March 7, 2015

Ampifying Asheville as a Music City

Design, Music Post by

Could Asheville music scene one day rival Austin?

Jenny Fares doesn’t listen to music while she runs. She writes it.

The process inspired her latest project: The Run Sing Thing.

Both musician and graphic artist, Fares is working out details for the musical experiment. But the basic idea is to flex your vocal chords and leg muscles on a four-mile group run Nov. 9. Fares will lead people in popular song, such as “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King.

“I’ve done a lot of research that says that when you participate in music, your body makes endorphins,” she said. “It is about fun and happiness.”

The Run Sing Thing will be just the latest in Fares’ legacy of innovative music programming, something that has made her a good fit for the new advocacy group Asheville Music Professionals.

Since moving to Asheville from Atlanta 12 years ago, she founded Music Video Asheville, an annual showcase of collaborations between local filmmakers and musicians. She also created the Brown Bag Songwriting Competition, which is being held every Monday at Asheville Music Hall. The competition ends Nov. 23.

Fares’ interest in creating events that bring together musicians and other music industry professionals was partly sparked by her experience working in bands. She’s best known for singing for the folk group, Jen and the Juice, and headlined such Asheville festivals as LAAFF and Downtown After Five.

Her connection to the local music scene stretches off-stage in a big way. While performing, she’s consistently worked in graphic design, and in 2004, started Sound Mind Creative, a brand building, print and interactive design with Brook Hagler.

“I’ve designed more than 50 band CDs,” she said. “I’ve done a lot of design work for the music scene.”

She said she’s proud of what she’s done as a graphic designer and a musician. She’s recently focused on graphic design, noting that it is highly satisfying creatively.

A few years ago, she tried to launch FOAM — Future of Asheville Music.

Although FOAM didn’t take off, she said she thinks “musicians deserve a lot more credit for being organized.”

“We aren’t all just late night, drugged-out creepy crawlers,” she said. “But we are also not ‘American Idol.’ ”

Asheville is home, however, to “musicians who make a lot of money.”

AMP can connect struggling musicians with successful counterparts, and produce panels and other educational events that will empower and uplift.

AMP can also emerge as the point organization for the community.

“There has been no outreach between our insulated group and other organizations,” she said. “Now, if someone has a question about music, they know where to ask.”

Fares said she hopes the organization helps “people recognize the the value of music,” she said. “I do feel like the music scene has an economic impact on the city.”

The group members can help promote music-centric activities, and highlight achievements.

“There are a lot of cool things that are happening that there aren’t press releases for and there is a lot of musical heritage,” Fares said. “I want Asheville to be the next Nashville, Seattle or Austin.”

 

Carol Motsinger. “Could Asheville music scene one day rival Austin?.” Asheville Citizen Times. October  5, 2014

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