For the second year in a row, the Life is Beautiful Rising Stars stage will introduce audiences to new music, featuring 15 up-and-coming artists of various genres and backgrounds. This year, however, a dedicated competition for Las Vegas musicians ensured that the local music scene would be represented at the renowned music festival, taking place September 16-18.
Artists competed in The Road to Life is Beautiful contest in two parts. During the first round, musicians held a livestream event through the partner platform Sessions Live, securing fan votes to move on to the final Battle of the Bands round, where finalists performed live at The Space Las Vegas in front of judges.
Among the emerging artists featured are The Dollheads, a band consisting of three siblings under 16: Angela Avery (15) on guitar, Samantha Avery (14) on bass, and Austin Avery (12) on drums. With influences like Green Day, Foo Fighters, and The Ramones, they describe their music as pop punk.
“We each have been playing some sort of instrument since we were in elementary school, but a little more than 6 years ago we started playing music together as a band, trying to cover some of our favorite songs,” Austin recalls the origins of starting the band with his sisters. “We started out performing for school assemblies and events, and eventually were able to book shows at smaller community events. After we had the taste for performing, we started writing songs together.”
While they may be young, they’ve definitely found their groove performing and are sure to feel at home on the Rising Stars stage.
“The second round [of the competition] was our fourth show in three weeks, so we were really in a good rhythm by the time that came around,” Samantha explained. “It is a challenge to be young musicians, because we think that people are more hesitant to take us seriously […] which is totally understandable. But we’ve been able to prove over and over that our music reaches people of all ages, and [we] love being able to surprise people each time we take the stage,” adds Angela.
Life is Beautiful will be The Dollheads’ first performance playing exclusively original music, their full album dropping on September 3rd, which you’ll be able to find on Spotify.
Challenges are nothing new for The Road to Life is Beautiful winner Tanna Marie: singer/songwriter, two-time slam poetry champion, and single mother who juggles career, motherhood and music.
Tanna describes her music as simply: a vibe, meaning “a mix of R&B, hip hop, jazz, soul, and pop. It’s all over the place, hence why I just call it ‘a vibe.’” You can get a taste of her vibe on Spotify.
Applying for the competition was a last minute decision that paid off. “I was heading to a sold out show in Denver with Hip Hop & Poetry, threw my set together and hoped for the best,” Tanna shares. “I was extremely busy as I was advancing through rounds, going to Florida for a work conference, getting back the day of the final round because of a flight delay… add being a single mom to that list, and my feelings were basically on the back burner. I was in X-Games mode!”
Performing on stage at Life is Beautiful has been a dream for Tanna ever since her first time attending the festival as a fan.
“The first time I ever went to Life is Beautiful, it was my 25th birthday and I saw my favorite group, Outkast. I said ‘One day, Imma be on that stage.’”
While she’s been writing her own music since 2018 and recording since 2020, Tanna will be treating her Life is Beautiful performance a little differently.
“I really want to let people in on who I am. This will be the first time a lot of people hear me, and I want them to be introduced to the original beats I wrote most of my songs to. A lot of songs that are not recorded will be played as well. That and having an amazing band behind me really just brings a completely different and leveled up vibe.” One of her post-festival goals is to tour and perform overseas.
Another band who’s been dreaming of performing at Life is Beautiful is newly formed Arrlo, a trans-man fronted alternative indie band. While they only just began playing shows in February 2022, they’ve already amassed thousands of fans across social media that helped carry them through the competition.
“The overall competition was very dope. Lots of firsts for us to say the least. From our first livestream on Sessions, to moving on to the live rounds and performing at The Space,” elaborates guitarist Jimmi Stepanik.
Through their music and shows, the band hopes to create a safe space for audiences of all backgrounds and identities.
“Being an openly trans-man who fronts this group has taught me to make sure that I’m always listening to others first [and] helping educate those who may be curious about topics they may deem uncomfortable or taboo,” explains lead singer, Sunni Suede. Arrlo’s songs touch on such topics, including body dysmorphia, coming of age, self-acceptance, religious oppression, and LGBTQ+ stigma. Get links to their music on all platforms here.
“We hope that if someone listens to our music […] they not only learn a little bit about us, but something about themselves as well.”
Other local artists that will be featured on the Life is Beautiful Rising Stars Stage include Decaying Tigers, Jae Douglass, and Secos. You can buy 3-day or 1-day tickets on the Life is Beautiful website, starting at $180 + fees.