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FROM TODAY'S SHOW
Grants available for Arlington VA artists. Applications accepted soon.
Grants for DC Artists:
- Mrs. Piano - Kenny Sway (Pop/R&B)
- Orca - Moogatu (Hard Rock/Jam Band)
- I'll Walk Away - Stone Driver (Rock/Hard Rock)
- Paused Parade - Young Summer (Indie/Alternative)
- Silurian Stomp (feat. Rachel Ries) - Fellow Creatures (Rock/Indie)
- The Greys - The El Mansouris (Indie)
- Intro/Outro music by Fellowcraft (Hard Rock/Blues)
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Video - Bio - Photos - Links
Stephanie Williams is the founder and chief curator of D.C. Music Download, D.C.'s largest outlet for local music news. An Ohio native, Stephanie moved to D.C. in 2009 and started D.C. Music Download in 2012 to spotlight some of the awesome acts she discovered while living in the city. Five years later, D.C. Music Download has grown from a small blog into a full-fledged media company that includes a flourishing editorial, events, and cinematography division.
Brian: Stephanie Williams is the founder and chief … Editor in Chief of D.C. Music Download. It’s D.C.’s largest outlet for local music news. She’s an Ohio native and moved here in 2009, and D.C. Music Download came around in 2012 to spotlight some of the incredible acts that she discovered while she was living in the city in the D.C. area.
Five years later, D.C. Music Download has grown from a small little blog into this full-fledged media company that includes a flourishing editorial events and cinematography division, so D.C. Music Download has grown and along with the great scene here. Listeners, with that, it’s my great pleasure that I get to introduce the founder and Editor in Chief of D.C. Music Download, Stephanie Williams. Say hi, Stephanie.
Stephanie: Hey. What’s going on?
Brian: It is such a treat to have you here, and tell us the story, the brief story about D.C. Music Download now. How did it start? How did that happen?
Stephanie: Sure, so it happened a little serendipitously I guess you would say. Long story short, back in college, I was a broadcast journalism major, and I was doing a lot of the same things that I’m doing right now, covering a lot of the local artists and bands that were living in the city and just putting the word out there about some of the awesome acts that I was finding. That came and went, moved to D.C. in 2009 to start an internship at Discovery Channel which grew into a full-time job eventually.
Stephanie: Yeah. That was good, and I was doing the corporate thing for a while, but I felt like there was something missing getting back into that element of getting back into the music scene, going to shows, and just putting myself in that world again, so around I would say like 2011, started going to more concerts, started meeting more people in the scene, started going to more D.C. shows, and discovering some awesome bands from there. Around that time, I was like, “You know what? I feel like this kind of clicks with what I want to do creatively, which is to get back into covering music again.”
The origin of D.C. Music Download’s name is actually because it was originally supposed to be a podcast, only outlet, and we didn’t have any writers like any of the people that we have right now in terms of like editorial, so it was just myself, my recorder, and just doing the thing.
Brian: You blew my mind because I’ve been dying to know. I picked up D.C. Music Download in about 2013 or 2014. It just came on my radar, and I’ve been wondering, “It’s called ‘D.C Music Download.’ Why is there a ‘Download’ because it’s a news or it’s a …?” That’s so fascinating. It was a podcast?
Stephanie: Yeah. It was a podcast, and so I bought the domain thinking, “Okay. All my podcasts are going to be on here, and you can literally just download it from the site,” and so that’s where it came from.
Brian: Yeah. Wow.
Stephanie: Yeah, and then from there, I started finding more people along the way who were interested in contributing more than just the podcast, so then it grew into what it is now which is a news magazine site that … It was just funny now because the podcast is input to the wayside for all the stuff that we do now, so we have a staff of around 30 people who produce all sorts of content.
Amazing, amazing contributions. Everything from show reviews to amazing interviews, long form features, events, and we even have a cinematography staff who creates amazing beautifully shot videos for us. It definitely have grown into something much bigger than I anticipated, but I mean, definitely, it’s been a pretty awesome ride in terms of just seeing it grow and just seeing where everything lies ahead.
Brian: If somebody was curious if they’ve never heard of D.C. Music Download or we were to tell them to check it out, what are they … You were talking about some of the things that you do, but what are the things that D.C. Music Download does really well? What will they find?
Stephanie: I think this is primarily what keeps me going with D.C. Music Download. It’s a pretty big effort, a large endeavor, and I think honestly what keeps me going is the fact of telling stories that we feel are really important, bringing to light issues, topics in the community, people who were doing awesome things here, and just bringing to light those people who may not get the attention or maybe the notoriety that they should get and just put it in the forefront and tell people like, “Hey. I mean, this is something that you should pay attention to,” or, “This is a great band you should know or just a cool project that you might not even realize is happening right in your own backyard that you should check out.” Yeah. I think that’s honestly the most rewarding part of doing this is just being able to spotlight those stories that may not be as easily noticed to the public.
Brian: Wow, that’s really cool. All right. Now, tell us about Stephanie outside of D.C. Music Download.
Stephanie: Yeah. For me, I actually just started this as my full-time thing which is pretty exciting.
Brian: That’s … so full-time Editor in Chief like this is it.
Stephanie: Yeah. This is it.
Stephanie: It’s been pretty crazy. Honestly, it’s one of those things where it’s like you just do it and see what happens.
Stephanie: Yeah. For a while, I was in the corporate sort of industry, doing that behind the scenes. In a way, I feel like my personal life and D.C.M.D. are very much intertwined. I see this as like my life and just all the stuff that I’m doing right now is stuff that it’s not like I separate the two at all. It’s all combined into …
Brian: Does this mean you pretty much just work seven days a week and it doesn’t feel like work? Is that what it is?
Stephanie: Yeah. Very much so in terms of it not feeling like work.
Brian: Got it.
Stephanie: Yeah. I try to go to shows as much as I can. I’m not getting any younger. I’ll say that. Going out to shows isn’t as easy as it used to be. Going out like multiple shows a night and like all that stuff. I’ve been trying my hardest, but just trying to go as many shows, trying to discover as many new bands and songs as possible, and just …
Brian: Is it just music, or what other hobbies do you have? Tell us more about Stephanie.
Stephanie: Yeah. For me, it’s funny because for me, I actually just … besides music, I like to also … I’m pretty artistic, so I like to do a lot of painting. Also, I love just going out and exploring art, going to …
Brian: Wow. Yeah. Uh-huh (affirmative).
Stephanie: One of my favorite museums actually that I like to go to, and just like meditate, and just be by myself is the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery. It’s like you can go there all day, just walk around and …
Brian: Is that the one with the courtyard in the middle too that …?
Stephanie: Yeah, it’s a great place to go. I love being in the outdoors which like you can’t really do much of that now with …
Brian: Right, since it’s winter and stuff.
Stephanie: Yeah, yeah. I love going out, just being outside, and just being able to just meditate and just be able to relax, and so that’s what I like to do, just going hiking anywhere I can find that’s just a good place to be alone in that sense.
Brian: When you think back to D.C. Music Download now, what’s the funniest moment that comes to mind?
Stephanie: The funniest moment that comes to mind. I will say that we have a really awesome staff, and we usually … Every year, we go and do a bar crawl for the holidays, so we usually go …
Brian: Awesome. Okay.
Stephanie: We usually start at Satellite Room, and then we’ll see who’s left at the end of the night. It goes from like 20 people to like three people. Last year, we ended up doing this big pub crawl. Down U Street is where we usually go. It was funny because we went to … I think it was Cloak and Dagger which used to be Patty Boom Boom, and so one of our staff members wanted to … This is like towards the end of the night, by the way, so like people are having fun, whatever, and somebody want to do the rain dance, so they literally took the umbrella, started doing the rain dance in the middle of the club. Some guy and this … Literally, this like big bodyguard came downstairs and literally just like snatched the umbrella like full-hand just snatched it, and he’s like, “Sir, you got to go.” He’s like, “But it’s raining, and I don’t have my camera with me,” and he’s like … and I’m just like, “Dude, let’s just get out of here.
Brian: Let’s just go?
Stephanie: Yeah, and it was so funny because he was like all like stressed out, and he was like running out into the street in the rain. I’m like, “Oh, that’s … Poor, poor guy.”
Brian: Oh my goodness. Wow.
Stephanie: Yeah, he … Yeah, we have a lot of fun together. Besides doing like stuff for D.C.M.D., we always like to hang out behind the scenes. Yeah.
Brian: Absolutely. What about … When you think about biggest success moments now, what’s like the biggest success moment that comes to mind with the project?
Stephanie: For me, I would probably say our anniversary shows at 9:30 Club, so particularly the first one that we did back in 2014. Up until then, we only had done like maybe two small shows at Rock and Roll Hotel. Like we had like no track record with putting on big shows at that capacity, so that was the first big event that we did that we were like, “Okay. Let’s see how far we’ve come and what we can do,” and so we decided to put together this awesome lineup. We had Drop Electric play, The Sea Life, Young Rapids, and The Raised By Wolves at that time, and it was just … We also had Girls Rock D.C. involved, and it was a … It was like definitely one of … probably the highlight for me. There’s been a lot of other concerts have been awesome, but this one particularly stood out because we ended up selling out that venue that night.
Stephanie: Yeah, 1,500 capacity venue that I did not think in my wildest dreams that we’d be able to do, especially at that early in our lifespan.
Stephanie: It was just so cool to see so many people turn out. The thing is a lot of people didn’t know. They’ll come to see one band, but a lot of them stayed for the whole show just like checking out new music and just being supportive of the D.C. music scene that night.
Stephanie: I think that was definitely, definitely a highlight for me that stood out.
Brian: Definitely. I always love to ask, what’s one thing you have in your music collection that might surprise us?
Stephanie: Okay, so my mom is Korean.
Stephanie: She actually exposed me to a lot of K-pop which …
Brian: Oh, yeah? Okay.
Stephanie: Yeah, which is like … Like usually, in that, like I’m not … Like it’s one of those things where I would never have thought.
Brian: I should … so if they don’t know what K-pop is, that’s just Korean pop?
Stephanie: Yeah, it’s Korean pop.
Stephanie: Really like … It’s just like super poppy, very … What I love about it is just … It’s just so catchy, and it’s just like …
Brian: Is this like Gangnam Style that …?
Stephanie: Kind of. Yeah. I listen to a little bit of the girl groups. There’s like Girls’ Generation. There’s F(X). F(X) I love. It’s like this five-girl group that they each have like their own very distinct styles.
Stephanie: They have like a very … not really so much pop, but more so like electronic, dance type of music, and they’re really good about like experimenting and diversifying their sound, so it’s …
Brian: That’s cool.
Stephanie: Yeah, and it’s just crazy because I feel like once I gotten to one band, it just segued into just knowing all these other bands that I like would never have discovered, so it’s …
Brian: That’s awesome.
Stephanie: Yeah, so it’s random
Brian: So K-pop? All right. I dig it.
Stephanie: Yeah, so K-pop.
Brian: The last question I love to ask is, what’s the one piece of advice you would offer?
Stephanie: One piece of advice that I would offer is to not psych yourself out when it comes to thinking that something, especially a goal that you have in mind is too big because I always feel like anything is possible, but it just depends on the time. Like sometimes, you might have a goal, and maybe you weren’t able to reach it at that time because it just wasn’t the right time or you weren’t ready for it yet.
I think with us, there’s just so many instances where I thought that was the case. Like 9:30 Club and us selling it out that year, like that probably wouldn’t have happened prior to it because we just weren’t ready yet, and we just weren’t able to be at that capacity to do it at that time, but I think … Yeah, I think just set what you want, and then just be realistic about how you’re going to get there. You’ll get there. It’s just a matter of when.
Brian: Just figure it out and do it.
Brian: I love that. Great, great stuff. Now, for folks who want to find out more about you and the cool things that are going on and happening with you, where do they go? What are the best sources for them?
Stephanie: All right, so the best one is obviously dcmusicdownload.com. We’re also on Facebook at the same handle, D.C. Music Download. Twitter, same handle. Also, we’re on Instagram as well, same handle.
Brian: Got it, so social media and the website? That’s the best …
Stephanie: Yes, and on snapchat