Friday, June 21

Drank Epidemic Interviews Ohmare "International O" For Spring Board South Music Festival

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The Springboard Music Festival is in its second season of establishing a vision for the Texas music landscape. In 2012 the festival’s first year, it was held at City Centre in Houston, Texas. Humble beginnings best describe the establishment of the Springboard Music Festival. Inspired by the music, film, and startup behemoth that is SXSW, Barry Coffing created the Springboard Music Festival. Coffing is a veteran of the music and film industry, as well as the owner of WeGet Music and Networking. This festival’s focus is on helping unsigned artist by exposing them to industry professionals that they would normally never have the opportunity to interact with. The artists have access to a buffet of industry professionals. Many artists will be granted freedoms normally given to artist on the cusp of stardom. Experienced producers, publicists, engineers, branding, entertainment lawyers, event booking, all serve as mentors for the artists selected for the festival. The prodigious alteration made prior to the 2013 festival, was the incorporation of the hip-hop genre of music. Last year the festival did not include any hip-hop performers or acts. This year the Springboard Music Festival is headlined by rap artist Slim Thug and Paul Wall. The three day bonanza begins today, last until Sunday and hopefully is here for years to come.

The addition of Ohmare Washington was a coup for the hip-hop community in Texas. His tranquil confidence is the driving force behind the hip-hop component of the Springboard Music Festival. Washington has history and, stripes within the odd Texas music culture. His beginning resembles that of the average music lover. Washington started as an artist who worked diligently to etch a space for himself in the early 2000’s. Ohmare did everything for himself as an artist, branding, licensing, booking, and creating his music. Washington also credits extensive research as the indispensable weapon in his arsenal.

The rap career of Ohmare Washington ended voluntarily, but without the hint of any regret. The next stage would fair to be more fulfilling and educational. So what does an ex-rapper who was nearly signed to a major record deal do after hanging up the mic? Become an artist manager of course. Artist management includes, a litany of jobs relegated for a team. Management, branding, booking, A&R, and image consulting are some of the hats donned by Washington. Washington became fully immersed into his role as a manager, educating himself as well as his artists. The management job brought with it highs and lows. The highs of booking artists in other countries, and touring around the southern United States, were memorable, states Washington, hence the Twitter handle “International O.” The lows of being exploited by shady promoters were also memorable. The shadiness got the best of Washington, who ultimately chose to step aside and focus on his personal career.

As the overseer of the hip-hop division of the Springboard Festival, Washington has become extremely popular in six short months. His current duties included selecting artist for festival, arranging the meet and greet, and setting the performance schedule for three stages in five hours. Washington does mention some frustration with hip-hop portion of the Springboard Music Festival. His passion for the Texas hip-hop community saturates his words when discussing the positives and negatives of artist selection procedure. You can sense the frustration in Washington’ voice when he explains the lack of presentation, detail, and interest from Texas artist. That frustration quickly morphs into enthusiasm when explaining the multitude of knowledge readily accessible to artists throughout the festival.

Glitches are expected on the day of the festival, Washington has already put out 10 fires within this week, with 20 more brewing on the day of the festival. Our community owes a thank you, to the man who is totally vested in the hip-hop acts selected for the Springboard Music Festival. This festival right now could possibly be the elixir to converge the creators and consumers of music in the fourth largest city in the U.S. Guys like Ohmare Washington and Barry Coffing are leaders of the new school of Texas music visionaries, we should all appreciate their foresight and join forces.

Ohmare Washington runs a music industry website, TheConnectHou, where he post researched articles from around the Internet. These articles provide mounds of information pertinent to upcoming artist, managers, and anyone interested in music industry knowledge.