Musician’s Corner … Got a RAMI?

Musician’s Corner … Got a RAMI?

By Tom Leu, Entertainment Writer

Area musicians and music enthusiasts should begin planning for the famous Rockford Area Music Industry Awards (RAMI) program held each April. The RAMI awards ceremonies were started in 1991 by the late Gary Wilmer, founder of RAM magazine. 2003 marks the 12th year for the annual event to be held on April 17, 2003 at the Tebala Shrine, 7910 Newburg Road.

Here’s how it works. RAMI nominees are selected by a committee from submission forms availaable at area businesses including Guzzardo’s, Randee’s Music, Pegasus, Noise Chamber, Studio B, Rockford Library, and The Rock River Times. Musicians are also encouraged to nominate themselves and their recording projects. Official ballot forms will be printed in The Rock River Times starting Feb. 3 through April Fools Day. Some categories include: Pop/Retro, Hard Rock/Metal, Rap/Hip Hop, Oldies, Blues, and Jazz. to name a few. Other RAMI awards recognize technical expertise for recording studios, sound and lighting technicians, and stage managers. Votes will be tallied for each RAMI category with the winners being announced at the ceremony April 17.

More than just a popularity contest, the RAMIs are designed to recognize excellence in music, technical production, and artistic contribution in the area. The relative success of the event depends on the involvement of the artists, the fans, and the local music community. The award ceremonies also recognize lifetime achievement and community service awards, critic’s choices for composer, song, and album of the year, and RAMI Hall of Fame inductees. The event also features a nice mix of several area acts that will perform live at the event.

Being nominated and/or winning a RAMI should be looked at as an opportunity and accomplishment for any fledgling music career. The more “feathers in your cap,” so-to-speak, the better. The RAMIs not only represent a vehicle for area bands and musicians to get their names out into the local music community, but also to represent the potential to gain some often-elusive accolades for their hard work.

Booking agencies, management companies, record companies. all want to know what makes your band or music special. How do you differentiate yourself from your competition? It’s OK to be recognized by the establishment; it doesn’t reduce your credibility. Quite the contrary. Your group’s artist profile should be full of achievements and awards to contribute to, and endorse, the perceived value of your music. No, you do not NEED that stuff to validate your music, but it sure doesn’t hurt, either.

The RAMI ceremony is an excellent opportunity to market your music and your merchandise by setting up display booths and networking at the event. Now is the time to get involved and be a part of this great Rockford-area music event.

For information about the 2003 event, contact The RAMI Awards at P.O. Box 4128, Rockford, IL 61110. Phone (815) 633-3017, Fax (815) 961-7347, or email at

Look for the Musician’s Corner Volume One book and companion audio program available this month online at, or by calling 815-397-2022. Tom Leu owns Paragon Productions entertainment consulting and recording studio. Email:

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