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Emily Fox / Michigan Radio

 

Rapper Jon Connor says he’s "Flint to the bone."

He was born and raised in the city, but moved to California around two years ago after he was signed to Dr. Dre’s music label: Aftermath.

But Connor says his heart still remains in his hometown.

Flint’s water crisis drew Connor back home these past two weeks. He came home to check on his friends and family.

He also took time to volunteer at the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan and the Boys and Girls Club in Flint. He also wrote a song while he was in town. It’s called Fresh Water for Flint.

Ovi Gherman/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Wayne State University has received a $7.5 million gift from Detroit philanthropist Gretchen Valade to transform the university’s programming, teaching and scholarship in jazz performance and education.

Chris Collins, director of Jazz Studies at Wayne State, says Valade’s support is so much more than just financial.

What it means to be from "Downriver"

Jan 14, 2016
Jodi Green / flickr

If you follow the Detroit River south of the city, you’ll hit the working class communities of River Rouge, Ecorse and to the west, Taylor. These, so called “Downriver” cities sometimes get a bad rap. As part of our Community Vibe series, Michigan Radio’s Emily Fox introduces us to two long-time residents of River Rouge who are trying to help shape the next generation of residents.


Christine Cha

If you’re already getting tired of the same old Christmas tunes this year, look no further than a new album called Creole Christmas. It’s by trumpet player and Michigan State University jazz professor, Etienne Charles.

The album combines, jazz, soul, and Creole music into a holiday mix with both instrumental tracks and vocal tracks that put a soulful spin on some standards, like Go Tell It on the Mountain and This Christmas to some holiday songs from Trinidad that you’ve probably never heard of.

Lauren Dukoff

Michigan native Garrett Borns is better known by his stage name, BORNS. He recently released his debut album, Dopamine.

Before wrapping up his U.S. tour, BORNS will be performing at The Shelter in Detroit on Wednesday. 

He explains the song Electric Love is his contemporary take on '60s and '70s glam rock. BORNS talks about the influence his favorite musicians had on him, like Michael Jackson and Prince.

Chris Switzer

Olivia Mainville is a 19-year-old from Holland, Michigan. She’s releasing her first full-length album on Thursday.

Mainville describes her music as gypsy swing folk. Her playful voice has hints of a young Alanis Morrissette and sometimes Regina Spektor.

Mainville has already spent a lot of time touring the state playing music. She’s had more time on her hands than most teenagers. When she was in 9th grade, she decided to leave high school and become homeschooled so she could focus on her music.

Courtesy of Nessa

Kelly McDermott’s musical career is well-established in the U.S., Canada and Europe with degrees in flute performance and music therapy from Michigan State and graduate degrees from Temple University.

McDermott talks with Stateside's Cynthia Canty about going from working as a teacher, a chamber and orchestral flute player to Celtic music. 

"I started to just really find some amazing kind of energy in singing these old ballads, the old really, really sad stories."

The new album, Ancient Song Discoveries Vol 1 is available now.

Bennett / Ashlee Kristin Photography

 

The Grand Rapids based band Bennett is releasing their second EP Friday called A Moment’s Time.

 

 


Emmanuele Coltellacci / flickr

 

When Zach Saginaw plays electronic music, he goes by the name Shigeto. He was born and raised in Ann Arbor and has performed across the globe.

 


Courtesy of Flint Eastwood

Flint Eastwood has a new EP out this week. It’s called Small Victories.

The music was recorded at Assemble Sound, a repurposed church in Detroit.

Bandleader Jax Anderson says the studio played a huge factor in determining the sound of this new collection of songs.

On Assemble Sound

www.stoneyworld.com

Musician Britney Stoney is a born-and-raised Detroiter and she's inspired by her hometown in all kinds of ways. She's especially influenced by the people she calls "hustlers and grinders," meaning everyday people who work hard and live good lives, regardless of their circumstances. 

Stoney says her mother is a great example of a grinder, who raised her as a single mom while working as a waitress and bartender.

Here are a few lyrics from the song "Organ Donor:"

George Shirley, emeritus professor at the University of Michigan School of Music, Dance and Theatre, recently received the National Medal of Arts from President Obama.

HMN Photography

A year ago, Ypsilanti singer-songwriter Chris DuPont found himself coping with depression and questioning his faith.

DuPont spoke with Michigan Radio's Mercedes Mejia about his renewed outlook on life and the stories that inspired his new album, Outlier.

DuPont is also the music director at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Ypsilanti. 

Holding it Together

Jeremy Peters

You don't hear a lot of hot, danceable tracks about gentrification.

But Detroit emcee/slam poet/teacher Mic Write writes ear worms about the city’s evolution, his pride in its unsung neighborhoods, and how good it feels to disprove anyone who didn’t expect much of a kid from the D.

Catie Laffoon

Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr made it big back in 2011 when they covered the song, “We Almost Lost Detroit.”

They went on to play big music festivals with Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo.

The duo is out with a new album and have changed their name to simply, "JR JR".

Breaking down Arab stereotypes through music

Sep 11, 2015
Emily Fox / Michigan Radio

Metro Detroit has the highest concentration of Arab Americans in the nation, and it's also home to the National Arab Orchestra. That group is trying to preserve Arab culture and build bridges through music.


The Go Rounds

The Go Rounds have a new album out today. It’s called, “dont go not changin.” The album features layered vocals, a strong rhythm section, stylish guitar riffs and some recorded natural sound (think rain, birds, a crowd at a bar.)

Songs from Studio East: The Crane Wives

Aug 26, 2015
Benjamin Foote

The band members of The Crane Wives quit their day jobs this year and are making the jump from being a West Michigan band, to trying to make their mark on the national music scene. Their new album, Coyote Stories, is being released August 29.

ladyaceboogie.com

Linda Tellis is known as Lady Ace Boogie in west Michigan’s hip hop scene. She is a community activist and is trying to change what she calls the “broken” world of hip hop.

Tellis turned her life around five years ago. She used to be involved in gangs.

“I didn’t have anybody to look up to. All I had was what was in front of me and unfortunately that was the streets and that’s it," Tellis said.

That’s all behind her now. In her latest album, Feel Good Music, she takes a stab at the hip hop industry and how rappers and artists are focused on fame and material things.


Courtesy of the artist

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Chenille Sisters. Cheryl Dawdy, Grace Morand and Connie Huber formed the group in 1985 in Ann Arbor and they’ve been harmonizing together ever since.

  Originally, Morand and Huber were in a band together. Dawdy attended their shows and was recruited to round out the group.

"Pretty soon Cheryl would come to our gigs and we would tell the guys in the band to take a break and just do things as a trio and it dawned on us that we didn’t need the band," Morand says.

Marcelo Lopez-Dinardi

The big thing you need to know about Afrofuturism is that it is joyous and fun and a celebration of the past, present, and future.

Late last month, three young artists road-tripped from Toronto to Detroit for a weekend festival called Sigi Fest that celebrated Afrofuturism. And they were certainly joyful. 

Milo Birch of Marquette is an improvisational keyboardist. He’s 11 years old and has recently finished his third album, Stepping Up.

Birch worked with some top-notch Michigan musicians for this album including people like Tyler Duncan, May Erlewine, Mike Lynch, Seth Bernard and more. 

For more on Birch's music, shows and up coming events you can visit his website

Juan Beltran

 


Tunde Olaniran’s music has been reviewed and featured across the nation on NPR, the New York Times and Pitchfork Magazine. People are paying attention to his music coming out of Flint.

 

He’s not only a singer and songwriter, he’s a producer, designs his own costumes, and choreographs his own shows (accompanied by backup dancers). By day, Olaniran is an outreach manager for Planned Parenthood. This past year, he’s spent his free time creating a new album.

How to create a symphony of Detroit

Jul 27, 2015
Emily Fox / Michigan Radio

Tod Machover is a composer and professor from MIT.  It’s his job to create a Symphony for Detroit and he’s asking Detroiters for help. Right now he’s working with people living in Detroit and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to compose what he’s calling “Symphony in D.”


Ara Howrani

Jill Jack has been making albums for more than two decades. This year she was named "Americana Songwriter of the Year" at the Detroit Music Awards.

She will be performing at the Ark in Ann Arbor as part of the venue's 50th anniversary Made in Michigan showcase happening on Saturday, July 25.  

Jack talks with Stateside's Mercedes Mejia about her first gig at The Ark, about her latest music and how giving up playing at bars actually helped her career.

Michael Hacala

The music industry has changed a lot over the past half-century, but a music venue in Ann Arbor that focuses on folk music has been able to survive through all those changes.

As The Ark celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, its leadership is now looking to the next generation of folk musicians to keep the venue around for the next 50 years.


Hazen Schumacher. / Michigan Radio

Sad news for jazz lovers this weekend. 

Radio legend Hazen Schumacher died yesterday at the age of 88.

The Michigan broadcaster was known nationally as host of the "Jazz Revisited" program.

Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers
Courtesy of Joe Hertler

Detroit is listening to Peezy, Ann Arbor to Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers, and Grand Rapids is sticking to Top 40 country. 

Chris White

Mike Ellison says while he was born in Ethiopia, he was transformed in to an artist in Detroit. You can hear that fusion of cultures in his music. A lot of it combines traditional African music with modern hip hop. He uses his music and performances to raise awareness for causes both in Ethiopia and in Detroit.

Ellison spoke with Michigan Radio’s Emily Fox about how he uses his music as an education and community outreach tool. He gave his perspective on Africa and how it helped shape his identity, and also spoke about current racial issues in the U.S.


Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Ahya Simone doesn’t particularly like the word transition when she describes being a transgender woman.

Simone was born and raised in Detroit. From an early age she was drawn to the performing arts, singing in church choir and, eventually, while attending Cass Technical High School in Detroit, learning to play the harp.

But it wasn’t until she was in college at Wayne State University that Simone decided it was time to get real, and start living her truth.

Here's a video of Ahya Simone performing with her harp. 

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