Valley Sessions crafts mood, meaning for musicians

todayNovember 2, 2023 3

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By Mike Cook

Las Cruces entrepreneur and filmmaker Ryan Robson created Valley Sessions in 2022 and shot his first video for Southwest Expeditions at the old county courthouse earlier this year. He has since completed nearly a dozen videos at local venues, working with local musicians and filmmakers and calling on the expertise of his own cadre of young, creative artists.

Valley Sessions doesn’t have a space; Robson and his team travel to whatever indoor or outdoor site has been chosen to make the best video or to capture a musician or band in a live performance.

Shooting several hours of video, Robson and his team can produce a completed video in as little as 72 hours, he said. They can help with marketing the finished product as well. Robson is also creating a database of musicians and crew available to collaborate on a wide range of creative projects.

But the real work begins before the cameras roll.

To begin, Robson and his team sit down with a client to collectively decide how to make a video that is “the best representation of the artist,” he said. “We take a lot of pride in that.”

They get to know a performer’s history and listen to and talk about the songs he or she will perform.

“There is such a tenderness in the conversation about the music,” said Jenna Ivey, a Las Cruces filmmaker, actor, vocalist and musician who serves as Valley Session’s music supervisor. “It’s so collaborative.”

The musician as writer/creator of the music is “so vulnerable” at this point, she said. Part of the creative team’s work is to help him or her “feel safe.”

“It’s a relationship you can trust,” Robson said.

“This is your time to get the story out there, which is the reason why I do this,” said Las Cruces musician and artist Marqus “M. Qu” McDermott, who shot his first video with Valley Sessions.

Robson is “constantly checking in. He represents me authentically,” said McDermott, an R&B artist originally from Tennessee who moved to Las Cruces two years ago. “It’s very courageous and very encouraging. The moments are made when you have that silent interaction,” said McDermott, who sings and plays the piano.

“You’re giving me a piece of yourself, your poetry,” Robson told McDermott.

“He created something special with us,” Robson said about McDermott. “I fell in love with his music even before we shot it.”

The team makes the best use it’s using to create the highest quality audio and video possible, Robson said. The editing process builds the video around “finding one take that we love,” he said.

“We treat every musician like a rock star,” Robson said. “The only thing a musician is worried about is their art. We’re taking care of everything else.”

“There’s a vision there,” said Valley Sessions copywriter Austin Martin-Likes. Generosity is a cornerstone of the team’s work, he said. Robson is “open to the needs and interests of the people he’s working with. There is a spirit of creating something for Las Cruces.”

“We know what we’re doing,” Robson said. “We trust what we’ve created.”

“it was such a cool experience,” said McDermott, who has competed on “American Idol” and “The Voice.” “You don’t feel rushed, the support shows. People are getting connected. They show up for each other.”

Robson gives musicians “the opportunity to shine the most,” McDermott said. “He is lifting up the community.”

Robson recently shot a video in Apodaca Park, liking “the atmosphere of the park,” he said, including the sounds of running water and kids playing baseball.

For another video, he and his team used candles to light the set because “the song is more intimate,” Robson said.

“We’re curating these spaces to create something authentic,” Martin-Likes said.

A perfectionist, Robson said reshooting different performances of the same song can create a completely different video each time, reflecting the emotion of the performer and his or her connection with the crowd that’s watching.

“I liked it the first time. The fifth time, I loved it,” he said. “This is a piece of this musician. It’s unique to them. I get it.”

Robson’s vision is to grow Valley Sessions by “involving more people in creative roles,” he said. His volunteer crew includes more than 20 musicians, filmmakers, sound engineers and designers, including NMSU music and film students.

Contact Robson at


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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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