Sunset Sessions give rising acts—and a few familiar ones—a chance to connect with fans

Music industry showcase open to the public at the Cosmopolitan Nov. 8 - 10

The Black Keys at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan on Feb. 20, 2011.
Photo: Erik Kabik/Retna/ErikKabik.com

The Sunset Sessions come to the Cosmopolitan this weekend, marking the first time in its 15-year history that the music-industry gathering will be open to the public. Music fans have a chance to check out a handpicked slate of promising new and established acts at a premier showcase that’s helped launch the careers of artists like Fun., Maroon 5 and The Black Keys. We caught up with founder Michele Clark to chat about what’s in store.

What do you see as Sunset Sessions’ role?

I hope it gets the music industry more excited about new music again. It has gotten more and more difficult for new artists to be heard when there’s all these new compliance laws and regulations. The way everybody operates and does business has really hurt new artists because radio stations don’t want to take a chance. They can’t afford to. I try to make a human and genuine connection between the artists and people who can make their careers.


Sunset Sessions
November 8-10, 4 p.m., $25 per day
Cosmopolitan's Boulevard Pool, 855-455-1055

For a long time, the Sunset Sessions has been an tailored for music industry insiders, but this year you're opening it to the public. To whom will Sunset Sessions appeal?

Fans, anybody who’s interested in the discovery process. It’s like the real-life American Idol, where tastemakers discover superstars of tomorrow. So if you like new music and want to be a part of the discovery process, it’s perfect for you.

The truth is that the public’s reaction to the artists onstage will influence the gatekeepers. The audience genuinely has opportunity to help an artist they love.

The event doesn't just showcase new bands. There are some very established artists playing, like Steve Earle. Why?

Sometimes an artist wants a re-imagining of how they’re perceived. This is a consolidated way for artists to reintroduce themselves to the industry. They do interviews and showcases with way more people than they normally could in one day. It’s a way to get through to jaded people who they wouldn’t reach otherwise.

This year you’re giving proceeds from the event to a number of charities, including local ones like Three Square that were picked out by some of the artists. What inspired that?

Giving back has always been really important to me, and opening the event to the public gave us a perfect avenue to do that. A lot of artists have said to me they want to this to mean something more than just a showcase. They were really excited for the opportunity to do something for the local community.

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