Kicking off Bogota Music Market (BOmm), Colombian singer-songwriter Andres Cepeda joined Billboard‘s Leila Cobo for a virtual fireside chat on Sept. 14 where Cepeda shared how the COVID-19-imposed lockdown has inspired him and his music, his Oct. 2 livestream from Catedral de la Sal in Colombia and how the shutdown of the live industry has opened new doors for up-and-coming artists.
Cepeda was the first of many panelists to be featured on BOmm’s first all-digital edition with programming that includes 20 panels, workshops and showcases running through Sept. 18. The full program and viewing instructions can be accessed here.
Below, find three takeaways from the 45-minute chat with Cepeda.
Advice for artists who depend on touring?
“I worried most about my team because we canceled so many shows and it really impacted my time. From my privileged position, I understand that there are people who are in a more difficult position. When I started my career, I used to survive because of my shows so I know the type of impact that can have on an artist. It’s time to look for an alternative to monetize our jobs. We need to figure out other ways to be creative from editorial content to the work we do via social media. We’re slowly trying to find alternatives to employ people.”
What’s a trend that was born out of the pandemic you hope continues post-pandemic?
“We are used to doing stuff in a very specific ways and now everything has changed. I like that we have minimized and simplified our artistic direction because it filters talent and art from entertainment. We hadn’t paid attention to those artists who are now putting themselves out there, in the most honest and artistic way possible. It differs from what we’ve been seeing before. I also love that people are also being more profound and creating stuff that allow us to reflect. That’s a great opportunity for a lot of us.”
Can a new artist thrive amid a pandemic?
“Yes! We’re breaking away from the norm or what was established so there are new opportunities for people who want to express themselves on spaces like Instagram to TikTok. And we’re paying attention to that. People are finding ways to communicate and stand out and that’s refreshing for our industry.”
BOmm, which is put together by Bogota’s Chamber of Commerce, is perhaps best known for its business speed-networking sessions, which will pair 250 Colombian artists and bands with national and international agents, managers and talent buyers representing venues and festivals. The market is also offering networking between agents, plus, for the first time, 15 established Colombian acts who will be able to meet, virtually, with international buyers.
In addition to panels and meetings, BOmm will also feature 19 showcases scheduled during the five conference days, with an emphasis on acts steeped in folklore like Puerto Candelaria and Rolling Ruanas. Although the speed networking sessions are closed, anyone can register to virtually attend the panels and conversations, or watch the showcases. Panels include a guide to indie releases hosted by CD Baby and a panel on musical journalism.