DJ On A Dime: Michigan Talent Showcase

July 24, 2010

Image from Voxphoto @ Flickr

As my home state of Michigan struggles with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country and the restructuring of its biggest city, let it be known that the state’s pedigree of top musical talent shows no signs of slowing down.

Like many Michigan natives in a troublesome economy (including myself), Rai Knight had to leave home and work on the West Coast and Scotland before she could come back and be a dope hot R&B singer on Detroit’s own FrontStreet records. Knight cites Gwen Stefani as an influence and it shows. Imagine if Stefani took a time machine back to 1961 and signed to Motown. Like a true D-Town resident, Knight comes on with the bite of a Cass Corridor buzz band. You can catch her single “Pivotal” for free on On Fire Music.

Staying in Detroit, we have Black Milk, an MC/Producer who has put in some time on the mixtape circuit, worked with the legendary Jay Dee/J Dilla (rest in peace) as well as some Rawkus and G-Unit alumni, has five albums under his belt and a new one, Album of the Year, due in September. Black Milk’s style is pure G-Funk: trippy keyboards and hard-ass drums. Check out a preview track, “Welcome (Gotta Go),” on RCRD LBL.

Finally, let’s head to one of Michigan’s fine cultural capitals, Ann Arbor. This college town produced Bob Seger, and now a new band is bringing the night moves. I first caught My Dear Disco in a dive bar in Birmingham, Alabama on a “Michigan Bailout Tour” with garage superstars The Hard Lessons. MDD’s electronica antics got me hooked! Unlike a lot of the dance-rock bands that are making waves, MDD’s members come from music school backgrounds, plus they are total hippies (they tour in a modified biofuel-burning bus), so their off-kilter rave music really stands out above the pack, plus their singer Michelle Chamuel sings with a richness that you don’t hear much anymore. Their website has some of their bootleg remixes and a mixtape from their DJ Body Rock up for grabs, and you can direct-buy their records from their Bandcamp page.

As a bonus hit, one of the top 5 contestants in MTV’s Twitter Jockey competition is a native Detroiter. Gabi Fresh is the founder of Young, Fat, and Fabulous, and she’s in the running to be MTV’s first jock on Twitter. Head to her page on MTV to get more info, or what the heck, just follow her on Twitter. Support Midwest talent. Support diverse talent. Hell, support TALENT.


One comment

  1. […] Australian band My Disco as well as any preconceptions that they make disco music (they don’t). I’ve written about the band before on this site and saw them live with their current lineup back in November. They have shown no signs of slowing […]

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