Local musicians, producers and music lovers join thousands at NAMM convention in Anaheim

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NAMM Show at Anaheim Convention Center
The NAMM Show, which is an event that attracts over 100,000 visitors each year, took place Jan. 16-19 at the Anaheim Convention Center. Valley News/JP Raineri photo

When it comes to new musical instruments and pro audio, there’s no more important trade show than the NAMM Show, aka the Winter NAMM Convention, in Anaheim. With huge product launches from the biggest names in music-making, The National Association of Music Merchants Show attracts over 100,000 visitors each year. Anyone who loves to perform, write, sing, produce, mix or listen to music attends this convention. While retailers and distributors come to NAMM to make purchase decisions, the show is also the place to see the big picture of where the industry is heading, and spot potential growth areas for the year ahead.

This year NAMM took place Jan. 16-19 at the Anaheim Convention Center, and the Valley News took a dual approach in covering the event. As a local radio personality for Hot 103.9-FM as well as KATY 101.3-FM The Mix, I have always been able to enjoy the best of the music world, while also combining my passion as the sports editor for the Valley News. During that second week of January, I was more than thrilled to attend and cover the exhibition angle of NAMM, while local singer and songwriter Joanna Pearl and some of her team took in the musician aspect of it all in order to help write this piece for our Entertainment section.

“Music is everywhere,” Pearl said. “Even if you don’t play, you’ll hear all styles of music on stages throughout the convention and different rooms. In some ways NAMM acts as a platform for many of our local music enthusiasts to promote themselves as well as so many different things going on in their part of the music industry. There are so many facets of the convention. The nearby Hilton Hotel also has music stages and events, as does the Marriott, and the after parties have gotten so much better.”

Some local artists that took to the stages in Anaheim included Murrieta resident Tim Moyer (Songwriter Round and runs the Marriott Stage), “America’s Got Talent” Golden Buzzer winner Makayla Phillips of Temecula (Songwriter Round), Murrieta’s Dani Arribere (Songwriter Round) and Murrieta’s Phillip Ruiz (Jam In The Van with band Souleros, whose band members include the lead singer of Santana from 2012-2013, Andy Vargas.) Ruiz just got off tour with Jennifer Lopez and has worked with Tori Kelly’s band, as well. Fallbrook’s Anthony Collins (Songwriter Round and Vola Guitars) is currently nominated for 29th annual San Diego Music Awards “Best Blues” category and Murrieta’s Julia Lucius performed her own set on Marriott Stage and studies Thornton’s School of music at the University of Southern California.

The event promotes the benefits and pleasures in the music industry and their products and offers a wide range of products from more than 7,000 brand names worldwide. The most impressive aspect for me to witness was that this event is the only place where the exhibitors can connect with the customers face to face and endorse their products. The event acts as a crossroad between professionals and innovative musicians and composers to get to know each other and interact and expand business. Visitors can find every imaginable music product and learn about new products based on current trends and technology.

I was only able to attend three of the five days, and I can see why even the most experienced visitor would need five days to take in what felt like a million exhibition areas. Inside the Anaheim Convention Center, visitors will find thousands – yes, thousands – of exhibits spread throughout four floors. The best part for me was that I was encouraged to play any instrument I could get my hands on. I got to attend some primo event sessions featuring top producers in the music world, and I got to play with so many of the producing programs that are saturating the market to make production easier.

“NAMM is both fun and exhausting,” Pearl said. “I personally needed a few extra days to recover from the convention, but at same time I can’t wait to return next year where I hope to get back on the stage.”

Pearl is also a co-host on Wine Country Taxi, which airs every week on Facebook Live along with her counterpart, Kristine Turner, who has not only been part of the music scene for quite some time, but is also a former radio host from Katy 101.3-FM The Mix as well as Q103.3-FM. Many local artists seen at NAMM have been on Wine Country Taxi, which is quickly becoming a hot spot for local musicians, comedians and public figures to announce upcoming events. Check them out on Instagram @winecountrytaxi and on Facebook by searching Wine Country Taxi with KT and JP.

Joanna Pearl can be reached via email at jp@joannapearl.com. JP Raineri can be reached via email at sports@reedermedia.com.