For the past decade, 25-year-old Jed Antonio has given concerts under the stage name JED at small gatherings, hosted festivals and ditched music online. Over the years, he and a specialist team of music lovers have discussed how they could turn their hobby into a career.
After the coronavirus crisis interrupted live performances, musicians found their future in limbo. With no audiences to play for, Guam artists found themselves confronted with what their families and friends had told them for years – that art, no matter how fun, should never become a career. With little savings and temporary jobs to fall back on, some musicians find themselves deciding whether to give up music is the best choice.
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Antonio, however, responded to the uncertainty by starting a recording studio in January in Tamuning. “I’m here to connect the dots because not everyone has the resources, and I know what it feels like not to have those resources. Growing up (from) having a $ 150 setup to having your studio fully functional … Gives me goosebumps, “he said.
For years Antonio has released music with Project Inspire, a group of dedicated musicians, from a home studio.
“Sometimes you can try to make music, but someone will spam in the background,” Antonio said. “The studio made it more legitimate.”
As an artist who currently enjoys pop and R&B, Antonio said his tastes in music have changed over time. When he first appeared on the music scene 10 years ago, many musicians focused on rock or reggae.
“Now you have TikTok songs that are trendy and still hip hop inspired,” Antonio said.
But many young musicians think more about fame and virality than the content of their songs, he said. He tries to prepare the artists who come to the studio for much more.
“The intention is to go viral, but in the sense that you’re not just going to go viral and dive in,” Antonio said. “If the viral thing gets them through the front door, we want them to be prepared. We have this whole music database waiting to be discovered.”
The music scene has changed dramatically, Antonio said. When he was young, musicians would produce music, release it on CD, and cross their fingers for a radio station to cover the song.
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“The discovery process was so difficult back then,” Antonio said. “If you were a big name back then, it was pretty much locally.”
Antonio said he hopes the studio will become a hub for talented artists, many of whom have pursued their careers much longer than him. Over the next two years, he plans to develop his talent and experience the vibe, sounds and intent of a potential musician.
“What I want to do is build this network of singers, songwriters and DJs who love what they do,” Antonio said.
Despite Guam’s remoteness, Antonio hopes that a greater appeal for diversity will help local artists gain visibility. “You need something to help your sound stand out. If that’s not your look, this is where you came from,” Antonio said. “When you say Guam, all of a sudden there is one thing that ends them. It further increases your chances of blowing up and going viral.”
Contact reporter Anne Wen at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Pacific Daily News: Guam musician JED pivots by starting recording studio