Local Musician To Take Part In Up & Up Festival

When I sat in with Sage Tanguay for Monday’s edition of The Morning Dew, she pointed out what a great resource Allegheny Mountain Radio is for showcasing local musicians. Not all those local musicians play guitars or fiddles though.

“Hey guys – my name is Aaron King, better known as AK Lion. I am an electronic dance music artist, and I’m from Monterey, Virginia. I make electronic music as well as DJ around here and other places, like Harrisonburg, Staunton. I’ve been DJ’ing and making music for the better part of a decade.”

Being an old, uncool guy, I asked Aaron to explain what Electronic Dance Music is.

“Basically, EDM as a whole is dance music and there’s a whole culture about it. It’s fast beats, big bass lines, synthesizers, and some, you know, auto-tune voices, robotic voices, and big bass drops.”

He explained what he used to create his art.

“Drum kits, synthesizers, a laptop – that’s, I mean, that’s the most crucial thing really – mixing and stuff like that. I mean, basically, I just make music in my bedroom, basically. So, but it’s nice to get my music, once it’s done, like out on social media and different platforms. And it’s a lot of fun, and I just try to keep my equipment up to date. That way, you know, I can make the best music I possibly can.”

He also had some very exciting news to announce.

“I am opening up for a guy by the name of Slushii, who is also one of my favorite artists. He’s an electronic dance music artist too, and so I’m opening up for Slushii, over at JMU, at the Hotel Madison, for the Up & Up Festival. And basically what the Up & Up Festival is, is it’s a student-won competition. It’s a 48-hour competition that, there were like 45 to 50 schools competing. You had to be in the top six, so JMU placed fourth. That’s pretty cool. So this is probably the biggest event to come to Harrisonburg and the surrounding area in quite some time, maybe even ever, and now I’m part of it. So it’s crazy – like the first day I really posted about it, my phone was blowing up, all day long man. But it’s a huge deal for me, especially because being a small time artist, and being from such a small town as this – and I can’t really explain, like, my feelings right now, because I’m still in shock. I just hope that, you know, a lot of people come out and have a good time, because it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

I asked how this opportunity came about.

“I submitted my SoundCloud link to the Up & Up JMU page. And then, I just kept following, kept following, and then I got an email at two o’clock in the morning, saying that I was chosen. I was half asleep when I read the email. So, like, I couldn’t really do anything because, I mean, it’s two o’clock the morning  – I can’t really celebrate.”

He can celebrate now by giving more of the details.

“It’s going to be on Saturday April 20th. Doors open at 7:00 pm, I go on at 7:30 pm, and play for 20 minutes. It’s at JMU – it’s at the new Hotel Madison, out on South Main Street, Route 11 in the Conference Center.”

More about Aaron’s music and the Festival can be found on his social media, @aklionmusic on Instagram and Twitter.

I asked Aaron whether one could make a living distributing music on social media, and while he said it was possible, that really wasn’t his current business model.

“I just release music for free, and just let people hear it, and if they enjoy it, I mean, that’s my main source of happiness. I mean, as long as my music, you know, touches people in a way that makes them –  if it makes them happy on a sad day, or if they’re going through something, you know, I just want to make people happy with the music that I create. So I’m just trying to make the best music possible for everybody – I try to make music for everybody.”

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

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