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Gerard Way-blog

Gerard Way performs at the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City. Photo: Kris Lori Photography

I was lucky enough to attend the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City Oct. 21-25. My time in New York was honestly a blur because of how much I tried to fit in, in a short amount of time. However, I have to say that it was an amazing time and I’m so grateful for the chance to attend .  It would be hard to capture everything that went on at CMJ so here are a few highlights.

 Day…uhh Night One:

The first night in New York I ran to pick up my CMJ badge, checked into my hostel and went to Brooklyn to see Big Picture Media’s showcase. Big Picture Media is a publicity agency in New York City that handles several clients and musicians; one of them being CMJ Music Marathon in general. I was excited to attend because a band that was recently at UIC was performing — Night Riots.

That night was fantastic and I was happy to chat with the band and hear that their tour was going well. I then had the pleasure of meeting Amber Crisci, senior publicist of Big Picture Media. After years of working with them and their clients via email, it was great to put a face to the name. That night was the perfect way to start my CMJ experience. Oh, and congratulations to Night Riots for signing with Sumerian Records!


Day Two:

It’s a bright shining day in NYC… just kidding it’s raining. Perfect. I made my way to the Kimmel Center at New York University, the home of all the CMJ daytime events. The best part are the industry roundtables because I got to meet music professionals who work in the area that I want to work in. I specifically met someone who owns a touring agency in the UK and someone who manages festivals in the UK as well. In other words, networking is essential!

I then made my way to Red Distribution office to attend a special event that ‘Stache Media, a college marketing division of Red, was hosting for present and past college representatives. Our day was filled with meeting with music professionals like the president of RED Bob Morelli and private performances from artists like The Crookes.

I then rushed over to a private event that I found online that was hosted by BandsInTown, an application that tells you when your favorite band comes in town. It was at the SquareSpace Offices, a web design company that has teamed up with BandsInTown. We were given free drinks, food and a chance to mingle with professionals and musicians alike.

Finally I ran to Webster Hall to photograph my first show in NYC — Gerard Way. The former frontman of the New Jersey band My Chemical Romance released a new solo album called “Hesitant Alien” that is amazing. I arrived at Webster Hall with my camera ready to capture the night. To be honest, my inner preteen Kris was fangirling like no tomorrow; I was a big fan of Gerard Way. Within the first two songs that he performed, the girls at the barricade did something I didn’t think was possible… they broke it. Yes, the barricade began to bend and was hurting the fans so Gerard Way stopped the show and the venue cleared out the barricade before resuming the show.


Night Riots - blog

Night Riots at CMJ. Photo: Kris Lori Photography

I had the great opportunity to tour Electric Lady Studios, the studio that Jimi Hendrix created in NYC. The home of so many albums and songs from Stevie Wonders, Lana Del Rey, The Clash, John Lennon and Hall & Oates. Thank you to their staff for that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Back over at RED offices, we were given the chance to meet with several labels like Wind-Up Records (Five for Fighting, Young Guns), Downtown Records (Cold War Kids, Mapei) and some more performances (Donn T, Colony House). It was fantastic to see and meet so many people who are just as passionate about music as I am. It was amazing to learn about things that I was never taught. It was sad to depart at the night of the day to so many wonderful and hardworking ‘Stache representatives.

My final night in New York I decided to spend at the United Palace photographing Foster the People. Their performance, time after time, is nothing short of extraordinary. It was truly a pleasure to see them again in such a stunning venue.


Day Four:

I wake up and it’s bittersweet to say goodbye to the moments I’ve had in the city during CMJ.  Each artist I saw brought something new to the table, each person I met were passionate and every memory I made unforgettable. So shout-outs go to UIC Radio for letting me attend this amazing week of music and to Big Picture Media for managing the event so nicely and a for putting on a great showcase. Also to RED Distibutions and the labels that came out to speak to the representatives, that was very kind of them. Then a thank you to Kate of The Syndicate, for meeting with me and catching me up with all the events that have been going on since Lollapalooza. Then of course to CMJ for hosing the event in general and bringing into so much talent into NYC.

Below are the artists that you should definitely check out from the CMJ lineup:
Gerard Way
Foster the People
Bombay Bicycle Club
Dark Waves
Colony House
Donn T
Cold War Kids
The Crookes
Twin Peaks
Emily Wolfe


Kris Fuentes Cortes (F)


Kris Fuentes Cortes is a senior in communication, a Boston native, an active student around campus, and a dreamer of working in the world of music. She wants to become a tour manager for a band and travel internationally while she’s still young. She’s the assistant marketing director for UIC Radio.


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