The series’ inaugural episode sees Brooklyn-based artist and songwriter J. Hoard tell the story of the iconic Arlene’s Grocery and The Lesson
Independent Venue Speak is produced by Marauder, the team behind Independent Venue Week, and in partnership with See Tickets
(New York, NY) – The team behind Independent Venue Week is proud to announce and release the first episode of its new podcast series, Independent Venue Speak. Like its namesake, Independent Venue Speak will celebrate the spirit of independence, through the vehicle of deep-diving conversations. The series will be hosted by a different guest artist each episode and focus on how a specific independent venue has shaped the narrative in their music community.
For its inaugural episode, Independent Venue Speak invited the Grammy-winning, Brooklyn-based artist and songwriter J. Hoard to tell the tale of the iconic Lower East Side room Arlene’s Grocery and its ties to The Lesson, a world-renowned hip-hop jam ensemble that forged an entire music culture. “To truly make Independent Venue Speak as incredible in execution as it was in concept, we enlisted the artists and venue operators to tell these stories themselves,” says Cecilie Nielsen, Director of Special Projects at Marauder that, along with Independent Venue Speak, produces the annual Independent Venue Week event. “These stories are about extraordinary people who helped inspire prolific music movements and about the venues that offered these movements not just a stage, but a home.”
There might be no better example of the symbiosis between independent venues and the musical communities they support than the story of The Lesson and Arlene’s Grocery. “What’s dope about The Lesson is that a lot of us were the people that nobody wanted to give a chance,” explains J. Hoard. “So, we all took a chance on each other. Arlene’s took a chance on us…Arlene’s gave all of us the nutrients and the platform to do amazing things. What The Lesson did was literally ahead of its time.”
The podcast launch comes just over one month shy of this year’s Independent Venue Week celebration. Scheduled to occur from July 12 – July 18, this year’s celebration of the spirit of independence is poised to be the largest yet, with over 200 venues from across 41 states and territories already confirmed to participate.
Episode 1: Arlene’s Grocery and The Lesson
Thursdays at Arlene’s Grocery were once famous around the globe. The Lesson attracted world-class talent from Kimbra to Corey Henry, becoming a paragon of inclusivity across musicians in NYC. The Lesson not only brought a community of musicians to life like no other session in the city, but also created a magnetic environment for a legion of dedicated fans. Hosted by The Lesson mainstay J. Hoard, this episode will delve into how The Lesson and Arlene’s Grocery helped grow a community of live hip-hop musicians into a culture of its own.
“J. Hoard, an exuberantly gifted young vocalist and songwriter who treats affirmation as an art form, has lately been leaving bread crumbs all over the New York City scene” – The New York Times
J. Hoard is a Brooklyn-based artist. His original compositions and arrangements easily shift genre to articulate his vivid songwriting. This eclecticism has yielded collaborations with artists such as Black Coffee, Chance the Rapper, Brasstracks, and hip-hop royalty Jean Grae & Quelle Chris. Additionally, he has worked closely with a host of jazz/experimental artists such as Sonnymoon, Javier Santiago, Jose James, TheLessonGK, and music legend Meshell Ndegeocello.
Formerly a bodega, Arlene’s Grocery opened its doors in 1995 as one of the first live music clubs in the Lower East Side. Up-and-coming bands flocked to the now iconic space for the sonic beauty and intimacy of the powerful sounding +100 capacity room. After expanding into the next-door butcher shop in the late 90’s, Arlene’s now offers two fully stocked bars and a gallery space for artists in addition to its large helping of live music. As a handful of live music clubs pop up (and down) in the neighborhood, Arlene’s still holds true to its intention of nurturing unsigned talent, providing a great experience for fans, and remaining an institution in the New York City music scene.
Independent Venue Speak Partners
Alongside its debut, the Independent Venue Speak podcast has announced a partnership with See Tickets. The ticketing company recently announced new partnerships with over 100 independent venues and with its support of Independent Venue Speak, it doubles down on showing love for the nation’s independents. “We know first-hand how many fantastic independent venue stories are out there, and how many are yet to be told,” says Joe Salem, Chief Commercial Officer of See Tickets North America. “We could not be happier to partner with Independent Venue Speak in our shared mission to amplify the voices of our incredible community.”