Diversification in Athens Music Scene


Writer: Brittany Johnson

Whether you’re listening to it or performing it, music is a universal language that brings people together. That’s why local music producer Wes Johnson formed ‘With The Homies,’ a group of talented young artists in the Athens community who linked together through Facebook.

Wes Johnson, founder of 'With The Homies'
Wes Johnson, founder of ‘With The Homies’

“We’re a lot of different cats, you know, we all do got our own sound – some rock, some jazz, some neo-souls in here too,” says Wes, a small, plastic boom box swinging from the necklace he wear.

Wes, along with many local artists, struggle with the feeling of inclusiveness in the Athens music scene. He says that it does not provide much diversity, and in his words, is very cliquish. Local singer/songwriter Bobby French agrees.

“I’d say it’s pretty limited. There’s not a lot of R&B and hip-hop that goes on, especially downtown.”

Lewys Evans, a member of ‘With The Homies,’ feels left out altogether.

“This is a music city – or I’ve been told it’s a music city – but, like, you know, where’s the music for me?”

Although the city of Athens is known for a certain sound of music, Manager of Wuxtry Records and member of international psychedelic band Olivia Tremor Control, John Kiran Fernandes says that it is imperative to always stay true to yourself.

“When we first moved to town, there weren’t a lot of people doing the type of music we were doing.”

He also notes that Athens is a great place for local artists with a variety of venues and clubs to perform.

“We sell a lot of local stuff here, so there’s a good record store. There’s good clubs to play. There’s a college radio station where, if you bring them a CD, they’ll play your music. Things are pretty good here for local musicians.”

Without fresh new artists like Bobby French and Wes Johnson, the modern Athens music scene will continue to plummet.



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