Music Brings Youth Together to Form Artistic Community in Detroit

To some it’s just an abundance of noise from a garage or a basement. But to others, it’s their big chance to make it in the world.

Since the late ’50s, music in Motown has been a significant factor of the area’s culture, and today is no exception. The local music scene is rocking its way through the masses, even exciting crowds nationally.

“We are like a family. There is a sense of protection that all these people know you and actually care and want you to do well,” Julie Colbeck said.

They are made up of aspiring musicians and eager listeners alike, typically with similar ideals and sense of style. They come together weekend after weekend to create an artistic community in the local area.

“It’s a different perspective when you know the person who writes the music, because you have a better sense of their intentions. When you know these things you want to do everything to help them,” Megan Gable said. It’s positive to go to a show and enjoy music, and talk to the bands. It’s good to take advantage of those things before the band gets signed.” Gable has booked shows in the local area for five years.

These kids may look different, but their daring independent drive to succeed has helped advance countless Michigan bands. The message from Michigan is that we have ambition and passion towards our music; and the response is remarkable with large followings for locals such as Chiodos, Before I Go and Fordirelifesake.

“Things seem to be thriving again in Detroit,” Matthew Wedge, singer of Thorp/Skipworth/Forge Again Records’ band Fordirelifesake said. “There were times when it was the same 50 kids at a show. It seems [now] there are new faces at shows and [more] people getting involved.” Fordirelifesake banded in 1999 and has toured nationally many times and, in March 2003, toured Japan.

The local circuit is a community of artistic individuals, a giant networking family. Band members especially remember past positive experiences. “I was lucky [enough] to have some of the most amazing fans in my hometown ,” Brad Atkin, former Nobody Special/From Here On Out singer said. “I became really close with a lot of them, and the shows were like family reunions.” Atkin’s band Nobody Special (FHOO) formed in 2000.

These musicians seem to be an inspiration to many of their followers and ultimately friends. Lindsey VanDeWinkle feels a sense of worth when she goes to shows. “I love watching my friends play [in their bands] because I enjoy seeing them pursue their dream. They have such a passion for what they do.”

The music serves as a form of therapy to some. “I’ve talked many of my fans through suicide, drug use, family problems, religion questions and relationship issues,” Atkin said. “I’ve received countless emails about lives being changed by songs. I’ve seen firsthand how bands can make a difference in the community.”

Gable disagrees that a good representation of Michigan bands have been signed. “The scene has many genres, and the few bands I know personally that are signed are basically the same genre and that’s unfortunate. Michigan has a great scene and there are more bands that should be getting exposure.”

However, everyone’s opinion differs on who deserves greater exposure. Atkin says. “I don’t think they [the bands who are signed] all represent us truthfully because they do no incorporate even half of the styles you will hear at a local show.”

With aspiring bands making it big regularly from the local area, it’s only realistic to assume that this artistic community will continue for generations to come. Passion is at the root of these kids’ existence.

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