This video is of me, Jim Gaven, performing an original song at local music venue and club, Katmandu, located in Trenton, NJ. Shot in 2009, it brings me back to a simpler time in life. Myspace was rampant, collecting 'friends', or as I thought of them, potential fans. I was single and was about to buy my first house. Amazing how so many things happen in 10 years. The song is called, 'The Girl Next Door' and is just about that. It's about falling in love with the girl next door...someone in your neighborhood...someone you might have went to school with. It's not about a fantasy person like a celebrity. It's about the real deal with someone in your realm of possibilities and proximity. Written in an open tuning, it is a song I used to love to play live. This is before I actually fell in love with the woman I am now married to.
Since then, Katmandu changed names and owners to Rho, and is now called, 'Coopers Riverview'. Every Wednesday night for multiple years, Katmandu held a singer/songwriter showcase for local singer/songwriters and musicians to perform their original material in front of a small to medium sized audience. I'll never forget these nights. It is here where I learned how to actually network with other musicians and play to the crowd. Before then, I played open mic nights and booked my own gigs, but didn't have a sense of what it meant to read the crowd, interact with them, or network at all. It was an honor to be a part of these nights, and on multiple occasions, I was the featured artist of the night. The mood was always positive, people were kind and generous, and the sound was better than any other venue I had played at before.
It's amazing to think that all creatives really need is a platform to get their art out there. Yes, we had the internet, but it wasn't like how people use it today. What Katmandu brought was a face-to-face interaction in real-time for people to perform and listen to original music. To find something like this nowadays is a rare occurrence. Most venues want musicians to play music other people have heard of, cover or tribute bands, if you will. But, the Katmandu singer/songwriter showcase was different. They encouraged musicians to be original, to play their own material. I respected that. They were taking a huge chance, because, let's face it, no one really knew the musicians songs. There's something to be said about being OK with the unknown, to willingly learn something new and put yourself out there. Not only were the musicians excited to be there, but the people enjoying the music as listeners (the crowd) were something special. And, not just special for being there to listen to original music on their own time, but on a Wednesday night nonetheless. It wasn't even a weekend!
If you couldn't tell, I can't speak highly enough of what Katmandu did for me as a songwriter, musician, and business person, but also what they did for other like-minded musicians and the local community. Trenton isn't the nicest of places, but they created this environment that was warm, welcoming, and safe. Kudos to them for being able to pull something off that might seem crazy to an outsider or the untrained eye. I appreciate everything you did for me, whether you knew it or not at the time.