Veronica Young, Deep Ellum Radio's New Manager, Aims to Help Local Musicians Build a Following

Veronica Young is the new station manager for Deep Ellum Radio online.
Veronica Young is the new station manager for Deep Ellum Radio online. Austin Young
Music is Veronica Young’s love language. For years, the Deep Ellum resident has advocated for local artists, promoting and offering them a platform. On her Deep Ellum Radio show, The Veronica Young Show, Young keeps Deep Ellum artists on heavy rotation while sharing anecdotes about her experiences in the iconic neighborhood.

Now, we’re about to hear a lot more of Young’s influence on Deep Ellum Radio. Young was recently named station manager of the web-based station, which, given her longtime involvement in the neighborhood, feels like a long time coming.

Young’s earliest experiences with live music took place within her musical family. Both of her grandfathers were violinists. Her paternal grandfather was self-taught and her maternal grandfather was classically trained. The latter led a high school music program and created several mariachi troupes.

“I didn't realize until I was much older that parties didn't always include live music,” Young says. “Going from one cousin's house on a weekend to another, when you have a large family, live music was always a part of that. Having someone pull out a guitar and write a song in front of you, or getting a few uncles and aunts together and bringing all of these instruments with them to a party, you get a jam band in your living room. That's why I've always gravitated toward Deep Ellum. The live music is what got me here and it's what keeps me here.”

Young’s love affair with Deep Ellum began when she was a teenager in the ‘90s, as she loved coming down to the city, watching people cruise the streets in low riders. In the late aughts, she began frequenting Deep Ellum venues.

She found many were struggling to pack the house and many local musicians didn’t know how to promote themselves. Having grown up around music, she used her ear to help land local acts on stages and get people down to the venues. “I don't have the talents of actually being a musician,” Young says, “but I do have a good ear for music, thanks to my family background.”

"I think right now, there's a turning point for the musicians to develop and the venues that support them." — Veronica Young, Deep Ellum Radio

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In 2012, when she was emcee-ing one of her first Deep Ellum Arts Festivals, she connected with Deep Ellum Radio founders Kim Keebler and Chad Lovell.

Young would later take her independent online radio show called Hungover With V to the platform, in which she would showcase local artists, play their music and interview them, allowing the community to get to know them.

In 2021, the show was rebranded as The Veronica Young Show, with the mission to keep music and art alive in a rapidly changing Deep Ellum. As live music is quickly returning, Young hopes to lead a future in which artists are compensated properly.
click to enlarge “I love saying ‘I live in Deep Ellum’ It's so cool," Veronica Young says of the neighborhood she presents online. - AUSTIN YOUNG
“I love saying ‘I live in Deep Ellum’ It's so cool," Veronica Young says of the neighborhood she presents online.
Austin Young
“The music is what makes Deep Ellum,” Young says. “The art is what makes Deep Ellum. The food, the artistic expression is what makes Deep Ellum. But I think for the music scene, and for local musicians, is it's time for them to feel our support to feel like part of the community. I think that the pay should be better. We have these venues that are filling up on weekends now. I think we need to be implementing maybe something for singer-songwriters, like, ‘Hey, you know, inflation's here, we went through the pandemic, we realized how much we hated not being able to go live shows.’ I think right now, there's a turning point for the musicians to develop and the venues that support them. Maybe we can set some sort of precedent to make them the top-paid musicians locally or in the industry, as far as when it comes to unsigned artists.”

In Deep Ellum, gentrification is a hot topic, as several hotels, offices, modernized bars and restaurants have begun setting up shop in the neighborhood. As the neighborhood continues to grow, Young hopes new businesses and Deep Ellum regulars can work together to coexist. She believes these parties can create and seize opportunities to collaborate in one way or another.

“I do feel that businesses and the things that are moving into Deep Ellum are doing it because there's something about Deep Ellum,” Young says. “I love saying ‘I live in Deep Ellum’ It's so cool. It has such a history behind it. I think if we can preserve the history, while also embracing some of the new things, it's won’t be so bad.”

As Deep Ellum Radio’s new station manager, Young plans to continue to put in work and effort to integrate artists into local venues and clubs that actively promote artists. She wants to provide a platform in which local acts won’t have to cut through red tape in order to build a local following.

Eventually, Young would love to open a studio where artists can come play a mini set after a show. Ideally, she and her team would record their performance, keep it in rotation and continue to promote them on the radio.

“Musicians don't have to offer us anything at all, except for a good original track,” Young says. “The big vision is to just expand Deel Ellum Radio’s reach. That's going to be my big push — to just get it out there and let everybody know, ‘Hey, we're here, we're not going anywhere.’ We’ve been around for a long time, and it's time to move on to the next wave of Deep Ellum Radio.”
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Alex Gonzalez has been a contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2018. He is a Dallas native whose work has appeared in Local Profile, MTV News and the Austin American-Statesman. He has eclectic taste in music and enjoys writing about art, food and culture.
Contact: Alex Gonzalez