Eric Holt - Lovenoise
LOVENOISE, WHERE EXPRESSION IS THE ONLY THING
NASHVILLE SINCE BIRTH
Eric Holt and four of his colleagues were managing an artist in Nashville in the early 2000’s, and began to notice that there weren’t very many platforms to highlight his music in Nashville. They created Lovenoise, a weekly live music and poetry event at BB King’s. The event hosted an average of 200-300 people a week, and they’re now the go-to team when booking a show in the urban market in Nashville and beyond. They also hosted the Lovenoise Hour radio show on 92QS, boasting the number one Sunday night broadcast in the city.
Eric grew up in Nashville. “My life is very much like jazz: very much improvised,” he says. Though his two brothers are both musicians, the skill isn’t one Eric professes to have inherited, and he studied communications and went to law school instead. “I always knew I wanted to be on the business side – I loved music,” he says. “So while I was in law school, conceived the Lovenoise idea with my partners and it just kind of went from there.”
As graduation from Vanderbilt Law neared, he had a decision to make. His uncle gave him some sage, and much-needed, advice: “He said, ‘Eric, you will always be able to find someone to pay you to help them make money,’” Eric recalls. “‘The opportunity to make money on your own and on your own terms doesn’t come very often. Go do that.’”
“That was 15 years ago,” he adds.
He, and partners Bryce Page, LaSalle Chapman, Antoine Nunn and Chip Hockett first launched the Nashville staple in 2003. “After managing that artist ended, we had all this energy, all these ideas,” Eric recalls. “Initially Lovenoise was a live music event weekly – it’s pretty much like an urban Bluebird.” The first event was over Labor Day in 2002, in the basement of BB King’s. “500 people showed up,” he says. “From there we just filled that void. Our tag line in the early days was Lovenoise, where expression is the only thing.”
Not only was it a great event, Lovenoise was important for Nashville in other ways. “Ten, 12, 13 years ago, you would have an R&B band and some of the venues would say, ‘We don’t let black music play here,’” Eric says. “That wasn’t an interpreted answer, that was the answer out of their mouths. ‘We don’t do black music.’”
As Nashville has changed and grown, venues big and small are working to partner with Lovenoise, who also serve as the go-to for promoters and artists planning tours through Nashville seeking advice on which venues to play. They also host events at City Winery, the Symphony Center, and Ascend, places that once seemed like dream partnerships for Eric.
Outside of Nashville, Lovenoise was making an impact in communities across Tennessee. “Before the recession, Fortune 500 companies with huge marketing departments had black marketing, Spanish marketing, Asian marketing – they all had their own budgets,” Eric says. “During that time, we had Lovenoise Memphis, Lovenoise Birmingham, Lovenoise Chattanooga, and it was all corporate sponsored.” The recession, however, caused challenges for those branches, which suffered when larger companies consolidated to one smaller overall marketing budget. “You have to roll with the punches,” Eric says.
Lovenoise remains the source for urban events and understanding of the marketplace in Nashville, from their live shows and radio show to the original Sunday event at BB King’s. “I think Nashville has a great story to continue telling and creating, and it’s great being a part of it,” he says. “I love Nashville.”