Home of: The Spill Canvas, Myron Floren, Sitting Bull, Tom Brokaw
You can try your hand at being a rock star at Latitude 44‘s weekly open mic. This Sioux Falls venue brings in local and regional acoustic & indie rock, blues, soul, folk, bluegrass, reggae and jam bands. Nutty’s North, also in Sioux Falls, presents a variety of nationally touring artists of all genres like Leon Redbone and Strike Anywhere as well as regional and smaller touring bands. Fans of harder music can check out the 350-capacity Phoenix Lounge in Harrisburg.
South Dakota is known more for the rugged beauty of the Black Hills and Badlands National Park than for its musical talent, but 19-year-old Alyssa Atherton could be the artist who puts South Dakota on the musical map. At an age where most teenagers are just starting to think about what they want to do with their lives, Alyssa is already well on her way to fulfilling her dream of making music her career with song placements on MTV’s The Hills, The Real World, The City, Pageant Place and Cribs. Alyssa’s high-energy pop/rock sound and passionate, empowered vocals have attracted industry professionals like vocal coach Brett Manning (Taylor Swift, Haley Williams, Keith Urban) and Fleetwood Mac producer Keith Olsen, who flew all the way to Alyssa’s hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota to meet her. Alyssa’s music resonates with fans as well, as evidenced by her place in the Top 10 of the OurStage “Get Your Song Produced by Mike Flynn of EPIC Records” Channel. Alyssa took time out to answer some questions about her music and her home state.
OS: Where would you take a visitor to your hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota to show them a good time? Do you have a favorite live music venue in South Dakota?
AA: It’s actually been pretty tough in the past for live music venues, at least in Sioux Falls, but things are starting to pick up. Venues like Club David, Wiley’s and The Red Eye are helping to promote local music, and there are several new festival-type events that are getting some recognition. Some of the coolest events are the summer festivals downtown that feature music, like Hot Harley Nights, and Lifelight is the biggest Christian music festival in the country. They bring in big names every year.
OS: Who are your favorite bands/artists from South Dakota?
AA: Showbaby and Miles Over Meridian are two fairly new bands out of Sioux Falls that are starting to develop kind of a unique sound for this area, I also like Foley, and Spill Canvas, of course. It will be interesting to see what new kinds of music emerge now that there are more of us gaining prominence in the music business.
OS: Your bio on your OurStage profile includes the quote: “In Sioux Falls I always sang. There’s not a lot else for me to do.” Do you think that being from South Dakota has influenced your sound or the way that you write music?
AA: I think my musical style is more influenced by the things I enjoy than where I’m from, things like fashion, travel and life experiences. It did influence me in the sense that it was the most important thing that occupied my time, so it was almost a given that it’s the business I would go into.
OS: What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about South Dakota?
AA: That we don’t have the modern conveniences of the rest of the world, but actually Sioux Falls is considered one of the more progressive cities in the country right now. The arts and music scenes are both growing rapidly, and bands like The Spill Canvas are finally getting some national attention.
OS: What’s next for you?
AA: Writing, recording and continuing to develop my voice and style.
OS: At 19 years old, you’ve already accomplished more than many artists do in a lifetime. What advice do you have for other teens who want to make music their career?
AA: You have to really want it, and it takes an enormous amount of dedication and self-discipline from you, and lots of family support. People only see the glamorous side, but it actually takes a lot of hard work and constant development of your talent. You can’t have a successful music career and still do a lot of the things that “normal” kids do. You have to eat, sleep and breath the business.
Check out Alyssa Atherton and other great South Dakota artists in the playlist below! Who are your favorite OurStage South Dakotans? Where do you like to see music in South Dakota? Let us know in the comments!