official photographer for Chuck Brown, for hanging out with us in the studio this week!

^^Episode Audio/Post Is Live - Click Above (might need to buffer/load, refresh page if you have any issues)^^

Podcast:  iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, TuneInPocket CastsPodBeanPlayerFM, or THIS URL in your app of choice




  1. ***This Time, by Zen Warship (Funk, Funk Rock)

  2. Cups to the Floor, by Rare Essence (R&B, GoGo)

  3. Forgiveness, by Sol Roots (Blues, Funk)

  4. ***Falling, by Kia Bennett (R&B, Soul)

  5. Come and Get It, by Pebble To Pearl (R&B, Funk)

***The first time we've played this artist for you on the show, & a new artist profile added to our DC Artist Database!  There's new artists every week!

->Follow The Show's Spotify Playlist<-


Do you listen to Top 40 music?  Here’s 54 songs by 54 different DC artists we think you’ll love. This is just a taste of the incredible selection of Pop music we have in the DC Artist Database on our website.  We hope you’ll follow the playlist, and start following the artists you like! Listening local is good for the soul!  
Direct Link:
All Our Playlists:

--Congrats to the winners from the Washington City Paper’s “Best Of” reader’s poll, here’s some of the local music scene highlights:

  • Best Go-go band: Rare Essence

  • Best Jazz/Blues Venue: Blues Alley

  • Best Arts & Culture Festival: Funk Parade

  • Best Local Original Band: Stone Driver,

    • Runner’s Up: Batala Washington, Aztec Sun Band

  • Best Music Festival: Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival

  • Best Music Venue: 9:30 Club

  • Best Place To Experience Local Music: Black Cat

  • Best Recording Studio: Blue Room Productions

--Thanks to District Karaoke for allowing me the honor of being a #judge of the #citywide championships this week!  Caught Night Train 357 there and so many local artists we cover on this show have come through #DK. My bassist in Fellowcraft, Brandon Williams, and so many other people I love have spent time with this group.  I had a blast!


Our 2018 New Releases by DC Artists’ Spotify Playlist:


Here’s just a few highlights for the coming week, be sure to check out the calendar for the full list of all the upcoming shows!

Fri Apr 20
--Albino Rhino & Surprise Attack @ Jammin Java in Vienna (Funk, RIYL Phish)
--FeelFree @ Union Stage (Reggae, RIYL SOJA)
--Staycation @ 9:30 Club (Funk, RIYL Red Hot Chili Peppers)

Sat Apr 21
--Soundproof Genie & QOK Music @ Savor Bowie (MD) Music Festival (Pop/R&B, RIYL The Fugees, No Doubt)
--Jonny Grave @ DC9 (Blues, RIYL Burnside)
--See-I @ National Cannabis Festival at RFK Stadium (Reggae, RIYL Thievery Corporation)
--Skribe @ Takoma Park Earth Day (Folk, RIYL Pearl Jam)

Sun Apr 22
--Laura Tsaggaris @ Pearl Street Warehouse (Rock, RIYL Aimee Mann)

Mon Apr 23
--Mystery Friends @ DC9 Nightclub (Indie, RIYL LCD Soundsystem)

Tues Apr 24
--Thaylobleu @ Black Cat (Hard Rock, RIYL Bad Brains)

Wed Apr 25
--Broke Royals & Eli Lev @ Rock N Roll Hotel (Rock, RIYL Bastille, The Lumineers)

Thu Apr 26
--Veronneau @ Blues Alley Brazil Week (Jazz/World, RIYL Pink Martini)


Do you like what we're doing?  Would you support us?  We'd love to grow and do more!  We're giving away shirts, access to our private facebook group, and more!  We also intend to set aside 10% to contribute directly in the DC Local Music Scene through charities, sponsorships, events, etc.  We want to continue to pay it forward!

HUGE shoutout to our current Patrons! 
**Daniel Warren Hill**    **David Mohl**    **Eli Lev**
**Sarah Byrne**   **Music 4 The Revolution (Abu Jibran)**

We're Looking For Sponsors

We're looking for local businesses to sponsor us!  Know One?  Would you introduce us to them?

Chip Py

Video - Bio - Links - Transcript

Chip Py DC Music Rocks

Chip Py is a local DC Photographer who has been photo documenting the DC Music Scene for the 15 years. He has worked in a wide genre of music scenes including Punk, Roots Rock, Rockabilly and Go-Go.

He is best known for his work in Go-Go as one of Chuck Brown's Official Photographers and his work with Chuck Brown can be seen on Chuck's final album cover and at The Chuck Brown Park.

Four the last three years Chip Py has been producing a Video Podcast from his overgrown 100% organic back yard garden, which he calls The Yarden.  Each week in the late Spring and early Summer Chip invites a different local musical act over to Grill and Groove in The Yarden.

Which he records into a 30 minute video program that includes musician interview and live performance. Often guests from different genres are brought together for the show. 

In the last three "Seasons" he has produced 27 episodes and had 71 musicians perform in The Yarden.

The shows past and present can be seen here

Funk Parade attire Chip Py


Brian:   I appreciate Go-Go because a lot of bands are like, "Oh, you can dance to this", or, "Let me see some dancing." They're like, "No, let's just make a song and tell you what to do. Everybody with a cup to the floor right now." I really appreciate that, it's so good. I love it.  Chip, congratulations on your win and thanks for coming and being a guest as a result of all that car dancing man.

Chip Py:   All right, I'm excited to be here.

Brian:   This is such a treat. Now, let me give you a proper introduction here. On DC Music Rocks, we're shining a spotlight on the great songs, artists, and incredible people behind the DC region's music scene.

     Chip Py is a local DC photographer who has been photo documenting the DC music scene for 15 years across a wide genre of music scenes including punk, roots rock, rockabilly, and Go-Go. He's best known for his work in Go-Go as one of Chuck Brown's official photographers. His work with Chuck Brown can be seen on Chuck's final album cover and the Chuck Brown Park.

      For the last three years, Chip has been producing a video podcast from his overgrown 100% organic backyard garden, which he calls the Yarden. Each week in the late spring and early summer, Chip invites different local musical acts from all over to grill and groove in The Yarden, which he records into 30 minute video programs that includes interviews and the live performance.

     Often the guests from different genres are brought together for the shows. In the last three seasons he's produced 27 episodes and has 71 musicians that have now performed in The Yarden.

     That video of course, I'm not going to hold it out on you. I'm going to have the link to his winning car dance video, will be included with this episode so you can check him out doing his thing in his car too.

Chip Py:   It's one of my finest moments.

Brian:   Chip, I appreciate you. I've heard about you for so long in the scene now with the different things you're doing and being involved in the different genres, and what you do in it. Basically for me, it's an honor to have you here. Thanks for being here.

Chip Py:   Thank you.

Brian:   What is it do you feel that makes the Locally Grown DC thing that you're doing, what makes it special?

Chip Py:   What does make it special? I don't know that there's anything else like it. I'm certain there's other little, people have music shows and stuff like that, but nobody has the backdrop of The Yarden.

      I'm not really a videographer, I'm a photographer. I'm also a gardener, everything except for the tree in the corner in that garden, in that Yarden, was planted by me. What I actually enjoy doing about it creatively photographic wise is working the bands and the artists into the growth that I have in the garden in The Yarden.

     Each morning before the show, "Hey, I put the chicken on", because I do feed them and then walk around The Yarden and figure out how I'm going to compose each band and get the angles and the shots going so that it has a different kind of look every year.

    Some people have walked in and gone, "Oh, I didn't know it was so small." It's just an average sized yard in Silver Spring, but they've seen multi different angles from it. That's what I as a photographer bring.

     As a DC music person, I have relationships with many bands that I've worked with so that I can feel comfortable asking them to come perform in The Yarden. Getting this things off the ground was a crazy idea, and I'm fortunate that the first five people said, "Yeah, that's a great idea."

Brian:   Absolutely, getting them in there. Talk a little bit too about the photography stuff. You were mentioning at one point about the multiple genres, we brought up the different genres. Talk about photography and multiple genres.

Chip Py:   First of all, my video skills are nil compared to a lot of videographers out there. Most of my shows I've shot with just simply a one camera mic. I'm adding a second camera this year, so that's going to be fun. That'll increase my video skills.

    I tell people I'm a photographer, I'm a still photographer. That's what I enjoy and I'm a huge music fan. If I can catch your groove, I can capture your groove. If I can catch your groove, I can capture your groove in almost any lighting situation.

    Most of the bands that I shoot, when I walk into the venue, when any photographer walks in there, we'll walk in and go, "I can't shoot in this venue, there's no lights." There's nothing coming in. One of the places I've been shooting rockabilly is Hank Dietle's Tavern, which recently burnt down. Hank Dietle's Tavern has been there for 100 years.

Brian:   Oh no. What part of the city is that?

Chip Py:   Rockville, Maryland. Right across from White Flint Mall, where White Flint Mall used to be is where Hank Dietle's used to be. There is a movement to save Hank Dietle's. We have raised money and Hank Dietle's will rise again.

    The only light in there is the lights off the pinball machines, pinball machines and a Miller Light sign. They've pushed the pool table out of the way, so that's the light that I have to work with in there.

    I don't throw a strobe on and simply let it simply blast the whole light. When I do use a strobe, and I often use a strobe, I'm bouncing it off of something and using it as a fill flash. If you're a photographer and understand it, you have to utilize part of the light in the room, it's just a little bit of what you give it.

    When I was photographing Go-Go, because most of the Go-Gos were played in venues where there were absolutely no stage lighting. I was able to bounce light off using fill flash, I actually used pieces of plastic from a milk carton that I strapped to the top of my strobe. Meter the light in the room, back off, close the aperture a bit, bring it down for a little bit of light in there.

Brian:   Now there's different genres too. What made you jump from the different genres? How'd that come about?

Chip Py:   I had been shooting a lot of the roots rock and the punk rock bands in DC because that was the music scene that I was into.

Brian:   When was that?

Chip Py:   I went digital '03. In college I was shooting, I remember I was shooting the [inaudible 00:06:36] bands that came around East Carolina University where I was. The Bad Checks, and I'll remember the name in a minute.

Brian:   That's all right.

Chip Py:   What I started doing probably about seven or eight years ago, I started wondering why I was doing this. I came to the conclusion that I was creating a collection of what the DC music scene is, what it is at the time in which I'm shooting.

    I knew that of the whole DC scene, there was this thing called Go-Go. As a white guy from DC, I didn't know anything about Go-Go other than Chuck Brown. In order to have my collection complete, I wanted to have some pictures of Chuck Brown.


    What I didn't know was how lively, because Rare Essence is not the only band, there are hundreds of people who play Go-Go in this city. They're not in front of you, you can't go and open the city paper and see where to go see them. It's an underground scene, which the fact that people who know Go-Go know where Go-Go is.

     It's not played at music venues, oftentimes it's played in restaurants and bars where the promoters come in and rent the place out for the evening.

Brian:   If it's your first time going to a Go-Go show, you've got any tips or advice on somebody who's never been to a Go-Go show?

Chip Py:   Yeah, my advice is go.

Brian:   That was so profound. While they're at it, when they go, dancing? Is it feel welcome, is it a welcoming environment? What makes people stay away?

Chip Py:   I had friends tell me that as a white guy I shouldn't go to Go-Gos. Literally, I just walked into the La Fontaine Bleue on night with my camera and said I was there because the Bela Dona band was playing.

     I knew that Sweet Cherie was Chuck Brown's keyboard player. In order to get to Chuck Brown I had to show him something. Showing him pictures of the Nighthawks and the Slickee Boys wasn't going to mean anything, so I had to develop some Go-Go cred.

     I went and shot the bands that Chuck Brown band members had, so that I could bring something relevant to Chuck and his manager Tom Goldfogle. I did that and within several months I was one of Chuck's official photographers and photographed the last year of his life.

     Tom Goldfogle, when I've told that story before, has told me that they weren't looking at my photographic skills. I was like, "Oh, you weren't?" He told me they were trying to figure out if I was cool enough to hang out with them. At first I was disappointed, but then I thought, "Is that a better compliment?" It's a compliment nonetheless, but I like to think that it was my photo skills. Now I also like to think that it was cool.

    One of the things about the Chuck Brown scene, the people around Chuck Brown, is that everybody's cool. It's a very family scene back there. Chuck, when he was alive, there was a large number of people on the guest list. Those folks are the Go-Go family.

Brian:   Got it, that family vibe. You've talked a lot about photography and some of the stuff you're doing, what do you do in your personal time outside of Locally Grown, and the music stuff, and the job thing? Do you have other hobbies too?

Chip Py:   Yeah. I'm a fisherman, I'm a picker.

Brian:   A picker, what does that mean?

Chip Py:   Ever see the show American Pickers?

Brian:   If I haven't, what does that mean?

Chip Py:   It's a show on History Channel where two guys drive around in a truck through the countryside buying antiques out of barns and sell them and flip them for cash.

Brian:   Okay, I'm following you.

Chip Py:   My father was a picker. Part of the way in which I make my living is I do work for Harmony Rocket Estate Sales where we, when somebody passes away, we go in the house and sell dead's peoples stuff real quick for cheap.

     I have a dog. I love my dog, go to the dog park. Thrift store, I go to the thrift store, I love thrifting.

Brian:   What's your dog's name? What kind of dog is it?

Chip Py:   My dog's name is Bebop.

Brian:   Awesome. Imagine that, you're a music guy and you named your dog Bebop.

Chip Py:   When I first found out that the definition of bebop was when people started soloing when they wanted to, how they wanted to, and all the time. I said, "I have to have a dog named Bebop."

     When I went to the pound after my dog Pepper had died and saw Bebop, which is the dog that has every different type of breed inside that dog depending on how you look at it.

Brian:   A good mutt, huh?

Chip Py:   That is Bebop.

Brian:   That is Bebop, that's amazing. One favorite question that I love to ask; if you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Chip Py:   One piece of advice for photographers?

Brian:   In general, you only get time for one.

Chip Py:   I'll tell you what I've got. What I like about my show is that it crosses genres. If you're a rockabilly guy, go to a Go-Go show. If you're a Go-Go person, go to a punk show. We have so many different music scenes in DC and nobody seems to cross through the genres.

    What I like about where my camera and where my show takes me is that every time I get to go find out about something new that we have right here in DC, right inside the Beltway, there's so much here and there's so much to explore.

    A lot of the people stay right within their genres and have their five, six, seven, maybe ten bands that they listen to. Jump out of your genre, that's what I say.

Brian:   I love it, and it's so true. On DC Music Rocks we've got the local music calendar, which is all the genres. On the show we cover a swath of all across the genres, so I hope you do check out. We've tried to put it in one place so you can find it, but I hope you check out more genres. That's such a good point.

Chip Py:   You want to see some genres that are outside of your genre, go to

Brian:   There it is. You lead me right into my final question, you're brilliant sir. If they want to find out more about you and the cool stuff you're doing,

Chip Py:

Brian:   Anywhere else that you tend to do a lot? Are you social media or other things?

Chip Py:   Do we have time to talk about, inside Locally Grown I did an episode called Funk Up the Grass. Can we talk about that now or should we?

Brian:   If we've got a minute, we got to jump back into some music here. Talk quickly about it if you can.

Chip Py:   One of the episodes I did, I put together an episode called Funk Up The Grass where I brought in four bluegrass musicians and three funk musicians. They arrived at my house and had to create five bluegrass songs with a funky beat to them. Not only did they have to create them, then we had to perform them in The Yarden.

     The city paper did an article about it. It's interesting because everybody thinks they're different, but you put people in the room with music involved and it really brings people together. It's how you can really celebrate your differences and create something unique.

Brian:   That's it. That's Look at the episodes and the name of the episode again is?

Chip Py:   Funk Up The Grass.

Brian:   Funk Up The Grass.

Chip Py:   I also had an alt-country band, Ty Braddock's alt-country band and I brought in the Go-Go singer Mz Laydee. They hit some old country songs with a soulful flavor to it.

6/20/17 - Special Guest: Angie Gates, Director of DC Office of Music & Entertainment

Thanks, Director Angie Gates, of DC Office of "All Thing Entertainment" for joining us on this week's episode!

^^Episode Audio/Post Is Live - Click Above (might take time to buffer/load, refresh page if you have any issues)^^

Podcast:  iTunesGoogle PlayStitcherPocket CastsPodBeanPlayerFM, or THIS URL in your app of choice



  1. Barryism by Three Man Soul Machine (Jazz/Soul)
  2. Good Ass Love by Pebble to Pearl (R&B/Funk)
  3. Overnight Scenario by Rare Essence (Hip-Hop/Go-go)
  4. Summer Cool by Carolyn Malachi (Jazz/R&B)
  5. Bags Packed by Aaron Myers (Jazz/NeoSoul)
  6. Complicated by Black Alley (Hip-Hop/Hood Rock)


Wylder - Save A Way (single)
Will Eastman ft Furniteur - Detroit Disco (single)


There's so many!  Visit our Local Music Calendar to see the full list!  These are just the few we discussed on the show to get you started.

Fri Jun 23
Black Dog Prowl, Tempercrush, FuzzQueen, Lisa Said @ Black Cat in DC
The Jones @ Kalypsos in Reston, VA

Sat Jun 24
Will Eastman @ U Street Music Hall in DC
Black Alley @ Howard Theatre in DC

Sun Jun 25
Justin Trawick and The 9 Songwriter Series @ The Black Squirrel in DC

Tues Jun 27
The Cowards Choir @ Jammin Java in Vienna, VA

Wed Jun 28
A Shrewdness of Apes @ Iota Club in Arlington, VA

Thu Jun 29
Yellowtieguy @ Sauf Haus in DC
Annie Stokes @ Jammin Java in Vienna, VA

->Follow The Show's Spotify Playlist<-




Angie M. Gates has been appointed to serve as the Director of the newly formed Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment.  Director Gates most recently served as the Director of the Office of Motion Picture and Television Development before that office merged (on October 1, 2015) with the District's Office of Cable Television. Before that, Gates served as the Director of Inauguration and was the former Director of Operations for Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Transition Team. During Mayor Bowser’s campaign, Gates was the Traveling Chief of Staff.

Gates made history as the first African American General Manager of the Historic Warner Theatre, located in the heart of the nation’s capital. Her extensive experience includes work with President of the United States Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Gates began her career as a film specialist for the New Orleans Film Commission and her film projects include Interview with a Vampire and Pelican Brief. She is the former Associate General Manager of the Historic Saenger Theatre, located in New Orleans and she previously served as the Director of Engagement Relations and Marketing for the Theatrical Division of Clear Channel Entertainment.

Gates received a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and a Master of Arts Administration Degree with a Special Concentration in Sports Management, graduating Summa Cum Laude from the University of New Orleans. Gates serves as a Board Member of the New Orleans Theatre Association and Negro League Hall of Fame. She is also a member of the DC Chapter of the Recording Academy of Arts and Sciences (The Grammy’s).




Brian:     On DC Music Rocks we're shining a spotlight on the great songs and incredible people behind the DC region's music scene. And so let's get to know one of those incredible people which is Director Angie Gates, who serves as the Director of Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment. And I know people must ... That's a mouthful, I know they must give you a hard time about the long name.

Angie G:     Yes. Just the Entertainment Office, all things entertainment.

Brian:     Entertainment, I love it. And she began her career as a film specialist for the New Orleans Film Commission, and her film projects included Interview With A Vampire and Pelican Brief, which you might have heard of before. I recognize those names, that's exciting. She is a former Associate General Manager of the historic Saenger Theatre located in New Orleans, and she previously served as Director of Engagement Relations and Marketing for the theatrical division of Clear Channel Entertainment. But Gates made history as the first African-American General Manager of the historic Warner Theatre located right here in the heart of the nation's capital. So amazing things going on in this incredible woman's background here. She's an alumni of the University of New Orleans, and serves as a board member of the New Orleans Theatre Association and the Negro Hall of Fame. And she's also, as she mentioned, a member of the Recording Academy here in DC.

    So, I first came across Angie and the Office when I was putting together the local music calendar on the website for DC Music Rocks. And they were kind enough to help me with the funding to help get the coders to create this amazing resource that I've been able to build so it is, first and foremost, I finally get to say to you, thank you so much for helping me with that and that opportunity. And listeners, it is with great pleasure that I introduce Director Angie Gates.

Angie G:     Well, I'm delighted to be here. That's an impressive background. I did those things?

Brian:     You sound pretty incredible, right? And here you are.

Angie G:     But I'm glad we were able to support on the calendar, DC is musical icon city. Coming from a background with my father being a musician, it's just amazing to be able to be here and be in this role and be able to play a part to move the dial forward for the musicians here locally.

Brian:     Yeah. Now, so talk about ... The first and most important thing I want you to share is talk about the amazing things you guys are doing to support the music community here in DC. Because I don't think people realize just what that ... How much you support. So share with that.

Angie G:     We're doing a lot. We're doing a lot. What was important was to first listen to the music community and find out what the community felt was missing, ways that we could help, ways we could bridge the gap to help push the musicians forward. Not only locally, but to create a presence for them regionally and nationally.

     So at our office we do a few things. Not only through our networks, DCN, we have the Sound where we highlight local artists. We also have the 202, which is a new original programming. We also have Display, where we showcase videos. So I would love for any of the musicians who have videos to send them to us so we can air those. But we have dedicated ... And I have to give a shout out to our wonderful mayor, Mayor Muriel Bowser, she has the month of September dedicated to 202Creates, so we have a website,, #202Creates has done 58.6 million impressions, but that's our way to dedicate an entire month to the creative community and highlight musicians.

Brian:     And what kinds of things do people possibly can they look forward to to that September 202Creates? What does that mean?

Angie G:     Well, it's all about the creatives. It's all about the artists that we have. We make sure that we highlight the musicians and the creatives in all eight wards. We showcase and provide sponsorships. We highlight marketing opportunities and interviews, provide marketing opportunities where they can promote their craft via the electronic media kit, things of that nature. But we actually go out to the community, so we're ... The community and the musicians in DC have a seat at the table. As the Director, I'm not making the decisions, I'm responsible for executing them.

Brian:     Got it. And if folks want to ... You said there's a website? Or if they want to find out more about this 202Creates thing, where do they go?

Angie G:     So, we have a website, And you can also find out more information about our agency and what our agency is doing at, and follow us on Twitter at entertain_dc. And we also have our Facebook page, Entertain DC.

Brian:     Got it. And Instagram. You guys are pretty active on the social media, I've been following for awhile and that's exciting. Now talk about where music came into your life. Because when we went through your impressive resume that we shared, and we only shared a part of that, by the way, check out more ... We're going to have her full bio on the write up for this episode and also on you can find out more about Director Gates. Talk about where music came into your life or how music has influenced your life.

Angie G:     So, music is just part of who I am. It's part of my DNA. So my dad was a jazz saxophonist, he played the keyboards, he played the clarinet, he went to a historic black college, Jackson State, known as the Sonic Boom, so I think I was listening to music before I actually was birthed. When my mom would be on the road with my dad at different gigs, I think-

Brian:     You were in the womb, you were rocking [crosstalk 00:05:40].

Angie G:     In the womb I was rocking it out.

Brian:     I love it.

Angie G:     So, from the time I can remember, as far back, my dad would do his rehearsals and his gigs. He would do rehearsals at our house, so I would be in the living room rocking out, hitting my little keyboard as he was performing. So it's been a part of who I am. I also think that music is the universal language, so it's allowed me culturally to be able to identify with my various walks in life. I mean, when I was in New Orleans I was with Cash Money, I did the very first Cash Money concert. So, you switch over here and now I'm rocking out to Go-Go, and had an opportunity to work with the legendary Chuck Brown, recently Rare Essence. So it's a part of who I am. Without music, I'm non-existent.

Brian:     Did you ever play instruments or ... ? Or was it like the influence- ?

Angie G:     Oh, I'm a great air guitarist. And I play a mean tambourine, if you want.

Brian:     There it is. Oh my God, the tambourine. And you said a mean air guitarist. I almost want to ask you what song? What song comes to mind for playing air guitar? Somehow I think there's a picture in your mind when you said that, of you playing, was it to a song or something? That's a memory, I mean ...

Angie G:     So, Nirvana and Pearl Jam, I would always rock out to. And a little hidden secret with me, when I wake up in the morning I'll turn on the radio or play something on Pandora, and I'm just dancing. It's a constant concert going on in my head.

Brian:     I feel like it's like a T-shirt we should put out, like, "It's a constant concert going on in my head." Oh, it's so good. I think the musicians would love that for sure.

 So what about you outside ... So, you've got this whole ... You're Director of this incredible organization, you're doing great things around DC, when it comes to outside of work and like your hobbies and your personal life, who's Angie outside of work?

Angie G:     So, I would say this. I've learned to do a little bit better with my work life balance. I enjoy cooking. I really have an appreciation for quiet time. So I think I, for years, would have never-ending days, so in the world of entertainment you would start ten, eleven o'clock, your night might not end until one or two o'clock in the morning. So I would have never-ending days all the time. But for now I really take time and I sit back and reflect. I love being with my family and friends, that's very, very important to me. But cooking, I exercise, so I wake up every morning and I'm on Capital Bikeshare. I ride about-

Brian:     Is that how you get to work? Or are you exercising?

Angie G:     No, that's my exercise. I take the train, I had a Camry for 23 years, it finally died on me, and I said, "We have great transportation here in the District of Columbia," so I hop on the train, I hop on the bus. And Capital Bikeshare, I ride it every day. I do about seven miles a day.

Brian:     Oh my goodness, and you're exercising ... You ain't kidding about the exercise because those Bikeshare bikes are heavy bikes, so you get some workout.

Angie G:     They are very ... They are heavy, they are heavy. And our rec centers in DC have great aquatic centers, and so I'll do that as well. But, you know, just talking walks throughout the Capital Hill area, that's where I live. And just being with my neighbors, family and friends. I have a true appreciation for that.

Brian:     Wow, that's ... And I appreciate that you use the public transit system that we all use, I say, because it just is ... Well, that's encouraging to hear. So I appreciate that.

Angie G:     And I listen to my music along the way.

Brian:     That's right, you got the headphones in and there's something ... I don't know, I'm on the fence, because I feel like on Bikeshare you can use one earphone and that's still okay because you still hear the traffic but then you can still hear the music? I don't know what the law says about that.

Angie G:     And always wear a helmet. Always wear a helmet.

Brian:     Yes. Wear a helmet. Absolutely. All right, so now what about ... Biggest success moment that comes to mind when you think about the amazing things you've been doing with the DC government. What comes to mind?

Angie G:     A few things. Being able to be on the journey with Mayor Bowser, prior to my position I was her traveling Chief of Staff, and I was also the Operations Director when the government transitioned, so that was a big success because it was like almost reading a novel every day. And then all of a sudden it's inauguration and you're in the moment of the hard work and everything that you experienced. It's also very beneficial to me being here in DC. When I was in New Orleans, I left one entertainment venue and came here, and Katrina happened maybe about a year after I was in this area, but I was heading back to New Orleans. And the way that the DC community embraced me during that time, like ... Even though I lost what I thought was home, well DC really is home. And the welcoming that I got, not only from the musicians and the creative community, but just the people here collectively as a whole. To me that's success. To me that's success, to build those type of lifelong relationships as well. So it's twofold.

Brian:     So, I take it from what you're saying then you're not going to be going back to New Orleans, you're going to stick around DC for a little while?

Angie G:     I'm going to stick around DC for awhile longer.

Brian:     All right. I dig it.

Angie G:     I like this city.

Brian:     We get to keep her, guys. This is exciting. For at least a little while. Now, one of the things I want to make sure that ... Well, I've got two questions that I want to ask. The first question is the same question that I always ask every ... It's one of my favorite ones to ask, and that is if you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Angie G:     Don't give up. So I think, especially in the entertainment industry, there's a lot of competition. There's going to be always someone that tells you you're not good enough. You didn't make this group. You're not going to get this opportunity to perform. And it's very, very important not to give up because it can become very discouraging. Sometimes you even have to change the people around you. That's another piece of advice I want to give you. If you're in a circle of negativity or people are not trying to lift you up to say, "Look, you can do this, you just have to work hard," but more importantly, it's that moment when you're like, "This is it. I'm throwing in the towel. I'm not going to do this anymore. I've heard no for the final time. There's no opportunities for me." Just think back to this moment and hear my voice saying, "Don't give up," because it's going to be that pivotal time where things will change. So you just can't give up.

Brian:     And you're talking like that's from some personal experience, too.

Angie G:     Oh, absolutely.

Brian:     What comes to mind when you think about that when a time when you didn't give up?

Angie G:     So, I can think of several. But I think a few things have been ... And I'll just tell you a quick, quick funny story. I was on tour at one point, and you're only as good as your next tour, that applies to musicians, that applies to the promoter, you're only as good as your next tour. So when the tour ends, that's a wrap. So I was in a situation where the tour had ended and-

Brian:     And you were on tour in what capacity?

Angie G:     So, Clear Channel at that time focused on the Broadway Theatre Series, but also there was an Urban Theatre Series. So a lot of the Urban Theatre, like your David Talberts who's actually from this area, Tyler Perry, a lot of musicians also perform as actors ad actresses in those type of productions. So I was the producer and the promoter for those events.

      So when the tour ended, I didn't have a job. And I remember finally thinking I was going to get this great job down in Mississippi as the Entertainment Director for a casino. I could do that with my eyes closed. I was like, "Oh, I'm winning. I got the gig." They basically had said I had the job. And then I had to take this test. And I've always been horrible at standardized tests, even in elementary school, like the CAT exam. I took the ACT, made a 14, then took a prep course for the ACT and got a 12. That's how bad it was. But I took the standardized test and out of a rating of 100% I scored a 20%. It was based on this trust factor, or this honesty component, something crazy. And I remember just feeling so shattered, and just, I'm like, "I can't ..." So not only could I not get that job, but I couldn't even work at the casino. I couldn't even be a bartender or a cocktail waitress or work at any of the restaurants. So, to have a Master's degree at that time, to have graduated summa cum laude, to have run these various venues and then have the reality that you can't even go work at the pastry shop, that was devastating. And I really thought it was the worst, but I came back with a vengeance.

Brian:     Yeah, and God, look at you now.

Angie G:     I didn't give up.

Brian:     I'm glad you didn't give up. I'm glad you ended up here.

Angie G:     And that's just one story. There's many more.

Brian:     And many more ... So next time you see Director Gates make sure you ask her for another one of those stories. I'm going to the next time I see her, that's for sure.

     All right, so now I want to ... The important thing that I think I want you to share with folks is if you are a musician, and you are interested in ... What are the opportunities to interact with the DC government or what types of things are you doing for musicians, and then for music fans? Share about that.

Angie G:     So, one of the things that's key, we have an open invitation. So it's just as simple as contacting our office and scheduling a meeting, and telling us what is it that you need that we can help with. So, there are times when we offer small sponsorships that can provide resources from a financial component, but we also are a production house. So we have studios, we have audio opportunities, videography opportunities, we have actual tangible resources that can help musicians, and we have our television shows that give you the platform ... Anyone that's a cable subscriber, and we're talking about 300,000 plus subscribers, we can put you on any of our musical platforms and have your talent showcased.

     For 202Creates, not only are we focusing on that during the month of September, but that's a year round initiative. So, we welcome any of those opportunities. I would also encourage individuals to get involved with the Recording Academy. That's a great resource, and you're surrounded by musicians that can provide opportunities there as well. But come be a part of the 202Creates family. We're here to help, we're here to serve.