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May 2014

What if Motown stayed in Detroit

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In 1972 Motown Records officially moved from Detroit MI to Los Angelos CA. The move was primarily based upon Berry Gordy’s (Motown Record’s Founder and President) interest in the movie industry. The success of the most lucrative record label ever carried on. Performers like Rick James, Teena Marie, Lionel Richie, and Boyz to Men added to the legacy. Films such as ‘Lady Sings the Blues,’ ‘The Last Dragon,’ and ‘The Wiz’ expanded the legacy. Here is my take on if Motown were to stay in Detroit.

1972 was a pivotal year in American, Black, and Detroit history. The honorable Erma Henderson (RIP) was elected to her first term as a Detroit City Council member, Angela Davis was acquitted of murder, and Richard Nixon was re-elected as President of the USA. The pulse of the people (I believe) was charged up from a politically active close to the 1960’s. The Vietnam War, murders of: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr; Malcolm X; and John F Kennedy, and rebellions (or riots) in Detroit, Boston, and South Central respectively changed the course of American history. This time is characterized best in Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’ album.

Berry Gordy, Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues, Erma Henderson
Berry Gordy, Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues, Erma Henderson

The 1971 release was Marvin’s interpretation of expressing a relationship between consciousness, spirituality, and artistry (read the album notes which have Gaye’s letter to the Lord). The commercial success of ‘What’s Going On’ changed the imagery of the clean and friendly Motown Records artists, and music.

Motown records shelved ‘What’s Going On,’ for years as Marvin Gaye performed most of the album throughout Detroit in places such as Baker’s Keyboard Jazz Lounge. Experiences like this would have been abundant with the new music from Motown records in the 1970’s.

The foundation of the Motown sound was built on the production of Holland-Dozier and Holland, Barrett Strong, and Smokey Robinson. The 1970’s ushered in the styles of Norman Whitfield, Clay McMurray, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, and Rick James. The changing of the guard in production brought Motown into the Funk. This matched Detroit’s political Black power structure developing in the 1970’s. Anchors like Ed Vaughn, Judge Claudia Morcom, and Congressman John Conyers were all setting their respective marks in Detroit. Funk mirrored the ‘take now’ attitude. Beginning music on the down beat captures the ears of a listener. Mayor Coleman Young’s 20 year reign in Detroit matched that spirit.

Rick James, Emanuel Stewart and Tommy Hearns, the Fox Theater
Rick James, Emanuel Stewart and Tommy Hearns, the Fox Theater

The gregarious demeanor of Rick James creating a record like ‘Street Songs’ is meant for Detroit. Detroit’s 1980’s prominent sports figures embody the Rick James spirit. Kirk Gibson, Isaiah Thomas, and Tommy Hearns (Motor City Cobra with the Jheri Curl and slow jab) are loved and hated. This individuality represents the ‘vs the World’ mentality Detroiters needed. After the rebellion in 1967 Federal and State funding due to the city of Detroit dwindled (this is a focus in Coleman Young’s autobiography Hard Stuff). Businesses, jobs, and educational programs subsequently vanished as well. I feel Motown records would have kept a social identity, and shared the America’s disparities through music.

The big opportunity of Motown staying in Detroit would have been in film. As Motown began producing movies the cinematic interests of many young Blacks would have been drawn to Detroit. Spike Lee, Denzel Washington, Pam Grier, Samuel L Jackson all studied and started their careers in the 1970’s. Films require huge staffs, facilities, and budgets which would have given Detroit assets.

Finally, Motown staying in Detroit would have led to ‘Motown 25’ being held in Detroit. Michael Jackson performance of ‘Billie Jean’ during ‘Motown 25’ is the greatest television performance the world has witnessed. That would have been fitting for the Fox Theater.

Detroit is Different Podcast with Carolyn Stiriho

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Detroit is Different featured Music for May of 2014. My podcast guest was Carolyn Striho. Carolyn is a musician, vocalist, song writer, and passionate performer from Detroit. Her work has won many Detroit Music Awards and traveled the world.

Me and Scott Dailey, Me and Carolyn Striho
Me and Scott Dailey, Me and Carolyn Striho
On the Podcast we discuss her passion for music. In the conversation Carolyn Striho shares about traveling the world playing music, writing the song ‘Enchante’ inspired by Eastern European music, and surviving cancer. Carolyn also thanks her band featuring her husband Scott Dailey (guitar). This is a fun and inspirational conversation. Join in and listen. Click Play below

The Podcast features three songs from Carolyn Striho: ‘Enchante’ and ‘Word Attack’ from her 2013 album release of ‘Word Attack’; and ‘Honesty’ from her 2009 album release of ‘Honesty.’ Carolyn will be performing next at Callahans in Aurburn Hills MI at 7PM.
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7 O’Clock Saturday Stories: Carolyn Striho

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Music is a universal language. As a hip-hop artist I’ve performed with many acts. Carolyn Striho is one of the best! Her stage presence, and feel on stage is pure passion. Her music, show, and energy are AMAZING.

We originally met recording Paul Mile’s “Motown is Our Town.” The song featured Detroit Music Award winners, nominees, and legends. After the performance Paul Miles suggested Carolyn and I work together. Soon after she invited me to feature with her at Northern Lights Lounge, and Taste Fest (back when it happened in Detroit, and it was Taste Fest). I invited her to perform at the “Hot Summer Nights Music Festival” I hosted at Focus:HOPE in 2009. She wowed the stage. This relationship of trading stages has carried on for years. Two years ago I think we performed our best set at “Arts, Beats, and Eats” in Royal Oak.

Being that I’m featuring Music this month on Detroit is Different Carolyn Striho is a perfect guest for 7 O’Clock Saturday Stories. Her journey in life and music are intriguing. I welcome you to join us as we talk about her passions.

Carolyn Striho, Detroit Energy Asylum (Dave McMurray and Randy Jacobs)
Carolyn Striho, Detroit Energy Asylum (Dave McMurray and Randy Jacobs)

7 O’Clock Saturday Stories hosted by Khary WAE Frazier featuring Carolyn Striho
Saturday, May, 24 2014 7PM at Le Petit Zinc Restaurant 1055 Trumbull Detroit MI
FREE EVENT ALL AGES WELCOME, Come Join Us for this Podcast Live recording

Here’s more about Carolyn Striho from here biography on www.carolynstriho.com :

Once a 16 year-old playing in punk bands in the seediest venues of Detroit’s musical underbelly, including fronting the well-known and celebrated art/punks The Cubes, this classically-trained pianist and self-taught guitarist has since played Lollapalooza, Italy, the UK and Japan. Being both a friend and musical colleague of Patti Smith, Carolyn has the distinction of being one of the few invited to perform at the prestigious Meltdown UK Festival (2005), curated by Smith. There, Carolyn opened for Steve Earle and shared the stage with the likes of Tori Amos, Sinead O’Connor, Marianne Faithful, Yoko Ono and others of such celebrated musical calibre.

Yet with all of the musicians Carolyn has collaborated with in the past, even when fronting bands whose music she composed, and even when close to signing record deals — something, somehow, always seemed to elude her from properly claiming the spotlight … until recently.

Carolyn Striho and husband Scott Dailey
Carolyn Striho and husband Scott Dailey

Perhaps it was keeping a sort of level head while her bandmates chased their rockstar dreams … some of which have succeeded, others, tragically fallen … but three college degrees later, a helluva lot of perseverance and that unique blend of Detroit heart, soul and elbow grease have earned Carolyn recent accolades of Detroit Music Award nominations and awards, an honorable mention in the Billboard Magazine’s Songs of the Year (2009) for the cabaret-style crowd favorite, “Enchante,” and the 2010 Detroit Music Award for “Outstanding Rock/Pop Album of the Year” for “Honesty.” In 2012, Carolyn and band were honored with the Outstanding National Indie Artist of the Year in Detroit. She has been featured on National Public Radio, garnered regular airplay on radio stations on the East Coast and Europe, and continues to be invited to some of the most prestigious festivals throughout the Midwest and overseas. Carolyn was a DJ and is a proponent of all music, always. Now Carolyn’s work with guitarist Scott Dailey and her full band continue to attract even more attention.

7oclock sat stories 5 24 copy

Around Detroit: Metro 37 Studios

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37 deal

Metro 37 Studios is one of the best recording studios in Metro Detroit. Producers Ryan Arini, Matt Dalton, and Kevin Sharpe all collaborate creating a dream space for musicians, vocalists, recording engineers, and music producers. Matt Dalton was the founding member of this collective in 2005 (it was originally built in 2002). Notable artists in hip-hop (Machine Gun Kelly, Ma$e), hard rock (Trans-Siberian Orchestra , Hawthorne Heights), and metal (Madam X) have all worked at Metro 37 Studios.

Inside Metro 37 Recording Studios A
Inside Metro 37 Recording Studios A

Ryan Arini and Kevin Sharpe joined the studio in 2008. Arini is a musician (guitarist), vocalist, audio engineer, and fan of music. Sharpe is a musician (key player) and world renown audio engineer. In 2008 Arini’s band (Hell Rides North) won an ‘89X Battle of the Bands’ competition for $10,000, and album recording at Metro 37 Studios. Sharpe at the time was the live engineer for the band. Upon visiting Metro 37 Studios (for the recording of the album) Sharpe and Arini joined the studio as partners.

Inside Metro 37 Recording Studios B
Inside Metro 37 Recording Studios B

Arini is my connection to Metro 37. In 2011 we met at the Detroit Music Awards (URGE ALL MUSIC ARTISTS, BUSINESS PEOPLE, AND PLAYERS TO GO). Arini has a humble and practical approach towards life that carries over into his music, recording, mixing, and mastering. I feel likability matters in many business realms, but in a recording studio it’s essential for artists, producers, and engineers. Arini’s band (Hell Rides North) has released albums in 2008 and 2012. The band has been together since 2003 (great sign for any band). Currently Arini is making a solo project that blends many alternative and acoustic styles. It will be released later this year. Hear his music. Below I’ve posted Hell Rides North’s version of Depeche Mode’s ‘Enjoy the Silence.’ Arini recorded, mixed, and mastered the song (he’s formally trained and certified by Fuil Sail University class of 2003).

CLICK PLAY: “Enjoy The Silence” from Let The Wicked Burn by Hell Rides North. 2012. Metal.

“The advantage of a recording studio over home recording is you don’t have to do all the work yourself in painting your audio picture,” Arini. I’m next up working with Arini in June on a project to be released in November. Metro 37 is offering all Detroit is Different guests a deal of $45 per hour of studio time. I encourage all of you that are interested in working in a studio, looking for a good studio, or want to try something fun to visit. Call (586) 549-2879 and/or visit Metro37  and get your discount.

7oclock sat stories 5 24 copy

37 deal

Around Detroit: DJ Drummer B

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Kick this one here for me and my DJ – Cha Cha Cha by MC Lyte

As a rapper the most important person is your DJ. My DJ is Drummer B. Drummer B is a producer, DJ, rapper, sound engineer, and one of my best friends in music. For over six years we’ve worked together making music, performing shows, and providing sound for events throughout Detroit.

DJ Drummer B Concert, Party, and Logo
DJ Drummer B Concert, Party, and Logo

Drummer B’s music production is generally based in two facets: tech hop and soul. Tech hop is a music genre and movement of blending techno/ electronic music and hip-hop. Techno music was birthed in Detroit by Kevin Saunderson, Mike Banks, Derrick May (my homie), and Juan Atkins. Tech Hop was made by Nick Speed and Drummer B (Nick Speed is another producer and close friend in music). The mesh of Hip-hop and Techno is a unique sound that’s still developing and building before us all. Notable artist performing the music are Danny Brown, Dope Head, and J Kidd. Drummer B’s love for Soul music is deep. His first album ‘Me and Marvin’ exclusively samples Marvin Gaye interviews, music, and artwork creating a classic. Here is a song we did together “Help Somebody” which was featured on my first album “Preaching to the Choir” as well.

CLICK PLAY TO HEAR THE MUSIC: “Help Somebody” by Drummer B & Khary WAE Frazier. Produced by DJ Drummer B. Featured on Drummer B’s ‘Me and Marvin’ 2011 and Khary WAE Frazier’s ‘Preaching to the Choir’ 2008. Visit i-Tunes to purchase.

Nick Speed, DJ Drummer B, Nic Notion, and me at the DMA 2010; Kaunn, Leland Stein Jr, DJ Drummer B, and me African World Festival 2011
Nick Speed, DJ Drummer B, Nic Notion, and me at the DMA 2010; Kaunn, Leland Stein Jr, DJ Drummer B, and me African World Festival 2011

Drummer B and I are also working together building an audio engineering company. We provide speakers, microphones, audio mixing boards, DJ equipment, and live audio recording for events. Our company is Boardsmen Pro Audio. We’re currently developing our business and marketing plans. If you’re interested in a DJ our sound we are available. Call or e-mail DJ Drummer B at (313)205-6718 and drummerb85@gmail.com

Boardsmen Pro Audio Equipment (Leonard 'Drummer B' Ware and Khary 'WAE' Frazier business)
Boardsmen Pro Audio Equipment (Leonard ‘Drummer B’ Ware and Khary ‘WAE’ Frazier business)
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