At the end of January, I packed my bag for a fun-filled weekend in Nashville, Tennessee to celebrate my good friend’s birthday and see her family.
Bailey Bryan, whom I was visiting, and I have practically grown-up together; from playing city-league basketball in fourth grade, allowing terrible fashion decisions in middle school and focusing on what our true passions are in high school. At the end of October, I said “See You Later” to her as she and her family set off to pursue her dreams of a career in music in Nashville.
18 is a big birthday and I was having difficulties figuring out how and what to gift to someone so vital to my young life. After some research I found out Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were in Nashville for her birthday weekend; I couldn’t let this opportunity fly by us, so I booked my trip and notified my teachers of my absence.
Bailey and I aren’t your usual adult-teens. Aside from schoolwork, we love to get hands-on experience in our fields of interests, and we would much rather attend a networking event than a social gathering with our peers, any day.
Our first full day began at 9:30, which is early for Nashvillians, at a music label for a proposal meeting. A normal teen would find this boring, but I’m always interested in seeing the inner workings of the music business, so I was thrilled to accompany her.
After a few meetings, Bailey, Heidi (Bailey’s Mom) and I headed downtown to see the sights. Leading up to my trip, the southeast had been getting what the news referred to as a ‘Snowpocalypse.’ I was suspicious, simply because the news’ only job these days is to blow things out of proportion, but my entire stay was beautiful with weather in the high 60’s. We wandered down music row, visited Bailey’s favorite coffee shop, called the Frothy Monkey. I would compare The Frothy Monkey to Café Vita on Capital Hill; industrial interior with artisan coffee.
We ended our jaunt downtown at Nashville’s Public Library, which was immaculate, like a capitol building. It had modern art lining the walls, cute rooms with categorical literature and was well kept. One room that Bailey and I focused our time was in The Civil Rights Room. The walls were plastered with photographs of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s many acts of the fight for freedom and of fellow activists in that time period. The room was truly breathtaking. After always hearing about how the South is still somewhat divided, I noticed this during my trip, like with the Civil Rights Room. The city is proud to present a powerful activist, taking pride in his or her great strides for human rights, but as you re-enter Broadway, there are multiple shops displaying the confederate flag and other significant paraphernalia from the Civil War. Witnessing such demonstrations makes me really discouraged and sad for the false pride that southerners hold.
Saturday morning presented itself with blue skies and highs in the 70’s(Thanks Global Warming?). Bailey’s mom had the great idea to go on a hike around Lake Radaner. The hike was beautiful with great sightings of turkeys and other animals appearing from the forest. Coming from Washington State where we have an abundance of mountainous hikes to partake on a daily basis, yes I know we’re very blessed to have such access, but I couldn’t help but laugh to myself when on the hike because the south is as flat as a pancake and this hike was really tiring for those around me. We headed home afterwards so we would have enough time to primp for the evening’s festivities, seeing Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at the Grand Ole Opry. The last time Bailey and I saw Macklemore and Ryan in concert was in 8th grade, just as we both began actively pursing our passions. So it felt like full circle moment, reflecting on youth and looking optimistically into the future.
Walking into the Opry, I was surprised that they preserved their church pews for this hip-hop show. I found it a little funny, but it was truly authentic of them to keep to their roots.
I’ve seen Macklemore and Ryan almost a dozen times, and I’m always stunned by their live performances. What sets them apart from others is their unapologetic personality they provide on stage, whether its performing a comical song like “And We Danced” or getting down to impactful songs like “Same Love” or “Otherside,” they don’t skimp on heart, they go all out.
But I’m just gonna say it, Nashville doesn’t turn-up as well as Seattle does.
Nashville was a great change of pace for a weekend, and since the people there treated me well, I think my return is in order.
Hello, I’m Emma Eekhoff. I’m a 17-year-old that would rather be networking for business than at a party with my high school friends. I’m not afraid to share my stance on something, whether it is an art form like music or recent events in the world. I’ve been writing in a journalist setting for only a few years, through my high school’s online newspaper, The Growl Online or for a music blog. I love to connect and network with new people in the worlds of business and music, travel to new places and eat new interesting foods.