If you were to ever live in New Orleans you’d swear the DNA double helix of the locals was made of “treble” and “clef.” That’s how connected music is to the souls of each and every individual here. Do you know what it’s like to miss New Orleans?  I did. But once I got back all I needed to do was to walk the streets of downtown and hear those horns to know I was home. It’s ten years later and so many of us have returned. But the most important thing to have back has definitely been the music!

This year’s 2015 NOLA Music Awards plans to celebrate that return. This year’s awards are an expansion or perhaps a renaissance of the brand. Formerly the NOLA Hip Hop Awards, they’ve decided to use Katrina10 as a milestone year and to broaden the attention to all the great music of the Crescent City.

You can rebuild the buildings, invite the people back, and declare “We’re Back” all you want to, but it’s the music that makes New Orleans. They’ll continue the tradition set by our ancestors who performed the first cyphers in Congo Square at this year’s show, as always with a cypher from local artists. But with New Orleans being the birthplace of Jazz, Blues, and most Modern American music, organizers felt it was time that everyone was recognized.


Mardi Gras Indians

Expanding and including all New Orleans’ music this year is a very clear statement that the focus is solely on the artists, and supporting as many of them as possible. New Orleans has always had a clearly defined music scene. After the storm people doubted that the sound could return. They underestimated the spell this city has on its musicians and others from around the world. The city called them home and awakened the next generation. And NOLA Music Awards fleets time to give back to those artists by creating a safe haven where they have access to the support necessary for them to thrive, as well as recognition for the determination and sacrifice involved in bringing those talents here.

It’s easy to take the music here for granted. There’s not a street you can walk in the entire city that you can’t hear it. It seems to flow like water, but it’s not water. Every note you hear is blown with someone’s hopes, dreams, and soul. The passion and resiliency of a NOLA musician can’t be put into words. They can hypnotize you in eight bars, take you to wonderland and back without leaving the Marigny, and show you how to really “see” New Orleans.

The spell is cast so effortlessly that many will assume it takes none. That assumption has cost the Crescent City its rightful position of America’s music capital. But there’s no better time to change that than now.


Louis Armstrong Statue @ Algiers Point: J.Rose Photography

We’re the city that gave them Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, Harry Connick Jr., The Nevilles, Fats Domino, Jazz, Bounce, Master P, and Cash Money {Yes, these are ALL the greats}, and there’s a collective here that thinks it should return see a return to its glory.  I believe that as well. I believe that if all the musical creatives of New Orleans came together as a collective, then they could create the type of environment where our record companies could rival those of bigger markets such as Atlanta and New York. Both areas were forests when we were second lining to Congo Square, so it’s definitely possible. But it’s going to take a unified front and the support of the city and all who love it. 

The NOLA Music Awards has me excited again. On top of being a top notch production over the last five years, it’s filled with a lot of talent and heart. But now there’s also a fire and a mission. And that mission is to unite the music community and take New Orleans’ rightful place as a hot spot for modern American Music. It’s not something we’re fighting for. Just as the country was hypnotized by our blues and jazz, it’s now twerking uncontrollably. Once they hear that beat, they have to stop and drop it. They don’t even know why….but we do. 

We don’t have to bring it back. The Music never died.


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Vitamin Q (VQ) is a writer, blogger personality, and a social commentator. He irreverently analyzes how social issues affect individuals in modern society by using sarcasm, humor, and intellect, creating his own unique blend of Southern SHADE, purely for the purpose of helping like minds cope. “I say it so you don’t have to!”
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