Emerge Music + Impact Conference is created and produced by ABP Media’s parent company, A Beautiful Perspective. Leading up to the conference, we’re featuring some of the musicians and speakers who’ll be performing in Las Vegas in April 2018.
Las Vegas — Mike Henry, wearing black Beats headphones, squints at his computer screen, scribbles in red Sharpie on a blank sheet of paper, and then goes back to his screen. More scribbling. More squinting. After a while, he rubs his eyes, pulls the headphones off his ears and sighs.
“I don’t think I’ve ever listened to this much new music in my life,” Henry says. “It’s starting to play tricks on my brain.”
That’s saying a lot for Henry, talent and development director for A Beautiful Perspective, who has made a life and career around music and discovering bands. He previously worked in Austin, Texas, as a club owner, talent buyer, musician and event producer. These days Henry is hard at work filling the roster of bands that will make up the Emerge Music + Impact Conference.
A Beautiful Perspective, a new event and media company helmed by Rehan Choudhry, is dedicated to thought-provoking journalism, impactful storytelling and live experiences to get people informed, inspired and involved in the world around them. Emerge, the company’s first event, will take place on the Las Vegas Strip April 6-8, 2018.
Along with Henry, the Emerge talent lineup is curated by 25 industry experts, including Grammy Award-winning producer Rob Cavallo, SiriusXM host Matt Pinfield and event partner Reynolds Management. Additionally, musicians that have already sold millions of records and toured the world, including Imagine Dragons, Kaskade and Gerard Way, lead singer of My Chemical Romance, are serving as curators, recommending their own favorite rising artists. A speaker series, built around a handful of topics, is curated by Lisa Shufro, who previously worked on TEDMED and Downtown Project.
The speaker series will feature dialogues exploring shared experiences seen through the lens of common areas of divide and disagreement, such as religion, politics and gender. Two of the session are entitled “Dealing with our Fear and Loathing” and “Questioning Success in the Age of Social Media.” The speaker program features singer-songwriter Jill Sobule, MTV World founder Nusrat Durrani, Quartz’s Entrepreneur in Residence Khemaridh Hy, the artist and food futurist Miru Kim, and more to be announced.
Founder Rehan Choudhry comes from years in the entertainment and event industry, previously serving as the director of entertainment and special events at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. In 2013 Choudhry created Life is Beautiful, a music, food, art and learning festival in Downtown Las Vegas that draws 30,000 attendees each day.
Choudhry said he noticed, from his own experiences and talks with people across the music industry, that it was difficult to navigate larger festivals with thousands of bands.
“You’re attending a showcase out of convenience instead of value because the product mix has become so complicated. The experience is overwhelming,” Choudhry said. “If you want something focused and curated, where do you go? And the answer is, there’s nothing out there right now.”
The producers of Emerge have developed a proprietary algorithm using a dozen different data points, including social media engagement and streaming numbers, to help determine which artists to target. While no band is eliminated for being too small, there is a threshold where the team axes acts that are too well known and established.
Thirty bands are already on board, and another 70 will be added to the roster before November.
“If we found a guy making music in his garage, no streams at all, if it were awesome enough we’d book him,” Henry said.
The primary goals of Emerge are to drive attention toward worthwhile bands through live showcases, and foster discussion and debate on a variety of topics with the speaker series. That cannot be done if the conference is not accessible, Choudhry said. To that end, Emerge is partnering with the Communities in Schools, UNLV Foundation and the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs to distribute 250 tickets to fans of all ages who would not normally have the means to attend.
“We want to make a positive impact on the world via an accessible, diverse emerging event for our attendees and community,” Choudhry said.