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Conversations with Nina Raj

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nina Raj.

Hi Nina, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Hi! Pre-pandemic, I was doing a lot of photography for Sid the Cat. My partner and I were really in awe at the amount of work, commitment, and care that the LA music community had for their craft and for each other, and we wanted some way to give back to that community, so we started thinking about hosting a few low-key sessions in our own backyard. Our hope was that artists and friends could come share space, hear great music, and connect. While we always had a commitment to support artists, the pandemic made that more important than ever; we were hearing about the emotional and financial toll it was taking on so many musicians, so wanted to try to provide a way for them to perform and release new music, promote their work with whatever small platform we had, and give them assets to use while they were unable to tour. Professionally, I’m a designer/photographer with a film school background, and my partner is a producer/editor with a focus on video journalism/music videos, so our skillsets made sense for this kind of project.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
We have no complaints; we’re so fortunate to have the space and to be some of the few to continue to hear live music during this time. That’s not to say it hasn’t been without its challenges, though – the two of us produce this project on top of our full-time jobs, and it takes a lot of time on either end of a show. The space is a challenge since it’s so small. Funding is a challenge, although we’re exploring some grant options to hopefully grow the experience, compensate artists to participate, and compensate the incredible professionals who have been volunteering their skills to help us produce and engineer the sessions. The thing we probably struggle the most with is a good case of imposter syndrome. I’m never sure how to ask artists, if or why they’d want to participate, or if we’re the right people to be doing this. That said, we’ve been so fortunate to feel the embrace from artists with their time and care and hope they feel it back from us.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Know that we love submissions! We’re starting to book for late summer/early fall. We’re committed to showcasing a wide range of artists and genres, and we hope that these sessions can provide a unique place to perform, record, and celebrate those artists’ work at no cost to them. We also are always looking for volunteer help, particularly videographers and sound engineers.

So maybe we end on discussing what matters most to you and why?
The thing that matters most to us is to continue to showcase emerging talent and provide a fun, supportive, and genuine space to amplify their work.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

All photos by Nina Raj

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