Fun At OMG Music Fest In Chicago

May 23, 2014

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The anticipation for Chicago’s OMG Music Fest has been building for months, and last weekend the fans and performers finally gathered to make an unforgettable weekend, filled with great music and very loud screams.

With the lineup consisting of Georgia Rose, Austin Porter, Tristan Blaine, Grant Landis, Isaiah Grass, Tyler Matl, Alabama Capital, Reed Deming, Alyssa Shouse, Round2Crew, and Jacob Whitesides, it was bound to be a fantastic show. All-access pass and camera in hand, I got the chance to speak with Grant, Alyssa, Pape and Chase from Round2Crew, Nathan and Caleb from Alabama Capital, and Austin Porter. Fans waited outside for hours and according the first, most enthusiastic, fan in line, she’d been there since 7 in the morning. If that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is.

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After the line started moving and hundreds of screaming girls got a selfie and hug from their faves, the show had to begin. While the first performer did their thing on stage, I went backstage to talk with Round2Crew. Pape and Chase were ready for a short interview, so I got a chance to ask them a few questions, including “what is one word you would use to describe your relationship,” in which they both immediately responded, “laughing! We laugh every second of the day!” They also agreed that “Morning After” is the best song on their new EP, On Our Way. “It’s a more party, go out with your friends type of song,” described Chase. I talked to them each about what music means to them and Chase dished, “I use music to keep me going in life,” while Pape added how he “thinks about music every second of the day.” “We’re able to record and sing what we want,” said Chase. They’re proud of their success so far and can’t wait for their family of fans to keep expanding.

Next, I got to chat with the lovely Alyssa Shouse. Later on, she performed an outstanding cover of Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea’s new mega-hit, “Problem.” I asked Alyssa a multitude of questions, mostly pertaining to her career and where she sees herself going in the future. She dished on her love for Drake, not being able to pick just one song as a favorite, and shared her love for covering all Demi Lovato music. I asked Shouse what she most wanted people to know about her as she grows as a musician, in which she responded, “I would hope that people remember who I am. I don’t want people to think that if I progress that means I change as a person.” Holding herself with great poise the whole time, I could tell Alyssa Shouse is going places and everyone will know who she is in the near future.

Grant Landis, a 14-year-old heartthrob among avid teen YouTube watchers, was another interview I couldn’t wait to get. Grant was more than ready to be asked a few questions and was quite enthusiastic about the whole situation. “My fans never seize to amaze me. It’s just… they show me so much support and love,” he said while talking about is so far fame. He raved about his love for the fans and how important they truly are to his musical experience. “Music is something I can basically express the way I feel without having people judge me,” he explained, “It’s like a safe haven.” Grant’s love for music was so apparent throughout our whole conversation. He may be young, but Grant Landis is very well spoken and confident in his musical capabilities.

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Another star of the night, Austin Porter, was beyond polite for a 16-year-old boy with hundreds of girls screaming his name. He shared with me his love for poetic rap music and how important being a different type of artist is to him. I was curious to know where Austin would see himself in ten years and his answer was quite refreshing. “Ten years… let’s see I’ll be 27. I might still be doing music, I might just be producing people at that point, or I might go into helping kids with theater.” Porter just wants to share his love for music with people, so whether it be singing, producing, or working with high schoolers in theater, he’ll be happy. Not many 16-year-olds have dreams like Austin but his essence makes his dreams seem like a reality.

Lastly, Alabama Capital, the dashing duo consisting of 19-year-old brothers, Caleb and Nathan, were not only killer on stage, but totally into what I had to ask. These are two very articulate guys who have a serious passion for music. “I think our number one goal as artists is to be more than just artists.” They repeatedly told me how much they want their music to touch the people around them and how being more of a family than just two songwriters and singers is top priority. “The most important thing to us is just being able to impact their lives,” Caleb shared. The fans seem to be their driving force for everything, just as so many other artists would say. They agreed that their purpose is to “encourage them to be there for each other.” A song Caleb wrote, titled “Sweaters In July,” was written about the struggle teens go through to be perfect, and the pressure teenagers constantly receive from outside sources. Both of the boys bounce their ideas off one another and working together makes their music all the better.

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Though I was only able to talk with those five acts, every performance was extremely memorable. Every one of them had a presence on stage that only true entertainers do. Possibly the most anticipated performance of the night, Jacob Whitesides, closed the night. The girls lucky enough to stand front row were screaming over Jacob, telling him how great his hair looked causing an immediate response from Jacob saying, “my hair cut is not perfect! It’s too short!” And a loud roar of “no’s” was heard among the entire building. Jacob sang an array of songs including “Lego House” by Ed Sheeran, “Pretty Brown Eyes,” by Cody Simpson, “All Of Me” by John Legend, an original song, plus a few more, pleasing the entire crowd.

The overall atmosphere at OMG Fest is almost indescribable. Anytime fans come together to support their favorite artists you can feel the excitement in the air. Lisa McQueen, one of the hosts for the night (and also Austin Mahone’s aunt), was another fan favorite. I could tell how much she loved every artist and fan there. Lisa was so dedicated to making the OMG weekend the best possible and she most definitely succeeded.

Check out some more photos I took at the OMG Music Fest here!

– Sophie Pipitone (@sophiepipitone)

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