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Discovering Inspiration: FoCoMX artists share their musical origins

Ahead of this year’s FoCoMX – taking place April 19 and 20 in downtown Fort Collins – The Colorado Sound checked in with a handful of Colorado musicians who were invited to play the festival this year.

Artists we spoke with include Owen (01) and Lolita of Colorado Sound Music Award nominees 2MX2, DJ Bro Short, Steve Amedee of Bourbon Street Brass Band, Peaches Embry of the Motown Review Band and Peaches Embry and the Rhythm Train, Jess of Robert Shredford, Justin Maul from Señorita Sometimes, bandleader Dechen Hawk, blues artist Erica Brown, and Sasha and Blake from the Sasha Stone Band.

The question we asked each of them: “What inspired you to become a musician?”

Answers are below, along with the dates and times they are playing FoCoMX. All locations and venues are in Fort Collins, Colo. For venue addresses, a full schedule, and ticket details, see our FoCoMX main page.


01 & Lolita of 2MX2

My name is Owen, a.k.a. 01 from 2MX2, and what got me going with music is a musician that came to my school. He inspired me and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I was in third or second grade, one of the two. Ya, it was pretty cool, and then I got to eat lunch with him too and it was like a life changing experience that basically kept me going and here I am.

Hey! I’m Lolita, and I’m from the band 2Mx2, and I also do music as Lolita. I was inspired to do music because my father was very artistic growing up, and I remember him playing guitar and singing in the early mornings. I’ve always just had this creative streak inside of me, and I think that’s where it all started.  

2MX2 plays Washington’s on Saturday, April 19 at 10pm.


Bro Short

My name is Bri Long, I go by Bro Short when I’m on the decks. The thing that inspired me to do music was just loving it so much and it always being a part of my life. Growing up listening to hip-hop, finding different genres of that, and then electronic music led me to where I’m at today.

Bro Short performs Friday, April 19 at the Exchange at 7pm.


Bourbon Brass Band – Steve Amedee

My name is Steve Amedee, and I’ve always been drawn to music, interested in it. My older brothers had a phonograph, and they’d spin all these 45s, so there was always music going around the house. My oldest brother played guitar, so that was a big thing. I’d jam along with him, while he played guitar, on my black board. My little kids’ black board. That was like my first drum set.

Then, that was my oldest brother that played guitar, but I had two other brothers play drums. The one closest in age to me, he played rock n’ roll drums. So I kind of just fell into it after him. I just loved it. There was nothing more incredible than watching somebody play guitar or somebody play drums. Or going to New Orleans as a kid and walking in front of a music store where they had musical instruments. Just the most incredible thing.

I remember once seeing a set of Ludwig drums when we walked by Wurliance Music in New Orleans, and I can still see that picture right now. Champagne sparkle Ludwig holiday outfit. Just beautiful.

Bourbon Brass Band plays Saturday, April 19 at Salt Road Brewing at 9:15pm.  


Dechen Hawk

My name is Dechen Hawk. My band name is called Dechen Hawk, but I do play with other people.

In terms of what inspired me, man, I came out singing. Like from the beginning I was always making up songs and being musical as a child. But then my dad got brain cancer when I was 14 and passed away. Then I just had to express that. I didn’t know what was happening, you know, it’s just a strange period of your life as an adolescent. So I gravitated towards actually learning an instrument, like diligently and expressing songs that way. It saved my life. It was life changing.

Dechen Hawk plays Saturday, April 19, 2024 at Wolverine Farm Publick House at 8:15pm.


Erica Brown – Big Mama Thornton Project

Hello! My name is Erica Brown, and the music that I do is under my own name. I’m doing a tribute to Big Mama Thornton. She was a huge inspiration for me. So, so much of what I do is kind of a process of doing what I do, but it also gives me a chance to come back and honor the ancestors and carry the music forward, even as we bring it from the past.

Erica Brown performs her Big Mama Thornton Project at the Magic Rat on Saturday April 20 at 9:45pm.


Peaches Embry and the Rhythm Train

Hi, my name is Peaches Embry and I’m with the Motown Review Band and also my blues band Peaches Embry and the Rhythm Train. My inspiration in music came early on with my father being a musician performing in the Navy Jazz Band and also performing behind Billie Holiday, so music has always been part of my life. I grew up in a very charismatic church where there was a lot of get-down, go-get-it music going on all the time. So I came up signing in multiple choirs. Music has always been a part of my life, is a part of my life, and keeps me going.

Peaches Embry and the Rhythm Train play the Backdoor Grill on Saturday, April 20 at 6:45pm.


Robert Shredford – Jess

Hi! I’m Jess from Robert Shredford, and I was inspired to start playing music because I saw PJ Harvey live in concert and she blew my mind!

Robert Shredford plays Tony’s Bar & Rooftop on Saturday, April 20 at 8:30pm.


Sasha Stone Band – Sasha Stone & Blake Miller

I’m Sasha Stone from the Sasha Stone Band, and I started playing music inspired by my brother Kerrick. We started a band together when he came out to Colorado, I was like maybe 25. Then he passed away, so I was inspired to start this band because of [him].

I’m Blake Miller. I play in a couple bands, Say Uncle and the Sasha Stone Band. Music has always motivated me. My brother Mark Miller was just an awesome inspiration for me. Like when I was 12 years old that guy could rip songs on the Les Paul and stuff. So I was really inspired by rock and roll, I’ve been doing that for a long time. I can’t imagine life without music, and FoCOMX really is one of the funnest times to see all these great people come out and enjoy the music. I love it!

Sasha Stone Band plays the Backdoor Grill on Saturday, April 20 at 4:15pm.


Señorita Sometimes – Justin Maul

I’m Justin Maul, and I play in A.M. Pleasure Assassins [as well as] with Bevin Luna with the band Señorita Sometimes. What inspired me to begin playing music is girls. Just girls. Also, basically I think decided that I would never be a musician the day before me and three of my besties got together for a sleep over. One of them said, “Hey we should start a band!” and all of us were like, “Yes! Let’s do it!” So we started our first band there, and the rest is history.

Señorita Sometimes: Wishing Wells

Señorita Sometimes plays Saturday, April 20 at Tony’s Bar & Rooftop at 11pm.


FoCoMX 2024 takes place Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20 at various locations throughout downtown Fort Collins, Colo. Tickets are on sale now.


Related pages:

The Colorado Sound Music Awards – meet the 2023 winners

Top 850 Cover Songs – see the complete list of songs based on your votes

Soundboard Newsletter – subscribe to get music news, presale codes, other goodies every Thursday morning

Become a Colorado Sound member – join our awesome community of passionate music lovers

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