Michele Clark is the woman behind Sunset Sessions, the music industry events that have brought together artists and business players since 1998 and officially concluded this May. But although there may not be any future Sunset Sessions conventions, it’s impossible to deny the impact Michele and her brand have had on the music world. AXS conducted an e-mail interview with her last week to look back on almost 30 years of Sunset Sessions.
“I wanted to create an experience where radio programmers (and then music supervisors, too) could come to see, listen and connect with the new (and legendary) artists I hoped they would support,” Michele told us. Since 1998, Sunset Sessions evolved to include discussion panels, keynote speakers, superstar spotlights, listening parties, late night lounges, alumni unplugged jams, media row, live broadcasts and charity work – and garnered the support of major organizations including The Recording Academy.
Along the way, many major artists passed through, including James Blunt, Joss Stone, Fun., Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, Colbie Caillat, Sia, Grace Potter, ZZ Ward, Ryan Adams, The Black Keys, Five for Fighting, Edwin McCain, Lex Land, Eve 6 and Pete Yorn. Still other notables were guest performers and speakers, such as Melissa Etheridge, Stephen Stills, Chris Isaak, Jimmy Cliff, Sammy Hagar, Lucinda Williams, Eddie Money, Ziggy Marley, Carlos Santana and Stevie Nicks.
What Michele accomplished was bringing together everyone in the music business who needed to co-mingle. She exposed new artists to record executives and radio bosses, enabled veteran performers to share their knowledge with up and comers, and provided help and support for a number of charitable organizations such as MusiCares. In fact, she revealed that her biggest takeaway from nearly three decades of Sunset Sessions is how artists connect with each other and industry professionals in an authentic, human way, creating friendships that not only change careers, but also change their lives.
She’s now focusing her energy in a similar but different direction, focusing on her Life Source Retreats that aren’t specific to the music business. But she still has a passion for music, and she’ll always be respected for her contributions. She revealed that she’s still hearing songs launched at Sunset Sessions on the radio today!
Michele told us that while May’s Sunset Sessions was the last convention, she doesn’t see how it could possibly be the last Sunset Sessions. She believes the brand will outlast the actual event, saying, “The most important aspects of Sunset Sessions will continue to grow and evolve in new and exciting ways, connecting artists and industry with each other in the purest of ways.”
If you missed the conventions, music fans and artists can still get involved with the community online. For more on Sunset Sessions, visit their official website.