Who knew such an ICONIC Award Show resided in the DMV, Let's Talk THE WAMMIES
DC is the beneficiary of world-class music creatives who enrich and inspire millions of people around the world! In an effort to celebrate, honor, and uplift these creative heroes, The MusicianShip preserves and annually delivers: The Wammie Awards. The Wammie Awards is a 35-year-old award show aimed at recognizing DC, MD, and VA area artists and musicians for their artistic works and impact across the region. Since The MusicianShip’s acquisition of the Washington Area Music Association (WAMA) in 2018, we have re-introduced & refined this storied community event, upholding its values, while infusing it with meaningful innovations and a contemporary flair that includes, and enriches, a diverse audience of art enthusiasts. As a 501(c)(3), focused primarily on music education for youth, The MusicianShip is excited to engage our Wammie Awards stakeholders to help us continue “Changing Lives with Music“.
Join me as I speak with The Wammies Jessica F. Teachey, Senior Director of Community Engagement about the amazing Wammies Awards, The Musicianship and what we can expect from not only this years magical event, but years to come!
TMP: What can we expect from this year's Wammies?
JT: To honor the voices of the region's music industry professionals and fans, hosted by Britt Waters of ABC7 in a NEW historically-renovated 1,000 seater venue, Exclusive reveal of The '22 Wammie Winners with LIVE musical performances by: Flowerbomb (2021 Best Rock Album), Strathmore's AIR Trio, JChris (Sponsored by Mars Arts D.C.), and more to come!
TMP: The Wammies is the host of such great talent of all calibers in the DMV, how did you know there was a need and which area to go in?
JT: In 2018, The Washington Area Music Assoc. Entrusted our non-profit to carry on the legacy of The Wammies. The first thing I did was begin searching online for the public pain points with the platform. In our first year, we decided to take a staggered approach to reform & do that each year by actually taking into account what our region has to say & offer.
TMP: With each year, the awards show gets grander, how do you guys continue to top yourself?
JT: Honestly, we amaze ourselves each year as we’ve had to pivot enormously due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. We’re blessed with a diverse team of committed music professionals who work alongside our full-time staff and are looking for even more who can help us take this up a notch in 2023.
TMP: The Pandemic has been quite a difficult era, how has The Wammie's been able to penetrate this new digital arena?
JT: We kept things simple! I think sometimes when you stay in your own head you can convince yourself that you must compete with grand virtual productions who have hundreds of thousands of dollars to work with and that’s just not our situation here. Keeping things simple while also maintaining our love & ingenuity for what we do has been the key to our success.
TMP: What are you guys learning about yourselves as the brands grow?
JT: We’re learning that we don’t have to ‘eat the entire pie’ in one awards show season. Progress and change are continuous and we’ve learned to focus on our lane and even stand in confidence of our own work here, even when others can’t or won’t.
TMP: In your own words what does the DMV Music Scene mean to you?
JT: “The Sound of America’s Melting Pot”...here in DC you’ll hear the sounds of freedom but also hear the songs of struggle. Here, you’ll connect with world-renowned musicians and you’ll connect with the struggling artist preparing for a come up. Every genre is right here in the Nation’s Capitol and it’s The Wammies job to underscore that to the rest of the globe.
TMP: With such success, does it ever become overwhelming and how do you keep your mental intact?
JT: Absolutely! I was just on Facebook this week asking my supporters for prayers. I produce The Wammie Awards and The DC Funk Parade, two regional events within 90 days of each other. This is definitely my “hazing season” in the calendar and I do think like restrict access to my cell, silence social media & event lean on my team members more than I typically would do because if my mind or mental crashe, I’m no good to anyone as the leader of our Community Engagement Department.
TMP: As the music scene grows here, what is your ear to the street method, we would love to know how you guys stay hip to what is going on.
JT: The MusicianShip stays so close to the ground because that is exactly where our work takes place. The beneficiaries of our programs are not invisible at all, they are in our schools, recreation centers and the communities we live in. I think we always have an edge up because we allow all sides of our impact cycle to have a presence, a voice and a real hands on approach to music events, activities and experiences with us.
TMP: Before I let you go, what is One Motto that you live by?
JT: “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” – Harriet Tubman