Making Waves

By Kevin Tankersley

Meet three women who are influencing the Waco music scene

Waco is home to a vibrant, diverse music scene. It’s alive with country music, of course, but punk rock, jazz and hip-hop are thriving here as well. So why does it sometimes seem that there’s just not much live music happening here? If these scenes are so lively, why haven’t we heard more about them?

Those are questions that three Waco music lovers are trying to answer. They’re also working hard to promote and support local musicians, and they’re the leaders in an effort to get Waco certified as a Music Friendly Community through a program from the Texas Music Office. A recent session at Brotherwell Brewing regarding that designation may have caught the director of the TMO off guard, but a diverse crowd that turned out for that meeting at least showed him that Waco is home to several genres of music, and folks are willing to work together to take the steps necessary to earn that certification.

Wacoan writer Kevin Tankersley discussed the state of the Waco music scene with a news anchor who is using her platform to share the stories of creative people who often go unheard; a radio disc jockey who earned a show after braiding a DJ’s hair while he was live on the air; and a co-founder of Keep Waco Loud, who’s a little awestruck at how far her start-up has progressed in a few short months.

The Amplifier
Lindsay Liepman

Lindsay Liepman is a native of Mexia, but her job in television news has taken her to Bryan-College Station, where she graduated from Texas A&M University and worked for KBTX-TV; Springfield, Massachusetts; Fort Myers, Florida; Portland, Maine — where she learned that cowboy boots don’t provide great traction in the snow — and Austin. She’s now glad to be back home in Central Texas, where she co-anchors the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts on KXXV Channel 25. In the year that she has been at Channel 25, Liepman has begun two feature segments on the newscasts: “Forever Families” and “Texas Voices.”

WACOAN: Who all have you featured on ‘Texas Voices’?

Liepman: I do a mix of local talent and then more national stars. Ray Wylie Hubbard was one of the first guys. [Asleep at the Wheel’s] Ray Benson, Ryan Bingham. Some of the local folks have been T.J. Bell; Donna Beckham, who’s from West; Kayla Ray. I went to Nashville to cover Billy Joe Shaver’s award [for songwriting from the Academy of Country Music].

WACOAN: Why is it important for you to tell these stories, especially of the local folks?

Liepman: I don’t think I set out with that in mind. I enjoy interviewing creatives and artists because they’re very empathic and they always have a story to tell. But I started to see a theme, especially with our local artists, of incredible talent — talent that I feel can stand up to anybody else’s talent out there — but they may not get that much exposure. I looked around, and I said, ‘Well, the local news is not consistently highlighting these folks,’ and there is just this underground well of incredible people.

[Country singer] James Hand, just down the road in West, why has that guy not won a dozen Grammys? Because he’s just as good as other folks that I’ve seen on that level. Take T.J. Bell. The guy tap dances; he plays the guitar with his teeth. In all the Austin night clubs I’ve ever been to, I’ve never seen anyone doing that.

It’s such a privilege to get to give them a little more exposure and give them something [to use] as well. When you tell their story, they have something that they can share on social media or they can show maybe another club where they’re trying to play. ‘Look at this story that was done on me.’

Then that’s what got the wheels turning on me reaching out to the Texas Music Office. How can I use my position to provide more opportunity to these folks? That’s how all of that started.

WACOAN: Tell me what about the Texas Music Office program caught your attention.

Liepman: I kind of found out about it through the grapevine. Some of the stories that I did [when I worked] in Austin got me connected with folks that are in the music industry there, which put the Texas Music Office on my radar. I saw that they had a Music Friendly Community program. They don’t give you grant money. They don’t come in here and tell you how to run your city’s music industry. But it’s a certification process where your community decides, ‘What kind of programs do we need [to support musicians]?’

For me, specifically, I [feel] like our artists need things like health care, those type of infrastructure things that could help them make more music. If you want to have a day job and then play music at night, that’s great. But if you want to be a working musician in Waco, I want Waco to be a place where you can find a community that supports what you’re doing. For example, Fort Worth’s program launched the gas card initiative. So if you’re a member of their association, you can sign up to get, I think, like a $500 gas card to help you get to gigs that are out of town. If them, why not us? Why can’t we do those things?

It was about nine months of planning, of talking to everybody, figuring out how we can do this, what it would look like in Waco, figuring out who’s interested and who’s the stakeholders. We had folks at that meeting [in August with the Texas Music Office] from the symphony to reggae, hip-hop, venue owners, record labels, record producers.

The real eyeopener for me, what really lit a fire, was the Texas Music Office keeps a directory of what each city’s music industry is. And they gave me that printout, and it said that we had 23 working musicians. And I scoffed at that. We have such a great musical community, but I feel like we’ve been fragmented. The hip-hop community does their thing, and the symphony does their thing, and the country music folks do their thing. How can we all work together? Because we might have some common obstacles or challenges, and we can be stronger together.

And so that night, when Brendon Anthony came from the Texas Music Office, he was just blown away. What I loved about it — and this is the whole point of it all to me — is when I looked at the crowd, it was just every kind of person you could think of. And I’m like, ‘This is Waco. What you see in this room, with all these different kinds of people and experiences.’

WACOAN: So what happens now?

Liepman: Now we’re to the point where we’ve got all the information. We are in the process now where we’ve got to designate basically a liaison that either has to be in city government or a nonprofit, and then the next step will be creating an advisory board that looks just [as diverse as] that room out at Brotherwell. And then those folks will listen to the community.

We’ve already got a music census underway through Keep Waco Loud, to get people on the radar, to be able to give that information to the state. I think we’ll get that certification probably within the next six months. We’ve given ourselves six months to complete all the different steps, which includes education stuff with [McLennan Community College], which has a great music program.

WACOAN: What does the Waco music scene need?

Liepman: Cohesiveness. We need communication [with] each other. We need the public support.

The Waco music scene, as many others, is competing with Netflix. We’re competing with people just staying in and not coming out. There is an argument that [Waco] needs more venues, but then venue owners would tell you that they put out the live music and people aren’t coming in.

So I think that it needs more cohesion to work together to amplify the voice, so we’re marketing ourselves. If people knew what was consistently out there, I think people would be more willing to come out and support.

WACOAN: What do you like about the Waco music scene?

Liepman: For me, it’s not hard to navigate. You just have to go out and see what you can find. One of my favorite things about traveling to other [cities] is when you just kind of happen upon some great live music or you happen upon a great restaurant. And I feel like consistently you can do that in Waco. You can find these hidden gems.

WACOAN: Who’s your all-time favorite artist?

Liepman: Patty Loveless. I would literally fall over if I met her. I love her voice. I love her songs.

WACOAN: Who else would be in your top five?

Liepman: Bob Seger. If we’re going Texas, of course George Strait. I love Texas country. William Clark Green. Billy Joe Shaver is a bad ass. Locally. Kayla Ray is just amazing. I really, really like Kacey Musgraves. I like the songwriter Shane McAnally who’s from Mineral Wells.

WACOAN: Is there anything else I need to know?

Liepman: I am doing a Waco hip-hop documentary. It’s going to be finished mid-October. We’re going to submit it to South by Southwest. We’re going to submit it to Deep in the Heart Film Festival and also some out-of-state film festivals in the hopes that it tells the story of our Waco hip-hop scene. I’m a country girl, I grew up on country music — and this is interesting [to me].

[Mexia] might be my second documentary. Mexia was like a ‘Footloose’ town. All the churches got together when MTV came out, and they petitioned Northland Cable to get rid of MTV. Do not air MTV on cable, and they didn’t. So when MTV was huge, in the ’80s and ’90s when I was growing up, we didn’t have that in Mexia. But they forgot about CMT and BET. So we were very much exposed to country music and hip-hop music. And I find a lot of parallels with the artists and the fact that the music sounds very different but the people who create that music are all storytellers.

Waco has an incredible hip-hop story. It’s a story of triumph, tragedy. There are people here who almost made it big. There’s the story of Hi-Five [an R&B group], who came out of Waco. But the Waco hip-hop community is still waiting for the credit and the exposure that they truly do deserve. And within the hip-hop community, they have fantastic videographers, graphic artists, clothing lines. There’s all these things being done, and they’re not being done bootleg. These are legitimate businesses and business people doing these things in Waco.

I interviewed about 25 people, including Hustler E, who is considered the godfather of Central Texas hip-hop music. This completely exposed me to a whole other part of the Waco music scene. I became great friends with DJ Precyse, who’s over at 94.5 The Beat. That station is so much more than music. And that’s why to me, this goes back into news. This is like a touchpoint for the community. This is how you know what’s going on. And I’ve met all of these wonderful people that have shown me another side of the Waco community through the music scene. And it’s changed the way that we cover news here, you know?

Many of these hip-hop artists grew up in East Waco or North Waco. And when there’s a shooting, when there’s something negative happening, we of course will go out and cover it. But for nine years, one of the hip-hop artists, Devian Mims — his stage name is Big Binky — he has had a backpack giveaway, and no [media] ever showed up. He did the interview with me, and he said, ‘Nobody ever shows up, and I need the community support. I give away hundreds if not over a thousand pairs of shoes, backpacks, supplies. No one has ever given us support.’ I said, ‘Ann Harder will have you on her show.’ He came on Ann Harder’s show, and the station was a sponsor. We came out. We helped with the backpack giveaway and everything. And a lot of people have said, ‘Why are you doing this? What’s your tie to the hip-hop community?’

But it goes back to storytelling, and this is more than music for a lot of the folks that are trying to use this form of music to elevate their lifestyle, to support their families. A lady came up to me, and she said, ‘I just want you to know that I thought you’d come out here and just kind of show up and then leave. But I’ve been watching you for hours, and you showed up with your own kids and you’ve been helping. You’ve been talking to people.’ I told her that I appreciated her for seeing me for what I’m trying to do here. And what I’m trying to do is use the position that I have to try to represent the community as a whole. I wasn’t trying to get a pat on the back. I’m truly trying to help people that for a long time haven’t had their stories heard or validated.

I was just going to do one ‘Texas Voices’ segment, and it has turned into what’s going to be a full-length documentary. We’re going to have a Waco premiere with a red carpet, a screening, a hip-hop show attached to it, a Q&A. One of the artists said that people get afraid of something they don’t understand. Maybe the music doesn’t sound like their life story. When I listen to country music, I identify with country music, but there are people who identify with hip-hop as that’s their life story.

And so it’s really exciting for me to kind of jump into something that I don’t know a whole lot about. I have been exposed to some of it, but I think it’s something that will help the Waco hip-hop community in general. So that’s my big, big project that I’m working on. It’s the first documentary I’ve ever done. We’re about 75 percent done.

I just want us to truly be the best Waco that we can be. We’re not one-dimensional. We’re not one thing. We’re multifaceted, and the music community is just one part of that. I saw a place where I could help, and so that’s why I’m into it. And they’re my people. Music people are my people.


The Beat
MaryJane Evans

On Saturday nights, from 6 to 9, MaryJane Evans hosts a program on 94.5-FM, The Beat. She and her co-host play a variety of hip-hop and R&B, take calls from listeners and just have a “girls party,” as she calls it. Evans graduated from Waco High School — the first in her family to do so — in 2007 and was homecoming queen her senior year, which was quite an accomplishment since she had dropped out of school a few years earlier.

Evans is married to Edwinn Evans, who helps keep Baylor athletes healthy in his role at the Beauchamp Athletics Nutrition Center. They have two sons: E.J., 3; and Malcolm Xavier, 2.

WACOAN: How did you get into radio?

Evans: I work at a hair salon with one of my best friends, at Beyond the Chair salon. And I actually got on the air from doing hair.

I’m from Waco, moved out of Waco after I graduated high school. Went to Dallas, got married, went to hair school, had my first son. After my first son I had decided to come back home. And then once I got home, I was doing hair.

I needed to gain clientele, and I posted on Facebook, needing braiding models. I just wanted to show off my skills here in Waco. DJ Precyse hit me up and said, ‘There’s a guy here who needs his hair done at the radio station.’

And I was thinking, Bingo! Because one, I’ve always wanted to do radio, and I felt like that was my opportunity to get there. And then two, it was going to expose my hairstyling skills. So I came up here, and I did the hairstyle while he was on air.

I did pray before I got to the station, about the radio station, not even about doing hair. I was just like, ‘God, if this is your will, let it be done. If it’s not, don’t let me be disappointed.’ I clicked with DJ Precyse immediately, and at the end of the night he [said], ‘Is [radio] something you would like to do?’ Yeah, I would. He goes, ‘I’ll talk to the owner, we’ll get it all set up.’

Ever since then, I was interning for about six months with DJ Precyse on the ‘Tight at Night Crew.’ And then after six months I was able to have my own show on Saturday nights.

WACOAN: So you didn’t have any radio experience?

Evans: No radio experience, no education in it. I got in off my personality and just being willing to learn and work at it.

[My show is] 6 to 9 on Saturday night. We named it ‘Sexy Saturday.’ It’s me and one of my friends, Talyssa Felan. My sister or other friends will come along. It’s like a girls party sometimes, where we’re all just hanging out and [talking] gossip, hip-hop news or just funny, sexy topics, things like that. We play hip-hop and R&B.

R&B has always been my favorite genre. I love all genres. My mom was well-rounded in music, from Tejano to New Edition to Ozzy Osbourne. We listened to The Temptations. We listened to everything.

I feel like I could go to any radio station and blend in because it’s all about music. I don’t function without it. I get ready with music. I study with music. I clean my house with music. Everything.

WACOAN: You’re the only female hip-hop DJ in Waco. What does that feel like to you?

Evans: It’s awesome. I love everything that we do in the community. I love being a part of the high school pep rallies. We do a soccer game at the end of the year with South Waco. We give out turkeys on Thanksgiving.

I like being behind the music and, you know, expressing whatever on my show, but my favorite part about being [a part of] this radio station is being out in the community in Waco and seeing our people and helping out wherever we can.

WACOAN: When you did Precyse’s hair when he was on the air, what did you do?

Evans: I did a freestyle design. It was just off the top of my head, nothing planned. I just went in with the comb and gel and just started braiding. I don’t know what it’s going to look like until it’s done. He was extremely happy. During his show, he was telling everyone on air, ‘Oh my gosh. It’s looking so good.’ He really loved it.

WACOAN: What do you think about the music scene in Waco?

Evans: I think it’s very diverse, with lots of talent. I don’t think I realized how much talent there is in Waco until I got involved at the radio station.

I also host the hip-hop party. We do a private hip-hop party every month. We’ve been doing it for five months. Pirscription — that’s his artist name — throws these hip-hop parties where it’s raw hip-hop artists, local artists. Everyone’s from Central Texas. They play nothing but local music in between performances, so you get a good feel on all these names that you don’t hear of until you go into something like this.

And Keep Waco Loud is doing rock shows. I think it’s very cool to see Waco developing the way that it is, especially in the music. Everyone’s supporting each other, and I think it’s awesome. It’s very diverse.

WACOAN: Where do the hip-hop parties take place?

Evans: It’s a private hip-hop party, so we don’t reveal the actual address on the flyers or anything on social media. But all you have to do is hit up someone you see on the flyer, whether it’s an artist or me. Me and Pirscription host together. The radio station sponsors the show, so you can call the radio station because we’ve had different locations.

It’s a big-time networking event. If you’re really into hip-hop, if you’re in the media or if you’re wanting to network, like if you’re doing music, if you do music videos, they go to the hip-hop parties. We give away music videos. We give away music beats. The best performer at the hip-hop party gets an interview on my ‘Sexy Saturday’ show. It’s a really good event to bring everyone together and support each other.

WACOAN: How do you give away beats?

Evans: Producers make beats that artists will buy and create a song from that music beat. It’s the background music. There’s always about three beats sponsored by local producers. Everything’s local.

WACOAN: What do you and Pirscription do at the parties?

Evans: We’re both hosts. We hype up the crowd. We introduce each artist in between [DJ sets]. When we can see the crowd getting hyped to the music, I’ll go ahead and say, ‘Hey everyone, y’all go find that music.’ The artists don’t have to be there for us to play their music. They can just send it in. We’ll let the crowd know because they might not know who this person is or where they can find this song.

There are also freestyle sessions there. In between performances we will drop a beat from a local producer, and the artists grab the mic and take turns on the mic. They just spit lyrics freestyle, just like how I did his hair. They’re not knowing what they’re going to say prior to saying that; they just go off the top of their heads. That’s my favorite part of the hip-hop parties because you have to be talented to do something like that. I could never freestyle. I can freestyle on braids, but I can’t freestyle on the mic.

WACOAN: You said all the acts are local.

Evans: Yes. All the music is local.

WACOAN: I didn’t know there was that much local hip-hop.

Evans: Exactly. Me neither. And then you go to some of these shows, even like the rock shows, and I’ve been to an R&B party at Spin Connection, and it’s very impressive. I get to see people I don’t know, and it’s like, wait, you’re from Waco? Let me follow you on Instagram. We get connected that way. I become a fan. A lot of my playlists have a lot of local music now.

WACOAN: How many acts normally perform at the parties?

Evans: Six, maybe more.

WACOAN: And how many people attend?

Evans: I would say between 100 and 200.

WACOAN: What else do you like about the music scene in Waco?

Evans: I love the support. I love that it’s growing and the potential that it has. I just want everyone to use that platform to make our city better. My favorite thing about being in radio is reaching out to the community and giving back.

WACOAN: During your show, can people phone call in and talk to you?

Evans: Yes.

WACOAN: What’s the best experience you’ve had with somebody calling you up?

Evans: It’s pretty cool, like guys say, ‘Oh, I’m at the barbershop, and we’re listening to you.’ I wouldn’t expect barbershops to be listening to ‘Sexy Saturday,’ you know. And at the Hughes Unit [prison] in Gatesville, they can hear. We get mail sometimes, like during the Christmas season, we’ll give them shout-outs and say, ‘You know, everyone who’s in jail right now, we just want to send our love to y’all. Y’all keep your heads up.’ We pay attention to our listeners.

On Mother’s Day [weekend] one time, we had a ‘Sexy Saturday’ mothers’ show, and we had our moms on the show. I remember reaching out to the women’s prison, and I said, ‘You know, y’all are still moms. Y’all come home and take care of them babies. You know, they still love y’all no matter what.’ And then a lady wrote in [from prison] and said, ‘You had me crying. I’ve been down on myself, and then when I heard you say that, you reminded me that I am still a mom and my kids do still love me.’ That’s what really matters to me. It’s making differences and inspiring people.

WACOAN: What does the Waco music scene still need?

Evans: I think the only thing that we’re missing is exposure, ’cause we have all the talent.

WACOAN: Do you have memories of the music scene from growing up here in Waco?

Evans: I want to say it was a Cinco de Mayo show that used to be in [Brazos] Park East. I remember seeing some artists there, and I just fell in love with music. I remember watching a girl performing and thinking, ‘Wow. She looks like she’s having fun.’ I just loved it, and it was something I connected with, the music, after seeing the live performances and people having fun and enjoying themselves.

WACOAN: Do you have any musical ability?

Evans: Besides DJing, no. I have a love for music, but I don’t sing or anything.

WACOAN: Who’s your favorite artist of all time?

Evans: Of all time?

WACOAN: Of all time.

Evans: It’s hard because there are so many artists and so many genres. I’ll say Natalie Grant. She is a Christian artist, but she’s like perfect. She has the best vocals, inspiring lyrics. I’ll go with her because she’s had the most impact on me.

WACOAN: Who else would be in your top five?

Evans: Mariah Carey. She’s one of my favorites. Tupac. Pimp C. He was a hip-hop artist from Houston.

WACOAN: What else do I need to know?

Evans: I’m in school at MCC studying sociology. I’m going to go to Texas Tech [University] through the University Center. I want to be a juvenile probation officer and work in the high schools as well.

WACOAN: What motivates you to get into that line of work?

Evans: My childhood. I had a little bit of a rough upbringing in Waco, and I was in and out of juvenile [detention]. It was my fault, but I feel like if we had better solutions, like The Cove now — we didn’t have The Cove then, but if we did — then I could’ve gone to The Cove instead of juvenile. I just didn’t have anywhere else to go pretty much. But I feel like there are kids there who just need inspiration and they need a direction. And I feel like God put that in me to do that. I’ve experienced it, so I felt like I could relate to them.

I know that’s my calling. I know my calling is to inspire young kids. I also volunteer with the youth ministry at my church. It was finally, let me go get this degree so I can finally do what I plan. And now I’m back in school, and I’m ready. I’m ready to follow that passion.

My juvenile probation officer changed my life. I dropped out in ninth grade, and I was going to be just like the rest of my family members. But he changed my perception. He said, ‘You know, you have your own choice to make. You have your own life to live.’ My brothers, my mom and my uncles, everyone knows them in a negative way. And he just opened my eyes one day and changed the way that I was thinking.

After that, I got back on track at school, got my credits, got back into my class — because I had failed out of freshman year — and then became homecoming queen my senior year and graduated. It was a Cinderella story if you ask me.


The Hype
Katie Selman

Katie Selman spent a lot of time in Waco during her younger years. Her parents are from Central Texas, and she considers Waco home. She went to Georgia Southern University and graduated with a degree in political science with a minor in creative writing. Since then, she’s lived in Atlanta, Houston and New York. Most recently, she was in Brooklyn before making the move to Waco 2 1/2 years ago to help run a family business. She’s married to Jacob Green, who is director of operations for a construction company in Brooklyn, though he works remotely from here. He’s a musician, the singer and lead guitarist for the band Uncle Brother.

In May, Katie and Jacob launched Keep Waco Loud in an effort to bring together musicians — of all genres — and venues and music lovers. They’ve led the effort to get Waco designated as a Music Friendly Community by the Texas Music Office.

WACOAN: What was the impetus behind Keep Waco Loud?

Selman: Jacob and I have always been doers. We like to do things. We like to go to festivals. We like to go to music things, comedy. We’ve always done that. When we came to Waco, we found ourselves going to Dallas and Austin to see some of the things that we like to see, some of the louder music, punk rock, hip-hop.

The more we dug, the more we saw that those things really were here in Waco. They were just kind of hidden, and we thought that they deserved a spotlight and a place for them to perform.

We sat down with a few people. Pirscription — his name is Payton Bryce — we sat down with him, and he said that they’d been throwing hip-hop shows for a long time. They just can’t find places that would actually host them, even though they would hire security and cleanup teams and all that. We just found that to be kind of sad, and we wanted to help give them a voice.

The punk scene here is so cool. I met this guy, Omero Leon, and he was doing this thing called Old Digs. It was this like makeshift, kind of mash-up punk rock concert series that was in a garage. There were lights, and it was loud, and it was hot and sweaty, but it was so much fun.

WACOAN: Being new to Waco, how’d you find these people?

Selman: The first time I saw it was a poster on Reddit, on the Waco subreddit, and I was like, ‘Oh, this sounds really cool. This is exactly what we’ve been looking for.’

We found these shows that were in garages, and then we said, ‘Let’s try to put these people in legitimate venues. Let’s try to give them a voice so people know they exist,’ because the more people we talk to, the more people didn’t realize that these places, these venues or kind of shows existed at all. So that’s how Keep Waco Loud kind of started.

Then Brotherwell [Brewing] reached out to us and they were like, ‘Hey, let’s put on a show.’ We had no credibility to our name at this point, and Brotherwell just kind of took us in. We ended up putting on a few shows there, and they were pretty successful.

Then we put on a show for the Texas Music Office. And we had punk rock, hip-hop, country, rock, all of these genres in one spot.

WACOAN: What did you hope to accomplish with that show?

Selman: The main thing is we want to show the Texas Music Office that there is a very strong music community here. There is a solid foundation of really good musicians here in Waco. A lot of times they just have to leave Waco to have places to play, but the musicians and the talent are here.

WACOAN: What’s the process to become certified as a Music Friendly City?

Selman: The first day [Brendon Anthony, director of the Texas Music Office] comes down and explains what the process is. He has an information session, then we had a Q&A [session]. We have to do a music census. We need to find out everybody in the city who is either a working musician, an instructor, a venue, an organization 501[c]3, anything that’s music-related. We need to do a music census and show the overall economic impact of music in Waco. We put a census on our website — KeepWacoLoud.com/census — and in the first couple of hours we had probably 50 people already sign up on it.

WACOAN: What all does Keep Waco Loud do?

Selman: One thing that has been kind of an unexpected thing that’s happened with Keep Waco Loud is that we’ve been able to go into [businesses] that are trying to get more people through the door. We’re not going to a place that’s already an established [live music] venue. We put on a show there and their numbers quadruple what they would normally do that night. Another thing that we’re trying to do is just create more things to do — and there are plenty of things to do but great things to do that are diverse. We’ve done music and comedy. That’s kind of been our niche.

WACOAN: When did Keep Waco Loud begin?

Selman: We launched officially on May 1 of this year.

WACOAN: Besides your husband, who’s your favorite band or musician?

Selman: Manchester Orchestra. Hands down.

WACOAN: Who else would be in your top five-ish?

Selman: I would have to say Explosions in the Sky, Bon Iver, Pink Floyd. One that’s gotten me recently and I’m just jamming [to] all the time is Lizzo. I’m obsessed with Lizzo.

WACOAN: What else do I need to know?

Selman: A lot of people ask us what exactly Keep Waco Loud is. My joke is that we’re still trying to figure it out.

It was something that kind of happened, and it has turned into something that we weren’t really expecting. We were not expecting any kind of reception that we’ve received.

The people we’ve met have been amazing, and I really, really hope that Waco, while it’s experiencing really, really good growth right now, I hope that everyone gets a seat at the table. That’s really our main goal, to make sure that everyone in Waco benefits from that growth.

WACOAN: Did things with Keep Waco Loud move quicker than you were expecting?

Selman: Way quicker. I thought maybe we’d get to throw a couple of cool shows, maybe get a venue to let us put on a show every now and then. I never expected that over a hundred people would show up at a show that we threw. Or that we would sell out the Dad Joke [comedy] show [on Father’s Day].

WACOAN: So does Keep Waco Loud act as a promoter or producer? Something else?

Selman: Kind of both honestly. I would say maybe a promoter/event planner/hype person. We like to be involved in the community too. We’re doing this as a labor of love. We have not made a dollar. We’re kind of in the hole. My husband likes to say that we’re digging a very deep hole, but it’s really fun down here. We’re having fun.

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