INDUSTRY: Amy Cox of Deep South Entertainment
Amy Cox is celebrating 20 years at Deep South Entertainment. Her passion, dedication, knowledge, and commitment to helping make music happen, have all been assets to North Carolina's music scene as a whole. And we would assume, a gift for her employer. Her role at Deep South Entertainment is to "keep the engine running." So, she oversees everything, right down to the accounting. She also completes a mountain of tasks herself; managing multiple bands, running events and festivals, curating the music at the North Carolina State Fair, working on Oak City Sessions, and on and on.
NC Music Magazine had the pleasure of speaking with Amy Cox recently, and her dedication to the state of music here in North Carolina is inspiring.
BT: Deep South Entertainment has two main focuses at the moment, artist management and event services. But from what I understand, you have had your hand in a lot over the years.
AC: When I refer to the history of Deep South, I say we are a company that has ebbed and flowed with the industry as needed. The only thing we haven't done as a company is open up a recording studio. We've had a bar, we've had a bar that was also a music venue, we've produced our own events, and we've done digital distribution. In the infancy of the company, Deep South was a record label. We did that because our core team wanted to stay here in North Carolina, because we love this state, and we are so proud of the music that we have here. We did whatever it took to keep moving along as the industry changed over the years. We are stakeholders in the music scene here.
BT: What is unique about curating the music at the NC State Fair?
AC: All the music at the state fair has roots in North Carolina, at the very least. But most artists are living here currently, or, have lived here in the past. We are the first state to commit to that approach. That speaks volumes about how North Carolina feels about the musicians in our backyard.
BT: The State of North Carolina has been investing a lot of time and resources to music this year. NC has a great music scene, but it feels like folks are ready to bring things to the next level. Are we on track to become one of the most recognized states for music?
AC: I think we are striving to get there. And we have been for the better part of ten years. The City of Raleigh deciding to do a music television show, Oak City Sessions, three years ago was a pretty big deal. I think the City Council in Raleigh has made an effort to keep arts at the front of their minds.
BT: What I love about arts in Raleigh is the city doesn't differentiate between a band at a dive bar or a painting in a museum. They support the arts at all levels.
AC: Definitely. The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau created a website called "The Most NC" that listed every venue in Raleigh. Raleigh has the most music venues in the state. Away from Raleigh, other cities are focusing on music more as well. Greensboro has a new-ish amphitheater, Asheville is certainly keeping music and arts in the forefront, and Wilmington's music scene has grown immensely. From the coast to the mountains, we have created a space for the arts, which is magical.
BT: And the Governor declaring 2019 the "Year of Music' in North Carolina is a huge commitment.
AC: It sure is. And we can't let this momentum wane.
BT: What are the responsibilities of our role as music lovers and ticket buyers in NC? How can we helo the music scene grow?
AC: I think it's pretty simple, but easy to not do. Go and see live music. Be present. Give a band a chance you haven't seen before. Support small venues that support local music.
BT: It's so hard to translate that simple responsibility of music lovers. I don't think the average fan would understand the risk and effort that goes into programming live music. The venue takes the risk on the band and books them, after considering a multitude of factors, and deciding which band is the best fit. And on which day. And how much the tickets should be. Etc. That is their part and their commitment. And risk is involved in every step. Our role is to buy tickets so the venues can continue to book the shows and curate our music scene. We also need to educate ourselves on who these artists are.
AC: And I think sharing an event with friends goes a long way, too. Either on social media or by word of mouth. It's our responsibility to share our experiences and our love of music, and encourage more support for live music. And again, taking risks on new bands.
BT: We get inundated with so many events, and we have so many choices for entertainment, either out or at home, knowing friends are going to a show helps others take the leap and buy a ticket. Or seeing a social media post about a band they saw. If we see a Facebook event we think a few of our friends would like, we need to take the extra step and invite those friends to the event. We need to call friends and motivate them to come out. No matter what band is playing. We need to build a larger community that surrounds the music.
AC: We are dealing with a different era in how people support music. And how people support each other. I hope that we, as music lovers, and as a music community, can step up. We need to create more situations that foster a sense of community within the music scene. We have a lot of pockets of small communities of music lovers. But if we can bring those communities together into one movement, state-wide, the North Carolina music scene would be a force to be reckoned with. Without a doubt.