2016 Indie Music Channel Awards Recap

I’m finally sitting down to write a blog post about my recent weekend in Los Angeles for the 2016 Indie Music Channel Awards (Apr 23rd-24th, 2016).

This was my 3rd year attending this particular awards show.  My first year was 2012, and I attended as a guest of Viktoria Tocca – who completely swept the awards that year…

Viktoria Tocca – 2012 IMC Awards

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Jennifer Thomas and Viktoria Tocca – 2012 IMC Awards

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I had such a fun time that year as a guest, that I decided the following year to enter my music in to see if it would garner any nominations, and it did.  I ended up winning 9 awards that evening including “Artist of the Year”, and “Album of the Year” (for my album Illumination).

Jennifer Thomas – 2013 IMC Awards

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By the way, here is Viktoria and I again at the Nominees Reception (2013).

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But ANYWAY I’m not here to go down memory lane, but I just wanted to say all of that to make the point that I’ve been involved with the Indie Music Channel for several years now – it is a wonderful platform and still a small enough entity where these events feel like family. I really enjoy attending.

Hence…the reason I went to the 2016 awards THIS year.  Obviously, there were a few years gap there.  For those who don’t know I had a baby in 2014 (my 3rd), and so I took an extended break. And then at the end of 2015 I released a new Christmas album entitled “Winter Symphony”.  And it is for that album for which all the nominations were for.

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So here are a few photos I thought I would share in this blog, that I haven’t shared on social media before – so you are seeing a good portion of these for the first time – woohoo! 🙂

Day 1 – LA and Film Scoring/Director’s Notes Session

Arriving in LA at my friends’ Ryan and Becky McNeal’s apartment, ready for fun!

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Oh my goodness excuse the horrible quality, but this is from the film director’s notes session I did with Alex and Ryan about their upcoming short film “Desert Rose” that I’ll be scoring the music for…

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Basically, we sit. We watch without talking. And then we watch again and talk. And then we watch again and critique. And then I try to imagine throwing the temp music out the window and what I would compose to replace it with.  The usual.

I also went out to the theater with friends to go see “The Jungle Book”, which was quite good. And the theater seats were WAY better than anything we have where I’m from, by the way.

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Day 2 – Yummy Food and the IMC VIP Reception

And oh wow, let me share just a little bit of food porn here…I went to Cafe Aroma not once, but TWICE, it was so yummy…

Man. I’m actually really hungry typing this post, and those pictures are NOT doing me any favors.

Focus, Jennifer…focus.

So Saturday night was the VIP Nominees Reception. In the past they’ve held this event in the daytime and it was quite casual, but this year it was a red carpet event held at the W Hotel in Hollywood.

Something you may or may not know about me is that I’m pretty much either in yoga pants or a formal gown.  Never, hardly EVER, in between.  The fact is when I’m at home I like to be comfortable – I work out of my home music studio AND I’m a mom, so I pretty much wear whatever is comfortable.  And then when I have music events, concerts, or videos then of course I dress up and make myself quite presentable.

But when it’s anything in-between I SO struggle.  Fortunately I found this cute striped midi dress from Alloy Apparel online (it was onlyi $39 – Score!) and it was perfect for the VIP reception.  AND I brought my beautiful and talented friend Aeralie Brighton with me. If you don’t know who she is, you need to Google her. She has a very beautiful unique voice and she has sung on many major video game soundtracks, movie trailers, and projects.

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So a funny story – is that on the way to LA I actually had some mishaps. I almost boarded the wrong flight, and I lost my drivers license making it impossible to pick up my car rental (which I was totally bummed about because I had a nice one waiting for me!).  But I discovered Uber and Lyft while there, and I gotta say it was AMAZING! I don’t know why I thought I ever needed a car rental.  Those services were so fast and easy to use, and super inexpensive as well.

Aeralie and I attempting to get a decent selfie together before embarking out on the evening, while waiting for our Lyft taxi.

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Which is quite hilarious because it literally looks exactly like the selfies we took a short while later at the W Hotel…

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Women. We are always on a quest to get the perfect selfie, right? Haha. At least I’m honest about it, come on. 😉

And a few more selfies throughout the night with music friends Greg Ryan, and Dale Edward.

Some from the professional photographer who was going around that night…

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And then here’s me on the red carpet…which, by the way, I just want to tell you that I put cushy heel inserts into my red heels that night and they were AMAZEBALLS.  So much more comfortable. I don’t know why it’s taken me years to figure that little secret out.

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It was a really lovely evening, lots of nice people and talented musicians.  Afterwards it was off to Hollywood Blvd to catch our Lyft taxi home…

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And, of course, take more selfies because well, the background looked pretty neato.

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Aeralie and I had a late night staying up laughing and talking, and finishing off our leftovers from Cafe Aroma. YUMMM. Perfect midnight snack 😉

Day 3 – Lunch with Brian, IMC Awards

The next day, I went to Cafe Aroma AGAIN, this time with my mixing engineer Brian Vibberts.  Brian worked on my album from LA while I was in Seattle and so we never met in person until lunch this day! It was great!

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A friend of mine commenting that we have almost the same face from the nose down, and oh my goodness we totally do.  Haha!  Maybe it’s the lighting, but too funny.

Anyway, Brian made my album sound pretty off-the-hook amazing.  If you’re not a musician, let me just explain to you what he does.  He is basically one of the last people to work on the album – he is the one that mixes all of the tracks together (aka “mixer”).  And on my album particularly, I had hundreds of tracks going on including a 100 piece choir, orchestra, brass, percussion, soloists and then my piano on top of it all.  It is not an easy task to take all of those hundreds of tracks and mix them at levels where everything has a proper place and sounds sonically correct.  He is one of THE key persons when it comes to the process of making music, and I couldn’t be more thankful to have worked with him on Winter Symphony.

Dress Drama

Later that evening was the actual awards show, which of course takes hours of prepping.  Here is yet ANOTHER funny story – so I actually had dress drama.  I am in the process of losing weight and I didn’t want to buy a new dress, nor did I have very many options in my closet either.  A good portion of my dresses fit me at a smaller size, and then the ones that do currently fit my body I’ve worn a bajillion times this past concert season – not to mention they are all red and Christmasy.  Not exactly a dress I’d wear in 75 degree LA weather in the spring time.

So I decided to rent a dress from Rent-the-Runway.  I’ve never used them before but I spent a lot of time browsing through their reviews and options, studying various dresses.  I’m actually a little embarrassed how many hours I spent on that site, but when you’re trying to figure out “Will this dress fit my curves?”, “Will this dress be too big or too small?” etc it does take some planning to figure it all out.

Well I narrowed it down to 5 dresses that I liked.  ALL of them ended up being rented out already and so I was not able to get them. I was rather disappointed.  So I ended up choosing a dress that was definitely not my first choice – it was a very long sequin gown in a forest green color.

Well it arrived and looked pretty awful on me. I felt matronly and unattractive, and even with heels and trying to accessorize it, I just was not happy. And when you’re getting red carpet photos taken and possibly going to be up in front of an audience – the last thing you want to worry about is your dress. You want to feel beautiful and confident!

So at the very last minute, I called Rent the Runway and explained that the dress wasn’t going to work for me and I asked if I could send it back and exchange it for a different one.  There was this black dress by designer Monique Luhlierre (the one I ended up wearing) that I was originally interested in but they didn’t have it in my size.  But they did have it in a larger size, and I thought I would just take a chance and order it in the larger size anyway.

They rush-shipped it and it arrived in LA just in time for the awards, however, it was WAY way way too big on me. Like 4 sizes too big on me.  So right before the awards show that night, Becky was literally safety-pinning me into that dress and pinching/gathering it up as tight as she could.  She also tied a big black sash around the waist and pulled that sucker in as tight as it would go.

Fortunately it had a flared skirt and so the fit from waist down was fine.  But the bodice (upper portion) was a bit of an oversized mess, and because of that I had to adjust it quite a lot throughout the evening and make sure that I was always standing for pictures in a way that hid certain things, or helped my waist look smaller.

In our Uber Taxi SUV on the way to the Grammy Museum…

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Funny enough though, I ended up getting LOADS and loads of compliments on the dress that evening.  So that did make me feel much better…

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Bathroom mirror check halfway through the awards…

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Annnnnnd blurry selfie with Prince…

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You guys. The awards were LONG and I needed to get up and walk around a bit before my categories.

And of course, I had to get my girl Adele into the shot as well…

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Okay! So back to the awards now. I did eventually go back inside.  Here is a snapshot of my friend Greg Ryan, whom I was sitting next to, with a very “deer in the headlights” type of look…probably because neither of us knew my flash was on. Whoops.

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Greg ended up winning LOADS of awards that night – which I was very happy for him, since he is also a fellow pianist/composer in the same genre. He flew all the way over from England for this, and he gave quite entertaining award acceptance speeches which I quite enjoyed. 🙂

Annnnd my girl Viktoria Tocca also took home a LOAD of awards as well.  I lost track, she won a LOT. Because she is awesome like that. 🙂 (unfortunately she was touring and wasn’t able to be there in person this year though ).

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My loot for the night…

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And some photos of me accepting the awards…

If you really want to know how I felt the absolutely stupidest that evening, was when I failed to acknowledge BRIAN during all 3 of my blasted acceptance speeches!  (Music Video of the Year, Best Classical Music Video (over $5K), and Best LIVE Classical Performance.

Not only am I an idiot when I get up and have to accept an award, but my mind goes blank and I forget to thank all the wonderful people who contributed.  I was thinking “Ok video award, so I’ll thank Ryan and Alex because they directed and edited it, and yes I’ll thank my husband and children”, etc….and then I’d sit down right next to Brian and say “CRAP!!!”.

3 times people.

So right now, I’m having a redo.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank my AMAZING sound engineer/mixer Brian Vibberts, whom, without him this album would not have sounded half as amazing as it did.  Thank you Brian.

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I made up for it though be letting him hold my awards for red carpet photos. 🙂 I’m KIDDING!  I totally wanted him to.

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And then here is Ryan, Alex, and I…

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And here is Greg and I again at the end of the night…

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ANYWAY.

We caught our Uber ride back home, ordered pizza, and I personally put my pajamas on and once again finished my 2nd set of leftovers from Aroma Cafe (YUM) around midnight-ish. We all celebrated our wins for “Alleluia” (my music video that won two awards), and then called it a night.

Day 4 – Heading back to Seattle

The next morning I was up and off to the airport…with bedhead and leftover awards show makeup. Because I’m lazy like that.

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And SPEAKING of #airportbathroomselfies, we terribly missed Glen Gabriel this time. He lives in Sweden but he also obviously played a huge role in Winter Symphony and it would have been so fun to have him at the IMC Awards.  BUT hopefully we’ll be seeing him in LA this November for the HMMA Awards because…

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More airport, uh, stuff…

And then back home…

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Yes, on order to get home I travel by taxi, then plane, then car, then boat, and then car again. 🙂

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One of my friends from home commented that she enjoyed seeing my FB updates while I was in LA, and asked me if I felt like I lead a “double life”.  Because, you know, picture me usually at home in my yoga pants and a top knot and that is the real me.

I will say that having these special music events to go to always makes me feel inspired to be a better musician. I love being around other creative people and seeing them work hard as well.  It definitely inspires me.

AND I always come home a better mother as well – having a few days break to be a kidless adult does wonders for my mommy heart. I always come home more ready than ever to love them and give them my attention. 🙂 My hubby as well. 🙂

Until next time…

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