News and Public Media for North Central Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Loosey’s Downtown hosts showcase for grant-winning Gainesville musicians

More than 70 people filled the seats and floor space of Loosey’s Downtown on Sunday to watch four grant-winning musicians and bands from Gainesville perform live.

The performers at the showcase were Creator Eornom, Haylin Watkins, Boat Stuff and Danny B. Each of these artists won the Loosey’s Quarterly Recording Grant in 2023.

The grant was created by MusicGNV as a way to provide up-and-coming Gainesville musicians with studio time and name recognition in the community. The grant is awarded four times per year in March, June, September and December.

“The first year I applied, I didn’t get it,” said Vincent Cornelius, also known as Creator Eornom. “It didn’t make me scared to keep trying, though.”

Cornelius won the December 2023 grant round. He said he’ll be releasing two songs with the help of the grant, and they will be released at the end of February.

“This grant has allowed me to branch off and widen my horizons,” he said. “It’s opened doors when it comes to recognition and promo, and now I have a team to back me up.”

MusicGNV sends winners into a recording studio to record at least one song, and it works with local studios and artists to produce and mix those songs. Winners are also professionally photographed and recorded during the session, which provides them with promotional materials.

The showcase was the first of its kind with MusicGNV. The entire show was recorded and will be uploaded to YouTube to give more media coverage to the musicians.

Zherukha_showcase_1.MOV

Violet Edwards, 18, and Marcel Bossa, 18, heard of the show when a friend sent them MusicGNV’s Instagram account.

“The show was awesome,” Edwards said. “We came for Boat Stuff, but we found new artists, too.”

Both Edwards and Bossa are musicians and participated in show choir together. They said watching the showcase inspired them to apply for the recording grant in the future.

“Honestly, this showcase gave me motivation to practice my instruments more,” Bossa said.

Brandon Telg, director of MusicGNV, said the nonprofit supports the independent music community in Gainesville by providing artists with studio access and experience.

“When an artist goes out and succeeds, the entire community succeeds,” Telg said. “Investing in individual artists means investing in the entire community.”

Haylin Watkins was born and raised in Gainesville, and she said she’s been singing her whole life. She won the June 2023 grant round. Watkins said the grant and Telg allowed her to perform at Bo Diddley Plaza, where she attended musical performances growing up.

“This has been a pretty big deal for me, especially as a woman in the industry,” she said. “It was difficult to juggle working with producers in town, and I’ve spoken to other women in town who agree. This has been like a breath of fresh air.”

There are about 30 applications per grant round. Only one is picked.

“It’s tough,” Telg said. “But the panel of judges is made up of people in the music community. Even if somebody doesn’t win, they get heard by a bunch of people who maybe book shows or are looking for other opportunities for artists.”

Bands come from a variety of genres and sizes, but the application requirements remain the same each quarter. Artists must be ready to release the completed song within two months after recording, and they must allow MusicGNV to label their music with “MusicGNV Records.”

“They walk out of the grant with a whole media package,” Telg said. “It says, ‘This is who I am, world! This is what I’m like when I perform live.’”

The Quarterly Recording Grant was originally funded by seed money from the City of Gainesville’s Cultural Affairs Department. That money has now run out, but Loosey’s Downtown, a bar and music venue in Gainesville, agreed to sponsor the grant moving forward.

“Loosey’s does something no other venue does,” Telg said. “All door money goes to the bands; they don’t take a cut. They put their money where their mouth is in tangible ways.”

The cost associated with starting a band, finding equipment and recording is a hurdle for many new artists. Telg said the grant prizes translate to roughly $2,000.

Boat Stuff, a band of six high schoolers who attend P.K. Yonge in Gainesville, won the September 2023 grant round. Lucas Collada, a singer and guitarist for the band, said the Gainesville music community has been accepting of MusicGNV.

“The grant and the showcase let artists get their name out there,” Collada said. “It’s crazy. We’re a little band from Gainesville, and someone on the other side of the world can hear our music because of MusicGNV.”

Boat Stuff was able to record eight songs because of the grant. Their EP is available on Apple Music and Spotify, which wouldn’t have been possible without the studio time and recording equipment MusicGNV provided, Collada said.

“These artists are the face of the future of Gainesville,” Telg said. “I’m excited to see where they’re going.”

Marta is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.