D Grant Smith ~ The Appetizer Radio Show

D Grant Smith

D Grant Smith

We feed our heads with a lot of different things. Our eyes are fed images and color, our mouths taste flavors and temperatures, and our ears dine on audio and music. Each of these receivers has palettes for what is enjoyable and what isn’t.

When I was a college student, I had this notion that there were musical styles that are similar to the culinary arts. I didn’t eat Ramen every meal (or at least not the same flavor pack) in those college years, and neither is it healthy to eat the same thing again and again as an adult. The same is true with music. That concept developed itself into an audio feast of musical flavor called The Appetizer that is now is heard across the globe.

The Appetizer Radio Show is often confused with being a program about food, and rightfully so. It’s not common for a food metaphor to be the title of a music program. But once people hear the program and taste the samples of different styles of music, the idea really comes to life for the listener and great connections happen.

We started making independent music a fixture on the radio show in 2007 and, ever since, indie music has taken over the majority of our 2-hour program. When we aren’t playing indie music, we play established and well-known artists’ B-side tracks that commercial radio (or even Pandora/Spotify) don’t play at all. B-sides are those album cuts that true fans love, songs that were never put in front of radio/media programmers because the record companies wanted to push a single instead, hoping it would be picked up.

D Grant Smith and Civil Wars

D Grant Smith and The Civil Wars

Some artists only have the singles with any real value in their repertoire, but the truly remarkable artists have so much more. It is these musicians and these undiscovered tracks that we highlight.

Here, nearly eleven years later, a lot has changed. In the time period of a few years, our program is now heard across the country in 8 states on terrestrial (FM) radio and online in Canada, Germany and the UK (pending stations there). There are also countless folks who listen to us weekly through our website. We’ve done exclusive concerts and interviews with emerging indie sensations like William Fitzsimmons, Matt Morris, Andrew Belle, The Civil Wars, Lindsay Katt and others. Check out our website for podcast interviews. Music discovery is available in abundance.

Technology has changed our ability to access music in the last decade. When we first got started in 2003, social media was something a few Ivy League kids were in the process of starting, but didn’t have a complete platform for. Myspace was still a relatively safe place to interact with folks without feeling like a predator/prey (forgive me, but that’s how many people including myself saw it over the past 5 years). We discovered new music through attending concerts, mix CDs our friends made, and if you happen to be lucky enough to work for a radio station (like I did).

Nowadays, all you need is Google, let alone a myriad of other online music resources to find stuff you didn’t know existed. Pandora, Spotify, Mod, GooglePlay, and a host of other apps put music in your ears at the press of a button. But these aren’t resources for genuine discovery, which is a disservice to the artists as much as it is to the audience.

D Grant Smith and William Fitzsimmons

D Grant Smith and William Fitzsimmons

Artists need connection, just like anyone else. Indie artists can have a successful career that’s built on a core amount of passionate, loyal fans. For some artists, that core fan base can be 500-1,000 people and they will be successful after they stop playing music. Other artists need a larger core. Having a strong connection to these core fans is what allows them to carry their music career.

Indie radio platforms like The Appetizer help to strengthen that core connection, because music fans want to connect with artists beyond just having a song or 2 in their iTunes library. Core fans not only go to concerts, they bring as many friends with them that can fit in their car. They talk about how much they love the new demo that their favorite artist just posted on their fan page. They share content on social media and they’re the first to lineup after a show to get a picture with the artist. Indie music platforms like mine foster these connections and cultivate new opportunities for artists to grow their core.

Artists helping artists is a very valuable thing in a world where the “Me-First” mentality is so widely prevalent. Finding other people and resources who not only promote your work, but celebrate your contribution to the greater good of the arts is something to join forces with. Folks like Amused Now are certainly very valuable to this artistic culture and I’m very honored to join forces with them in promoting undiscovered music so that new connections and new discoveries can be made.

Together, we can make the world a better experience.

The Appetizer logo D Grant Smith
The Appetizer Radio Show