If you are a music lover such as myself, Spring Break means only one thing: SXSW! I've lived in Texas since 2002 and attended my first SXSW as a fan back in 2006 and I've been back every year since. The festival, started in 1987 with about 700 registered attendees has seen and incredible expansion to over 30,000 registered attendees. Its become the go-to event for everyone that loves music of all genres.

So of course I had to hit the highway to check out some of the great acts performing this year. In previous years, SXSW was meant to give artists that are emerging or a new a chance to be seen in front of a larger audience, but major labels and corporate interests, desperate to remain relevant, have invaded and taken over the festival with more established acts dominating the audience's attention. Artists like D'Angelo performed at "invite-only" corporate events which kept most of the "fans" locked out which upset a lot of folks but what can you do? I always look and find the alternative and I wasn't disappointed.

I kicked off my first night by checking out some new hip-hop followed by an amazing R&B showcase presented by MBK Entertainment hosted by Brandy.

This showcase featured some great performances including the amazing Elle Varner and some up and coming acts including Tiarra Thomas, former "Diddy Dirty Money" singer Dawn Richards and Bridget Kelly.

Funny story from that night. Dawn Richards gave an energetic yet, underwhelming performance of some her new music which the audience (who was already getting testy because the showcase was running roughly 90 minutes behind schedule) let her know about. As she wrapped up her opening song, she looked at the crowd in attendance who politely applauded and stated "Yall bougie, I don't like to do my old s***" which an audience member quickly quipped back "YOU SHOULD!". Dawn gave this person the stare of death as her next song kicked off. After a few seemingly awkward moments, she regained her form and finished her set.

Elle Varner killed it with her performance but of course as any SXSW attendee will tell you, finding places to charge one's equipment is a challenge and unfortunately my cell phone died before I could get any photos or videos (I'm an idiot, I know). I'll have more photos tomorrow so keep it locked!