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FROM READERS: A California native embraces Columbia's music scene

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CST
Chantelle Moghadam recently moved from Los Angeles to Columbia for her freshman year at MU.

Chantelle Moghadam lived in Los Angeles her whole life but recently moved to Columbia for her freshman year at MU, where she studies journalism. Moghadam writes for the Columbia Missouri Music Scene Facebook page, where she interviews local bands and writes about local shows.  An earlier version of this story can be found on the Facebook page.

So, a girl from Los Angeles moves to the middle of Missouri and discovers that she does not have to give up her love for live and local music to do so. That girl is me. My name is Chantelle and I moved to Columbia just six months ago from Los Angeles, where I grew up. I quickly found my place here in Columbia by getting involved in the local music scene. But that requires a little explanation.

For three years in high school, I ran my own local music blog in Los Angeles. In between going to shows three nights a week and interviewing local bands, I became well acquainted with the vibrant music scene and its subcultures. All the bloggers knew each other. All the musicians knew each other. For such a big city, it was a tightly knit community and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find that once I left California and moved to the middle of Missouri. 

Although I have been to several shows in Columbia over the past few months, I did not feel a part of the local music community until very recently. At Mojo’s, I saw Nifty 250’s reggae-influenced set and Pluto’s Still a Planet as they played new songs off their latest release, which had come out that night. I then headed over to Roxy’s to catch the end of Don’t Mind Dying, which I’m told is one of the best bands here in Columbia. 

Clearly, I had no reason to fear leaving the LA music scene. In fact, I am starting to prefer Columbia. The music scene in Los Angeles has been around for a long time, and, with the overload of bands and bloggers, everyone is a little jaded. There is a saying we have in Los Angeles – “fake it till you make it,” which happens to be a perfect descriptor of the music scene there. It’s about who you know, not what you have to offer. 

Coming here and meeting people who are genuinely interested in making good music and meeting great people is certainly a breath of fresh air. I believe that Columbia’s music scene, though it has been around for a while, is just entering its golden age and can thrive into an “Austin, Texas of the Midwest" with enough time and effort from its local musicians, writers and venues.

I’m sure that I still have much to learn about the music scene here in Columbia, but my night discovering CoMo’s music scene was an auspicious start.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how.  Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.


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