Alleyways Amplified: Highlighting the Utah Hip-Hop Scene
Music Festival Coverage
The first Alleyways Amplified concert is being held this Saturday, May 21, from 7–9:30 p.m. in the Edison Street alleyway, which runs a half-block east of State Street between 200 S. and 300 South in Downtown Salt Lake City. The event will feature performances from Utah-based rapper Snicks, Utah native rapper Peech and R&B/afrobeat artist Gavanni.
Vishwa Srinivasan, Utah native and organizer of the event, says that it’s important to give a platform to these talented, local artists—who he calls friends, too—noting that he’s listened to Snicks’ music for six years. “Honestly, all I’ve listened to my whole life is rap,” he says. “I feel like Salt Lake needs to be put on to it. I just want to see more local musicians, specifically local rappers, come out of Salt Lake.”
Srinivasan hopes the event will be a different experience than what you get at other venues around the city and is excited about the location—all of the surrounding businesses, including Roctaco, Brick & Mortar and Diabolical Records, aren’t chain stores or restaurants. “They’re all brutally local,” Srinivasan says. “It’s almost like an enclave in the larger Downtown Salt Lake area.” He sees a lot of value in using locations like the Edison Street alleyway as community spaces for people to gather, especially for musicians and other artists.
“I feel like Salt Lake needs to be put on to it. I just want to see more local musicians, specifically local rappers, come out of Salt Lake.”
Gavanni, who immigrated to the U.S. from Nigeria when he was 17, has been making music for the past four years. He describes the music he’s currently making as the future of afro-pop, which includes a mix of traditional R&B, western pop elements and afrobeat. “[In my music], I find a smooth middle point between both cultures to create a unique sound that is recognizable to Africans and still very much enjoyable to Americans,” he says. Gavanni, who’s also performing at this month’s SLUG Localized, says he’s excited about the platform these kinds of events give to local artists like him. “When people visit Utah, they think it’s a very stereotypical sound as far as all the indie rock bands, so [it’s important] to show there’s a lot more diversity as opposed to what they think it is,” he says. “It’s not just diverse—it’s actually good.”
Snicks, who estimates he’s been making music for almost 10 years, says the Utah hip-hop scene is growing, even if it’s gradual. “I feel like more people are passionate about what they’re doing and more people are getting creative,” he says. What he feels makes his music unique is the vibes you get out of it through the various genres he incorporates, including R&B, trap, pop-rap and the different flows and transitions he implements into his songs. “[My music] gives you a dose of reality with happiness [and] sadness, with everything mixed in because, at the end of the day, it’s what I’m feeling,” he says.
Peech, currently based in Los Angeles, California, but originally from Utah, says the event is an amazing opportunity for Salt Lake City. “It’s just the start of giving these local artists a chance, giving them a platform to perform,” he says. “Utah has a music scene—you guys just gotta come show out for us.” Having just released These Times Don’t Feel Right last month, Peech says he’s excited to come back to Utah to perform new songs and feel the energy with everybody. “I make a lot of different types of music, but it’s all emotion-based,” he says. “It all comes from personal emotion and thoughts.”
“When people visit Utah, they think it’s a very stereotypical sound as far as all the indie rock bands, so [it’s important] to show there’s a lot more diversity as opposed to what they think it is.”
Although the planning of Alleyways Amplified has come with its difficulties, Srinivasan says it’s been fun putting this event together. One of the hardest things, though, was navigating the sound engineering. “It takes an incredible skillset to make sure things sound right at a concert,” he says. Luckily, Lara Jones, Executive Producer and host of RadioACTive, was able to connect them with a quality sound guy.
Snicks says he’s excited for this event because it gives people an opportunity to get introduced to several local artists for the first time. “We’ve got a lot to show [and] the music we’re making is up to date—it’s current, quality, it has purpose and a great sound,” he says.
The first Alleyways Amplified show will happen this Saturday, May 21, from 7–9:30 p.m. in the Edison Street alleyway. You can get tickets online. Find Alleyways Amplified on Instagram @alleywaysamplified, Gavanni @gavanni.exe, Snicks @biggwave_snicks and Peech @peech.
Read about more local music festivals here:
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