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Humans of the U: Vishwa Srinivasan

A student's dream will become reality on May 21 in downtown Salt Lake City.

"Two things have always rung true in my life: I’ve always loved rap music and for the most part,  I’ve always been trouble. In middle school, after meeting with the principal one too many times, she diagnosed my behavioral problems as a result of listening to too much rap music. Perhaps.

Like most people, I started listening to music through family. Growing up, I would visit my family in India every summer. When I was 10 years old, my cousin Goodu gave me a flash drive and told me to go listen to it when I got back to Salt Lake. That flash drive contained the album 'Freedom' by Akon and 'Paper Trail' by T.I.

Let me tell you something. If you let a 10-year-old Indian kid in the suburbs of Salt Lake listen to Akon’s 'I’m so Paid,' nothing will ever be the same for that kid. I was hooked, and I never wanted to hear The Beatles sing about some dingy submarine again.

Unfortunately, living in Salt Lake isn’t exactly conducive to a love for listening to rap music. Cities like Houston and New York and Atlanta embrace the rap scene. In these cities, local clubs act as the launchpad for Billboard-topping careers, and local rappers are given a platform upon which to shine. In Salt Lake, the local scene is dominated by indie and alternative music, and local venues almost exclusively book such artists. As a result, local rappers find themselves shut off from opportunities to perform locally, even as they perform on a national level.

I realized that I wanted to provide local rappers with a platform in Salt Lake. I’ve always thought it would be cool to have a concert in an alleyway—they provide a beautiful backdrop. The catalyst for the idea of getting a special permit to put on the concert came when I visited friends at Notre Dame who were applying to get a special permit from the city of South Bend to throw a house party for 2,000 students. I left South Bend thinking that maybe 25% of that idea was good.

A friend made an introduction to Talitha Day at the Gallivan Center, who in turn made an introduction to Ryen Schegal, Emily Snow and Amy Nillson at the Special Event Permit office. I applied for a Special Event Permit and now we are deep into the operations and promotion phase of this project.

Our event will feature three local artists. Peech hails from Park City and has a large national following, with 50,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. Snicks is from Rose Park and makes gritty yet melodic trap music in the stylings of Atlanta. Gavanni came to Salt Lake from Nigeria and makes afrobeat music that sounds like how honey tastes. I am excited to showcase their talent and show Salt Lake that the local music scene cuts deeper than just indie or alternative music.

Shoutout to Bryan Potts. Bryan solidified my love for rap music and he taught me how to bark. Rest in power."

—Vishwa Srinivasan, student, finance and mathematics

Event information

Alleyways Amplified
May 21 | 7-9:30 p.m.
257 S. Edison St.

Click here for tickets.

  • $10 in advance
  • $15 day of

Local businesses on Edison Street will be doing promotions on the day of the concert:

  • Brick & Mortar
  • Diabolical Records
  • RocTaco