Hear it on the Rooftop: Emergent Seed’s winning artists’ showcase
In September, NPR named Neffy, an emerging singer-songwriter from Arlington, the 2021 Tiny Desk Contest winner. Her soulful crooning and soothing guitar strumming is reminiscent of her musical influences (such as Tracy Chapman and Adele), but her growing success as an artist has been supported by local ties. “I see her Tiny Desk win as a win for the region and testament to how creatively rich the D.C. metro area is,” says Adrianna Smith, the founder and executive director of Emergent Seed, a local organization that supports, spotlights, and nurtures emerging creatives in the D.C. region. To date, Emergent Seed has supported more than 60 musical artists via four rounds of grants totaling more than $20,000. With numbers like that, it’s hard to believe that the organization formed in April 2020, but that’s exactly what happened. “We’ve worked to respond quickly to the need in the local performing arts industry due to the pandemic,” Smith explains. Neffy was one of 11 winners in the first round of grants. Emergent Seed offers winners $500 to use however it is needed, mentorship, and a professionally recorded video of their winning performance in a music studio. The organization also offers runner up grants to “honorees,” who receive $150. But it’s not just the money that helps winners hone their craft and grow their audience: The mentorship from established artists, Smith says, is arguably more valuable. She believes the work of the organization is especially crucial now, as the performing arts industry has been crippled by COVID. To celebrate Emergent Seed’s artists, the organization is hosting its first official showcase of award-winning artists on Oct. 24 on the Wild Days rooftop. The event will kick off with performances from the round four grant winners before highlighting other grantees. A jam session and open mic will follow. The event begins at 5 p.m. on Oct. 24, at Eaton DC’s Wild Days rooftop, 1201 K St. NW. emergent-seed.org. Free, but registration is requested.