Trop Rock Music Association Awards Show
The 11th annual Trop Rock Music Association (TRMA) Awards show ended up a little different this year. There was a rain delay and a last minute venue change. Gone was the large, professionally produced show and in came this intimate presentation hosted inside the Casa Marina hotel lobby.
Hiding from the rain, everyone packed into the small space where most of us sat on the floor or stood around the perimeter of the room. There was no room for a full band to perform. The pre-recorded award nomination readings weren’t ready to go. Improvisation was the key. Presenters and performers pulled quickly adapted, creating one of the best TRMA Award shows.
This impromptu setup brought back memories of when the show was hosted at the Roof Top Cafe, where we all piled in up front on the floor and we were intimately connected to the event. Back then, it wasn’t the TRMA Awards, it was Margarita M.A.F.I.A., which stood for Musicians And Fans In Alliance.
Along the way, the name changed to TRMA in an effort to give the music we love a definitive name. It also better represents the efforts to legitimize the music as a stand alone genre. Understandably, this change was necessary to help the genre grow.
But, in this unexpected and last-minute venue change, the show brought fans and artist closer together to celebrate achievements, much like the early years of Margarita M.A.F.I.A.
Trop Rock Music Association Award Show Highlights
Song of the Year
When it was announced that “Back to the Sun” by Donny Brewer & Reggie Starrett won Song of the Year, Donny practically tackled Reggie on the way to the podium.
But the most adorable response came from Laura Starrett, Reggie’s wife. She was overcome with excitement and was scrambling to jump up from the floor, cheer with exuberance while trying to get up close to video their acceptance speech. Even though Donny and Reggie clearly were overjoyed, I think Laura was the proudest person in the room.
Thom Shepherd won the award for best Songwriter in the Trop Rock genre. What makes this award particularly special is the actual voting. Only Trop Rock artists vote for the Songwriter award. Thom’s acceptance speech honed in on this fact as he was genuinely honored to be chosen by his peers.
For the third year in a row, The Detentions won the Duo/Trio award. Although they couldn’t be in Key West this year, their giant heads made it. Super fans Tom Klinker and Nancy Martin accepted the award on their behalf and made sure Dan Sullivan and Chris Hillier were well represented.
Back in Austin, Texas The Detentions were performing when they got the call letting them know they had won. They posed for this photo showing their celebration from afar.
Fan of the Year
No one doubted who would win Fan of the Year. One look around the room and you knew who the front runner was by the large group of people wearing bright yellow shirts which said “Wunder Where Fred is Today.” A testament to Fred Wunder’s ability to somehow magically appear at practically every event.
He even changes his shirt multiple times in a day making sure he’s supporting the next artist coming up on stage. Plus, he proudly supports the businesses who promote Trop Rock.
Interestingly, Fred might be the first fan to have his own fan club. Not by his doing for sure, as Fred shuns from the spotlight. But with Fred’s immeasurable support and love of the Trop Rock genre he truly is deserving of this award and his own fan following.
Lifetime Achievement Award
As Tom and Michelle Becker attempted to exit the stage area after their performance, Sunny Jim asked them to stay a few minutes longer as he began to present an award. It was quickly clear the award was honoring Tom and Michelle for their dedication and vision which began as Margarita M.A.F.I.A. and grew into the Trop Rock Music Association.
After 10 years, Tom and Michelle turned over the reigns of the organization to allow themselves more time to focus on their music as well as give the organization even more opportunity to flourish.
They were obviously surprised and overcome with emotion as they accepted the award. One of the best quotes of the entire show came from Michelle when she explained the decision to change the name to Trop Rock Music Association. At the time, they asked their peers to help name the genre. For Tom and Michelle, it wasn’t so much about the exact name, Trop Rock was picked because it was most popular, but the importance of actually having a genre name.
Michelle’s words rang true when she explained “Instead of artists using different terminology such as Gulf Western or Beach Music,” if everyone used the same genre name “we can recognize each other.” Meaning, if an artist promotes their music as Trop Rock, then we’d know “that’s our people.”
The most poignant performance of the night came from Jack Mosley singing “For the Sake of the Song” accompanied by Emily Randle on violin. His song is a tribute to the artists who are no longer with us here on Earth. It’s a song from the artist point of view expressing the dedication they have to their craft. “We’ll give it all. For the sake of the song. Until we’re gone.”
For the full list of winners visit: Trop Rock Music Association