Our mission is simple, empower the best artists in the world to create ground breaking music.
We do this by pairing some of the world’s most popular artists with the icons of music, their musical mentors if you will, and allowing them to fulfill a dream in a casual unscripted atmosphere. We take the entertainers and musicians out of their normal comfort zones and put them in a new live comfort zone with a bit more edge. It’s intimidating in a positive way. A little like working without a net. When you mix great singers, entertainers and musicians, sparks fly and you get some classic and timeless moments. That’s what we are all about.
A BIT OF BACKGROUND From Our Creator Wally Wilson
How did the idea for Skyville Live take root?
Every so often we’d bring 4 or 5 new acts to play at the Basement, but the club is so small most of the audience were the other acts that were playing. I thought, why not stream our talents from our own back room? Then I realized that if we got someone a little more famous to join them maybe we could attract 500 or a 1,000 people to watch online instead of 50 at the Basement. We set up some cameras and I got the Mavericks to come play and a few other acts. We had a great time, and 12,000 people from around the world tuned in. I thought wow, this could be something.
How did it move to the next level?
- Blake McDaniel, my agent at CAA, is tremendous. We talked and eventually the idea emerged that an iconic act, might attract a mainstream act to do a bucket list experience with them and then we could add a few baby acts and build a great show presented in a loose online atmosphere. Our first show featured Gladys Knight, Martina McBride and Estelle. The second was with Kris Kristofferson, Lady Antebellum, Jason Isbell and Brandy Clark. Then Gregg Allman, Little Big Town and Chris Stapleton. When I asked Chris to perform he wasn’t nearly as big a deal as later on after his CMA performance. So we’ve also been very lucky with the baby acts. Blake connected us with LA-based Tisha Fein who books the talent. She knows everybody and has a great personality. Building the talent for each show is based upon a loose formula, but we’re also open to new ideas. For example, I’m in discussion already about a comedy show, Skyville Laughs.
What’s the staging like?
- I wanted the show to have a relaxed vibe with no MC, but we’re continually upgrading the presentation to keep it flowing. Currently we’re using teleprompters, ten HD cameras and have a crew of 50 people, mostly outsourced, who work on this show and its many elements. What you see in front of the small stage are tables where the artists and their friends sit comfortably and share relationships back and forth with the other performers. Each artist can walk up to the mic to perform and back in a few steps. Like Jason Isbell said to Kris from the stage, “I didn’t realize I’d be standing right in front of you singing your song.”
EXCERPTS FROM AN INTERVIEW WITH DAVID ROSS. READ THE COMPLETE INTERVIEW.