The 2nd Annual East Coast Music Conference took place in the heart of Downtown Norfolk from May 9th through the 12th. It was an independent music artists’ dream come true. Imagine a network of true artists getting first hand music industry knowledge from some serious tastemakers from all walks of the game and from all over the country. It was a need fulfilled for the 757 music industry.

First of all I gotta give a big shout out to my man Drew Little. He was an Executive Director and visionary of The ECMC. What I like about Drew ( that’s how he introduced himself) is that when I met him, he was on the run volunteering. He said that he had walked 2,200 steps so far that Saturday morning as he was directing me to a management panel.

He was cool. Come to find out Mr. Drew Little is a successful entrepreneur who’s been in touch with the music industry for 30 years. In 2015 he and another visionary of The ECMC Grace Garvin Little created Brink Records. They went against the grain and used innovative techniques to launch a string of hits.

The overall theme of the conference took on that same attitude. It put more emphasis on the success of “independent” musicians and not what musicians need to do to sell themselves short of their ultimate goal, artistic and financial freedom.

The fuel of The ECMC mission is to fight the changes the music industry has made in the last 10 or 20 years.There’s also a bigger picture to expand Norfolk’s music industry by creating a resourceful music and film support system to feed the area’s underground scene.

It was an awesome experience. This is coming from a Norfolk home grown independent record label exec and artist. There was a since of pride and hope being from here walking around Granby St. and Monticello Ave. all weekend making some serious career connects.

I met artists and songwriters of all ages. I met a band from Canada. The Canadian government paid for their trip to the conference. Nice!! I met artists from Jacksonville, Buffalo, New York and a couple of other places.

What Drew and I noticed was how the local scene was not as present at the conference as the rest of the world. Could this be one of the issues in our local music community? Are we not hungry enough or are we just not aware enough to recognize a golden opportunity when it’s presented?

Novakane Omega (co-founder of Soul Trust Records) and I got these platinum passes which gave us access to pretty much the whole conference for $150. The price wasn’t the issue. Drew and his crew looked out. In any case The East Coast Music Conference will have an enormous impact on the 757 music scene.

Any city that can continue to annually host an international music conference automatically becomes influential in the future of music production. We were given tips to look to conferences and festivals to make your power moves and gain recognition these days while chilling at a dope conference that was in Norfolk, Va!

I’m tellin ya, Brink Records and Dominik Fini of High Impakt Events have got their eyes on the prize! They have set my city up to potentially be a future powerhouse in the music industry. We at Soul Trust Records appreciate that.





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