We had the good fortune of connecting with Cathryn Beeks and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cathryn, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I guess I’d say I started my business out of frustration. I arrived in San Diego in 1999 and found it hard to break into the singer/songwriter scene at that time. Songwriter showcases and even open mics were difficult to get into, it felt like you had to know and be accepted by certain folks in order to get some time on stage. In retaliation I began hosting extremely inclusive open mic nights and songwriter showcases of all kinds 7 nights a week at various venues. I branded my events “Listen Local” and a few years later I was able to quit my administrative assistant day job and focus solely on hosting events and helping expose all the great music in San Diego. I guess originally I didn’t give it too much thought, honestly, but I’m grateful that I was able to build a business that continues to make me happy all these years later.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
From it’s inception in 2003, Listen Local has gone through many changes. Producing live events was always the main mission but these days I’m focusing on podcasts and web shows. The goal has always been to share the music. The beginning was challenging, establishing my brand and lugging a PA around in my unreliable car 7 nights a week for drink tickets. Things picked up in 2009 when I got a gig hosting an iconic local music program on terrestrial radio which led to more great opportunities where I was able to share San Diego’s music to a wider audience. I enjoyed a 6 year run of non stop event production and promotion before I moved on. The most important lesson I learned through the years was to focus on the folks who support, listen to and believe in me instead of worrying about how to gain new listeners. I feel peaceful and happy now, creating content for my Patreon subscribers without stress. Listen Local is adapting to the recent world changes, exploring and sharing comedy along with art and music because those 3 things are essential. I am currently producing a monthly variety show called Looped, the “animals and their people” web series, a monthly podcast featuring local unsigned artists plus I offer photography services and I sell vintage and 2nd hand clothing. Finally, COMING SOON, my husband and I are building an outdoor performance space in rural San Diego county where people can safely enjoy live music. Stay tuned, the future IS bright.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Visit in late October and start off in PB on a Monday for 1/2 price apps at World Famous. On Tuesday you need to visit the museums in Balboa Park, some are free for residents. Wednesday catch the sunset from Moonlight Beach and Thursday and Friday take a trip out to Julian. Saturday and Sunday avoid the crowds and pitch a tent at Lake Jennings. Wear a mask!!! xo
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are SO many people who encouraged, supported, inspired, and educated me over the years and they are always on my mind and in my heart. Selecting one is difficult but I’d have to say that without the serendipitous crossing of paths with the musical duo known as The Troubadours of Divine Bliss I might be a completely different person. They lifted me up in a way that made all things possible. I don’t know how to explain it except that they’re magical beings. When they’re not traveling the world spreading their amazing music and reminding folks “free your dream” they nestle in the As You Wish woods in Indiana. Find them at Troubadoursofdivinebliss.com
Cathryn Beeks (selfies)