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I'm moving to the States, but where?
Old 13th December 2019
  #1
I'm moving to the States, but where?

Hi folks, just wanted to hear some opinions and experiences from some of you.

I'm getting married in the coming year and moving stateside once the greencard kicks in. I'm a Londoner, so the prospect of leaving took a bit of time to get my head around, but it looks like that's what is going to be happening.

My other half is from the Florida, and whilst I am open to the possibility of living there or giving it a shot, I want to live somewhere that has a reasonably robust creative scene. I want to be around musicians though, and most of my close circle of friends in London are musicians of one kind or another. I'm not mad keen on the prospect of living in Miami, based on my brief experience visiting the place, but I am not ruling it out if there is scene there. We're considering Fort Lauderdale as a possibility in the short term, but also considering Austin TX, New Orleans, and other places in the south east of the states.

Are any of you guys based in any of the afformentioned places, or nearby cities? I'm a city-boy, I want to live somewhere with a reasonable concentration of people, and a creative, forward-looking music scene (ie not just dance clubs, or blues bands, or acoustic cover bars for tourists - I've been to Key West. No thanks.) Can anyone give me any insights into this part of the world, or advise me on places to do research online other than facebook groups?
Old 13th December 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
What about L.A.? If you dig the west-coast liberal vibe you should be happy there.
Old 14th December 2019
  #3
Trying to stay nearer to the east coast (for now at least) for a number of logistical reasons. Plus it's an expensive city and I'm somewhat tired of that living in London.
Old 14th December 2019
  #4
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gideon K View Post
Hi folks, just wanted to hear some opinions and experiences from some of you.

I'm getting married in the coming year and moving stateside once the greencard kicks in. I'm a Londoner, so the prospect of leaving took a bit of time to get my head around, but it looks like that's what is going to be happening.

My other half is from the Florida, and whilst I am open to the possibility of living there or giving it a shot, I want to live somewhere that has a reasonably robust creative scene. I want to be around musicians though, and most of my close circle of friends in London are musicians of one kind or another. I'm not mad keen on the prospect of living in Miami, based on my brief experience visiting the place, but I am not ruling it out if there is scene there. We're considering Fort Lauderdale as a possibility in the short term, but also considering Austin TX, New Orleans, and other places in the south east of the states.

Are any of you guys based in any of the afformentioned places, or nearby cities? I'm a city-boy, I want to live somewhere with a reasonable concentration of people, and a creative, forward-looking music scene (ie not just dance clubs, or blues bands, or acoustic cover bars for tourists - I've been to Key West. No thanks.) Can anyone give me any insights into this part of the world, or advise me on places to do research online other than facebook groups?
Miami is heaven for creative people
Also New York.

These are the only two u.s. cities I would live in right now.
Old 14th December 2019
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by gminorcoles View Post
Miami is heaven for creative people
Also New York.

These are the only two u.s. cities I would live in right now.
Could you expand on that, perhaps? What makes Miami so great? Are you talking about any particular part or scene?

My feelings about New York as a city run parallel to a lot of the ones I have about London. In the last 10-15 years it has lost most of the interesting it's of edgey character it had, most venues for small bands have closed down, things are a lot more expensive... weather is grim... (mostly)

I would love to hear alternative opinions though, and certainly more on Miami if you have the time.
Old 14th December 2019
  #6
i'm biased but i am always selling Memphis. Third lowest cost of living for a metro area. Clean water supply. All four seasons. Still has old functioning studios. Loads of creative types and if you can/want/etc. ...nashville is about three hours away for all the big time stuff.
Old 14th December 2019
  #7
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gideon K View Post
[. . .] getting married in the coming year and moving stateside [. . .] My other half is from the Florida [. . .] I want to live somewhere with a reasonable concentration of people [. . .]
Congratulations!

I'm thinking Muscle Shoals, AL is off your list, but it is worth considering as an object lesson. Stunningly high levels of talent grow in small places as well as large ones.

My preferences are quite different. Had I need to live in the southeast of FL, it would likely be Jupiter [a small town] - and I would drive, fly, or pass files over the Internet to collaborate, if I didn't find other talent immediately local to work with.

But back to your urban focus, I've lived in Florida [mostly in the Tampa Bay Area] since the late '60s. The music scene has suffered throughout the state, and - though worse over the past few years - it isn't a recent trend. So, I don't view the state - urban-music-scene-wise - as competitive with New York.

Still, there is a tremendous amount of talent that lives here, or that spends a significant amount of time in the state. I don't think you mentioned Jacksonville - more sprawl than urban - but a sizable population and a lot of talent. And, of course, there is Orlando. . .less population, but a lot of talent passes through.

The Florida Legislature and business developers have been struggling with how to better attract and support the arts [particularly feature film, but also music]. And I see much potential brightness for the state's future.

As to your query about alternatives to FB, I might suggest looking at the local recording studios. . .and the talent they are recording. Maybe even give them a call, DM, or drop an email about what specifically you want to achieve. You can also hit sites like BandMix - and poke around. And, of course, google, bing, YouTube, SoundCloud, etc. are profoundly strong tools. Depending on what you're into, maybe even more formal institutions [e.g. universities, schools, churches, etc.] and entertainment venues may be efficient for your search.

Chit-chatting with people in music stores is also valuable - though far more time-consuming. When I owned a music store in Clearwater back in the 80's, I met a number of no-name talented musicians with amazing skills and intuitions. Mostly, I think they had the perspective that they would never be famous, and instead decided to hit the woodshed until they were darn good!


Wishing the very best to you and your new family,

Ray H.

I should have noted that the 'hippest' place in the TBA for what I understand you to be looking for would be St. Petersburg - very strong growth in young, artistic, urbanism.
Old 14th December 2019
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by benroe View Post
i'm biased but i am always selling Memphis. Third lowest cost of living for a metro area. Clean water supply. All four seasons. Still has old functioning studios. Loads of creative types and if you can/want/etc. ...nashville is about three hours away for all the big time stuff.
Thanks. Hadn't considered Memphis but it sounds great. I've always had a certain curiosity about the place since reading about Jeff Buckley moving there to write and record during the last few years of his life.
Old 14th December 2019
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayHeath View Post
Congratulations!

I'm thinking Muscle Shoals, AL is off your list, but it is worth considering as an object lesson. Stunningly high levels of talent grow in small places as well as large ones.
Thank you, and many thanks for the detailed and very useful set of suggestions you made. I will definitely be looking into a number of those ideas listed.
Old 14th December 2019
  #10
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gideon K View Post
Trying to stay nearer to the east coast (for now at least) for a number of logistical reasons. Plus it's an expensive city and I'm somewhat tired of that living in London.
You can't have it both ways. If you want a big "creative scene" and lots going on esp musically, you'll need to be in or near a big city and it's not going to be cheap. Memphis may be an exception, I can't say, but they also have a very high crime rate, as does St Louis and New Orleans...again can't have it all.

I'd look up cost of living rates and crimes rates (assuming that matters a lot to you) etc on the net and that can help. How good the culture is unfortunately (or in a way fortunately) you can't just look up as a statistic.

I don't know if any of that helps you but FWIW!
Old 14th December 2019
  #11
Lives for gear
 
lovekrafty's Avatar
 

Nashville - cool city , lots of talent not just country
Old 14th December 2019
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Jaybird's Avatar
guess Austin is already saturated for everything now? $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Old 14th December 2019
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by bill5 View Post
You can't have it both ways. If you want a big "creative scene" and lots going on esp musically, you'll need to be in or near a big city and it's not going to be cheap. Memphis may be an exception, I can't say, but they also have a very high crime rate, as does St Louis and New Orleans...again can't have it all.
Not looking to have it both ways, or have it all. I am trying to find more info about creative clusters and places that might be fertile for the arts in general, and music specifically. With more info and research I might be able to make a more informed choice, and trade off one factor against another.

NY and London are pretty much in the far end of cost of living compared to many other places, from what I can tell. They are both business capitals more than the other places too. There are degrees of expense, property prices, etc. Trying not to rule anything out yet though.
Old 15th December 2019
  #14
here's an example of stuff that is percolating in memphis.

https://crosstownarts.org/
Old 18th December 2019
  #15
Here for the gear
 

I'll take the sling of arrows for saying it, but have you considered Cleveland, OH? Cost of living is low, pretty close to the east coast but more of a midwest vibe (ie, pretty friendly and welcoming). The music scene is fairly vibrant across genres, but metal seems to have the most active community. Plenty of venues that support local acts. If Cleveland doesn't sound appealing, maybe consider Chicago. Similar vibe to Cleveland, but a much larger metro area and population. Can't speak for the music scene, but it seems pretty solid from an outsider's perspective.

Best of luck in the move!
Old 21st December 2019
  #16
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLurker View Post
I'll take the sling of arrows for saying it, but have you considered Cleveland, OH? Cost of living is low, pretty close to the east coast
Cleveland is nowhere near the East coast. It also has one of the highest crimes rates in the country. Some things never change.
Old 21st December 2019
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
standup's Avatar
Move to my home town, Athens Georgia.
Old 21st December 2019
  #18
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gideon K View Post
Hi folks, just wanted to hear some opinions and experiences from some of you.

I'm getting married in the coming year and moving stateside once the greencard kicks in. I'm a Londoner, so the prospect of leaving took a bit of time to get my head around, but it looks like that's what is going to be happening.

My other half is from the Florida, and whilst I am open to the possibility of living there or giving it a shot, I want to live somewhere that has a reasonably robust creative scene. I want to be around musicians though, and most of my close circle of friends in London are musicians of one kind or another. I'm not mad keen on the prospect of living in Miami, based on my brief experience visiting the place, but I am not ruling it out if there is scene there. We're considering Fort Lauderdale as a possibility in the short term, but also considering Austin TX, New Orleans, and other places in the south east of the states.

Are any of you guys based in any of the afformentioned places, or nearby cities? I'm a city-boy, I want to live somewhere with a reasonable concentration of people, and a creative, forward-looking music scene (ie not just dance clubs, or blues bands, or acoustic cover bars for tourists - I've been to Key West. No thanks.) Can anyone give me any insights into this part of the world, or advise me on places to do research online other than facebook groups?
Two words...

DEE...TROIT

If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. Cheap real estate, interesting people, cool theme song ("Deeetroit Rock city!")

You'll love it.

To know how to pack, I suggest you watch "The Road Warrior" (See Lord Humungous)
Old 21st December 2019
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
Progger's Avatar
Hey, @ Gideon K -- this is a great question, honestly, and you're wise to get a broad survey of information in addition to checking things out for yourself. The continental USA is vast and there are essentially many different countries and cultures here, much like the EU, despite the unifying language. For what it's worth, I've spent quite a bit of time as a full-time creative type in the cities you're considering.

New York would, of course, be the closest thing to London that you'll find in North America. Possibly slightly more affordable, shockingly. But similarly cosmopolitan and poly-cultural, with tons of creative folks and as strong a music industry as you'll find. Not easy in the slightest, but worth it if you're tough.

Florida-wise: Miami is actually a great place with lots of wonderful musicians and creative people. A very healthy studio scene, live music scene, and touring scene. I know many world-class musicians, composers, and producers who live there and love it. I don't think anywhere else in Florida would be as strong.

I happen to live in Austin, moved back here from New York several years ago. It's a wonderful city with a very high quality of life, and it has many recording studios, some of which are quite good. There really isn't as much industry here, though, as there is in New York, LA, Chicago, or even Miami. There are some very good folks but it takes some serious time to break into the scene.

Honestly, I think the city that meets your criteria the best is...... Atlanta.

Atlanta has a phenomenal scene for music, film, and television. It has some of the most brilliant musicians on planet earth and its community is stunning. It has wonderful studios and performance venues, and it has one of the busiest airports in the world so you can get damn near anywhere else quickly and affordably. Plus, cost of living is extremely reasonable compared to what you're used to. When I left New York, and if I hadn't moved to Austin, I would have moved to Atlanta.

Godspeed!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #20
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bill5 View Post
Cleveland is nowhere near the East coast. It also has one of the highest crimes rates in the country. Some things never change.
Cleveland is in Ohio. Ohio is next to Pennsylvania, which is considered the East Coast. So yes, I think Cleveland is considered near the East Coat.

<snip - no more of this please>

Last edited by psycho_monkey; 3 weeks ago at 10:42 AM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #21
Gear Addict
 

I'm not american but I did spend a lot of time in Austin and New Orleans as I have friends (musicians) in both cities, the music scene is great!
Other than that I lived in NYC years ago and love it..lots of competition (gigs and producing/recording) but it's so big that it's always easy find your space...also you have many venues upstate not too far for gigging musicians.
I've also been in Detroit, great atmosphere, and I know it has nothing to do with music but the urban agriculture movement is incredible.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #22
Lives for gear
 

The thing about the US (IMHO) is that sure everywhere is different, but I've lived all over the place and we are so spread apart you'll find creative people/scenes just about everywhere with a decent population. Loads of creative people outside of NYC/LA...and I could come up with attractive reasons to look at a lot of places, just as much I find reasons that turn me away from others, kind of have to weigh it all. I'd base your selection on things you otherwise don't have a great deal of control over once you move...your preferred climate, cost of living, and job more than anything, fill in the blanks to what's important for you. Probably what you want to do is take a few weekend trips visiting a handful of different places to see what clicks.

If you're not into touristy attractions...definitely steer away from touristy destinations.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #23
Lives for gear
Austin would work for you, I've lived there. Way cheaper than anywhere in California, that's why I moved back to Texas. You can actually afford a VERY nice house in this state for under $250,000.

Austin...there is a 1/2 mile stretch on 6th street where every bar/restaurant has a live band playing, you can see 25 bands playing in one night just walking down the street.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #24
888
Here for the gear
 

I live in Austin and aside from maybe Seattle or NYC, I wouldn’t live anywhere else in the states. We have loads of festivals, good food and a generally good vibe. I find it inspiring living here even though the music I do gets more appreciation in European circles. I’ve lived in London and loved it, although these days it feels different somehow. Don’t move to Florida.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #25
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Pale Pyramid's Avatar
I imagine the very things you don’t like about London ring true in NYC
Old 2 weeks ago
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pale Pyramid View Post
I imagine the very things you don’t like about London ring true in NYC
Don't get me started...

I visited NYC in 2006 and then again in 2016 and all the things that have gotten worse about London were the same for Manhattan.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by 888 View Post
I live in Austin and aside from maybe Seattle or NYC, I wouldn’t live anywhere else in the states. We have loads of festivals, good food and a generally good vibe. I find it inspiring living here even though the music I do gets more appreciation in European circles. I’ve lived in London and loved it, although these days it feels different somehow.
This aligns with a good deal of what I have read or heard.

What kind of music do you make, and how does that contrast to the scene in Austin as you see it?



Quote:
Originally Posted by 888 View Post
Don’t move to Florida.


Care to elaborate at all?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #28
888
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gideon K View Post
This aligns with a good deal of what I have read or heard.

What kind of music do you make, and how does that contrast to the scene in Austin as you see it?



Care to elaborate at all?
I make experimental / industrial techno which is pretty far removed from the sort of indie rock scene that dominates most of Austin. Having said that though, there’s bands here in every genre.

As for Florida...
Attached Thumbnails
I'm moving to the States, but where?-128d42f3-24c2-4b55-add7-33047d58ead5.jpg  
Old 2 weeks ago
  #29
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Poopypants's Avatar
 

I just got back from Orlando. It's great if you like strip malls and chain restaurants for miles and miles. Lots of ads for lawyers. It's a kid friendly town with easy access to strip clubs and hookers. Not sure what kind of live music scene there is. They like guns a lot, so if you like guns, you might like Orlando. There doesn't seem to be any kind of overwhelming presence of institutions of higher learning, so you'd not be burdened with the presence of curious people.

Kidding aside, much of Florida is tourist related. I lived in Miami for a bit and did a lot of touring around the US, with lots of Florida. Florida is beaches and boating, and that's actually pretty cool, but if you want culture, you've got Miami and maybe a bit Jacksonville and St. Augustine. As you've guessed, the places that are happening will be expensive and cumbersome. And the beaches in those happening places won't be as nice or as accessible year round...

I've been in the Boston area for decades now. Originally from New York. Boston is now as difficult as New York used to be. There's no manageable city in the area that I know of where I can have the musical life I currently have without the hassle level I currently have. Being an artist has become a pastime of the idle rich. The old blue collar musicians are getting squeezed out. Still, there are a lot of thoughtful, creative people here. There are several music scenes with varying degrees of overlap. We also have snow, bad roads, bad drivers, and a failing public transportation system. Despite the growing population of mostly rich newcomers, music venues are shutting down because the real estate is too valuable. There's good and bad and no place seems much better for an older person, but if you're young you can maybe try to be a trailblazer somewhere.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #30
Here for the gear
 

Regardless of where you move to here, I would make sure you can take the local weather. Texas in summer is crazy hot, can be over 100 degrees for several months on end. Southern states can have extremely high humidity, like a never ending sauna. The west coast like Portland is rainy and cloudy for a good portion of the year. Northern states have real cold winters, 20 below zero wind chill yesterday where I am at and it gets colder. The central US like Nashville has less temp swings and is a little easier to handle. Just something to consider. I personally dislike hot summers so the northern states work well for me... If you can find a place that has the music scene your looking for plus weather that is closer to London which I imagine you are used to, might make your overall experience here much more pleasing. Unless there are things about Londons weather you didnt like, then you can adjust before you move there.
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