Supersonic: Inside a Contest to Becoming a Residential Musician in a Luxury Condominium: Would you play 25 hours a month to live rent-free in downtown Austin? – Music

Resident music contestant Yaren Humphrey performs at Wax Myrtle’s Bayberry Room (Photo by Jana Bierschum)

I felt so bad on April 5th when my landlord pointed out that I had forgotten to pay the rent. I feel a lot worse than I would have felt when I moved five years ago, as my rent is much more valuable now. According to an apartment agency zomberAccording to March data, the average monthly cost for a one-bedroom residence in Austin is now $1,570, up more than 30% from last year.

In the midst of the desperation caused by rising prices, I heard some musicians express the hope that a more expensive town would offer lucrative opportunities, as it did last week Elon Musk invited Gary Clark Jr. And other chores to perform under Tesla’s air-suspended roof at the opening of his car Giga Factory. The question directed me to a competition to solve the affordability crisis for just one artist, as the resident musician in the luxurious Downtown apartment complex. Sienna in Thompson. For a year of free rent, the winner would pay for the songs, performing 25 hours a month throughout development at the block level off Fifth and Brazos.

On the fourth floor, in a neutral color Bayberry room This past Saturday afternoon, the emotional performances and general party atmosphere could have been a solid reality TV watching in the background. radio host Ann Hudson Tell the building’s crowd to think carefully, and take notes on their ballots, about who they’d like to hear play around the building’s pool, the hotel, and the many restaurants. Each contestant performed two songs, all as a solo on acoustic guitar. While one of them was playing, the other three were swaying supportively on a somewhat soft-looking sofa.

Supervision , Vanessa Casciano From Magellan Development Group She said she chose the four finalists from one-minute video entries sent via social media or email, of which she received about 35 in total. The builders first rolled out the new program in Chicago and Nashville apartments in 2017, smooth enough to make a promotional video with artist testimonials. In a strange twist to launch locally, the first rider was an employee of the Thompson Building.

Humphrey investment, an aspiring pastry chef and musician left six weeks of culinary school, works downstairs at the street-level bar and market. “I am truly fortunate and privileged to have a family of people to work alongside and grow,” she said before coverage. bad play And the Adele. I voted for Humphrey by default, and thought she deserved it the most.

More residents, elegantly dressed to work or relax by the pool, flocked through Humphrey’s group, which seemed a bit unfair to vote. There were about 50 adults, voluntarily spending the weekend at an event set up by their building for the promise of two coins drink, free slides, and unknown entertainment. Their camaraderie surprised me. Some said they met last week on the elevator, or called on the resident-only social media platform.

Sienna in Thompson (Photo by Jana Bierschum)

In their version, the new building had a magnetic attraction, making moving in a long-awaited feat. Some lived temporarily in other units, awaiting construction on their own, while others lived briefly outside the hotel. Others have extended their leases in Clarksville. One of them had already moved from an apartment on the north side of the building to the south, due to the noise of Sixth Street.

The final and most interesting winner, who began with a deep voice, “I’m so nervous,” eventually won. Described in the competition by his full name Cameron Rafatithe very long half-Persian performance actually has a massive industrial history under a solo pseudonym Rafferty. Titled Dream Placement On apple Commercial, his 2016 soundtrack “Apple Pie” released from iPhone 6s. And after he was dropped from a record company, he started entering competitions like the sound. His voice was loud, sweet and then gritty in 2020 on NBC Songwriting Contest Songland – Which Rafati told the audience he actually won but was later replaced by another contestant in the TV editorial.

Downtown, I pack the country tune “Tennessee Whiskey” before a false start to Amy bar– Popular “Valerie”, which was previously covered by another finalist. He asked the sound worker to raise his voice and chose an original track called “Nobody Loves You”, as if Michael Buble I had a bad breakup. During our conversation, Rafati was quick to get contact information from other aspirants – Joanna Lee And the Jared Masucci – Promising to collect them on the paid carts with him during his stay.

A friend who lives in Sienna suggested him enter. He showed me pictures of a hard hat at his last job, earning $15 an hour at a bitcoin mining industrial facility in Rockdale, Texas. With the charming confidence of someone either completely smart or crazy, he said he flew into the competition live from a crypto conference in Miami, where he networked with the hope of a new job. “I’m getting out of Rockdale,” he said, describing his current residence as a small trailer.

A 500-square-foot studio in Sienna at the Thompson starts at $2,349 a month. As a member of one of the resident groups I’ve heard about disrupting the talking industry, he noted that the in-house musician would essentially earn $30,000 a year in covered rental expenses. The man, personally, said he would not accept the deal. Across the coffee table, his friend/neighbor defended the value of the building itself, other than free rent and amenities. In a passionate talk about the language of business, he detailed the incentives – proximity to music venues, great meeting space, and access to high-end clients.

He explained, “A financial advisor holds meetings in the richest coffee shop in her prettiest clothes to say, ‘I make the most money.’” This guy now has the power to play a character by performing here. He just increased his stock value as a musician. And while you’re doing it 25 hours [a month]Who are you surrounded by? Anyone in this building would have the money. The benefits start to become seismic.”

Before the advent of “many rivers to cross” Jimmy CliffRafati choked during his acceptance speech. Recalling his exit from the music industry, he told the audience, “I was like, ‘I’m not going to do this again.’ I became a crypto bro, forget it. Because that’s what you do when you’re done with something. You become a crypto bro.”

Residents cheered from the many lounge sofas. “You live here now!” Another followed quickly – “You are family!”

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