Category Archives: Artist Spotlight
The first time I heard Pato Margetic was at the Acoustiq Musique show at The Music Hall Jazz Cafe at the end of last year. Needless to say I was taken aback because I was unaware of his music and when I found out he is a Detroit native it was icing on the cake! His performance had everyone caught up in every stroke of his acoustic guitar as his eyes pierced the audience and his lyrics penetrated our souls! Pato has been releasing great music to the world since 2009 with his debut album Day By Day followed by the sophomore release of Detroit Soul in 2011. Pato is now on his third release and has released singles since the end of last year. His latest, “Fall Apart” has an accompanied video that we at Distinguished Detroit got a sneak preview of (because he thinks we’re cool). Below is the video so enjoy and please, please, please, support Detroit music!
Hello to all of my fabulous readers! I hope all is well with you and I wish you all a blessed holiday season! I want to present you all with a great opportunity to be a part of the Distinguished Detroit family and help give feedback to the readers, as well as maybe promote yourself as a writer/ connoisseur. This is what Distinguished Detroit is all about- promotion! This site isn’t catered towards LiLi Sheree or my success but to spread it around. You can call me a socialist in that aspect when it comes to helping Detroit garner the national accolades it deserves. Now, lets make sure we are making ourselves worthy to receive the accolades and stay on our ‘A’ game at all times (talking to myself as well).
Not only does our city hold a lot of talent but we also have a lot of discerning eyes, ears and hearts to the fine arts. So what better way to help us grow in our own than to receive constructive criticism from the home-team? Now let me say that having an opinion and hating are two different things- let’s be VERY clear about this. What I will not accept is material made to solely bring down someone’s spirits or purposefully written to be mean-spirited or harsh. The main goal is to help one grow as well as a way for the artist to know what their audience would like to see more of. Don’t highlight weaknesses without an honest solution and please do not disrespect the artist’s craft. We are a community of respect and are here as iron to sharpen each other.
If you have a noteworthy commentary/ review about someone’s artistry, business, or event please feel free to send it to email@example.com and we will gladly post them to The Connoisseur’s Corner. Below you will read the first submission and example as to how you should rate the artist, business or event (on an A-F grading scale). If you wish to remain anonymous, please sign the end of your review with a funky pseudonym as “Music Lover 313″ did below. Enjoy!
RATE THE BAND
I had the pleasure of attending the Acoustiq Musique show at the Jazz Café inside of Detroit’s legendary Music Hall. The show consisted of about six acts but the one band that definitely grabbed my attention was Matt Reed and TGP. I was not prepared for their set which was diverse, energetic, and unique but lacked cohesion in their sound- the most important element of a great band. Here’s what I thought:
LYRICAL CONTENT- C
Mediocre at best with songs such as “I Got Soul” and “We Got Style”. I wasn’t impressed with this group’s ability (or lack thereof) to deliver lyrical content that is full of soul and funk as they claim. All of the songs are “catchy” but nothing possessed timeless lyrics that can be played decades from now.
STAGE PRESENCE- B
The stage presence of the group was highly entertaining! As they approached the stage and began to set up, they appeared socially awkward and I immediately thought of a ‘B’ version of Hootie and the Blowfish. Front man Matt Reed, although standing about 5’3, has a large presence that captured the audience. Standing to his right on vocals and keys is a bad Remy Shand look alike that may have actually had the most soul in the group. Matt Reed and TGP really got the audience going when they each spit sixteen bars during the song “We Got Style”. I will go out on a limb and say that more people were probably laughing at them then cheering them on. However, the fact that the group had so much fun and energy on stage was great to watch. I caught myself laughing and smiling the entire time.
Vocals from Matt Reed were just sub par. Considering his boisterous personality I expected him to come with more “umph” vocally. The other band mate on vocals was Jeff Trasin and his vocal abilities did nothing for me either.
I can describe the sound of the band in one word: LOUD! Equipped with keys, drums, bass and electric guitar, the band also brought along an MPC player and voice box. Instead of creating a masterpiece with the machines and instruments they bore a monstrosity that was at some times in the show quite hard to listen to.
OVERALL PERFORMANCE- C
This band has some work to do. In their case, less is definitely more. I would like to see them work on vocals and creating a sound that is unique but equally consistent. Matt Reed and TGP scored poorly in a few areas but the energy and passion that they had for the music almost made me like them. Almost
Music Lover 313
Noel Night is an annual event that takes place around the holiday season every year in Midtown Detroit. The museums are open for extended hours to the public free of charge as well as shops with extended hours to get a jump start on holiday shopping. Street vendors are even within a blocked off section of Woodward in front of The Detroit Institute of Arts for live music, food vendors and patrons to walk uninterrupted by traffic.
This year a special treat was given to us as The Detroit Historical Museum hosted a special evening with Detroit’s burgeoning artist, Monica Blaire. My boyfriend accompanied me on this journey and as we found the auditorium where she was to bless us with her talents, we were happy to see a full house. Seats were packed and the room was warm with holiday cheer as well as the temperature climbing within the compact theater. However, no one was leaving or missing their opportunity to witness another Monica Blaire experience, or a new experience, for that matter.All of a sudden an applause broke out and we turned around to see a beauty walking towards us in a gold sequin tube dress with an ivory sheer flowing to the bottom. Monica’s hair was pulled up in an elegant ponytail showing off her cheekbones that supported a sincere smile. She thanked the audience for being in attendance and then begged our pardon as she removed her heels. That is usually an indication that their is a mutual sense of comfort and we were in for a great performance unhindered by uncomfortable feet.
Ms. Blaire performed songs from her highly acclaimed project, Portraits of Me as well as a sultry mix of diverse holiday songs. Proclaiming, “Detroit, you make me feel special” before her set, it was only fitting for her to open her show with “Special” from her album. Next song was “Promise”, a Luther Vandross remake in honor of her mother who she recalls wearing out his tape. From there we received new material, “Something Great” and an infused reprise as she sang “I’m not scared anymore of being something great” with a bold confidence and a switch in her hips, which afterward she said she refrained from “dropping it like its hot” with children present.
Next was another remake, a symphonic and quaint rendition of Madonna’s “Material Girl”, something you wouldn’t expect from someone dressed like an R&B diva but it only proved a point that there is no box with Monica Blaire. The latter half of the show was full of holiday cheer as Monica sang Vince Guaraldi’s “Christmas Time Is Here” from A Charlie Brown Christmas, and “Someday at Christmas” by Stevie Wonder. She was accompanied by Brandon “Showtime” Bland on keys and LaDarrel “Saxappeal” Johnson on the saxophone and both were a great accompaniment to a delightful evening of feel good music. However, Monica Blaire decided to take the time out to acknowledge the reason for the season and take us to church with an a capella rendition of “His Eye Is On the Sparrow”. Then for a bittersweet end, “Silent Night” was the excellent choice, as she sang to the audience, “You are love. You are peace. You are joy. You are all of these things.” And this may seem cliche’ but I’m sure everyone who left the auditorium that evening felt the exact same way about Monica Blaire.
LiLi: On your bio it reads: thoughts of a humanitarian, philosopher, writer, artist & rebel. Anti-religion, government-hating, extrovert with a kool-aid smile. (laughter)Flaco: (laughs) And there it is! There’s the smile!
LiLi: And there’s the smile! How long ago did you write that? Because I know sometimes we can write our bios and completely forget about it.
Flaco: About a year ago.
LiLi: So that still reigns, true?
LiLi: Yeah, I believe it! So when you call yourself a humanitarian and philosopher, in what aspect?
Flaco: I’m always giving. My brother, his name is Blue, says that’s my gift. I’m a very giving person; people lean on me- literally. And some people see it as people using me but I don’t because I think that’s what we are here for- to be used and to give. I’ve had all sorts of campaigns- some of them I didn’t follow through with but I still did what I felt was right. In ‘08 I had a peace campaign-you tube that- it’s funny and embarrassing but I raised money for awareness to racism and everything. Untitled Bottega just did a breast cancer thing. In October we did the walk and we’re trying to raise money- about two grand for that. I’ve done a lot of things as far as humanitarian stuff is concerned. I’ve been at soup kitchens. I always give to the poor. I love giving to St. Jude’s Hospital. What I have coming up soon is a thing called “Liquor Kills Quicker”. It’s not necessarily just against drunk driving, it’s about the abuse of alcohol in general and how it tears societies and families apart. It’s one of the most addictive things that we have here in the U.S. aside from MSG.
LiLi: (laughs) Aside from MSG! That’s true and very addicting! So, when you say ‘non-religion’, explain that for me.
Flaco: Religion is a doozy. It’s like a systematic belief of what spirituality is. I don’t see how anyone could systematically put something together that they don’t understand. Like, you can’t tell me more about spirituality than the next man can. We all reach a little glass ceiling there because it’s something beyond our knowledge. It’s something that we can’t see, touch, smell, whatever. Like, it’s naked to us- it’s something we can feel. So I don’t think you should have a certain system put together for that or make people feel bad about doing certain things or tell them they’re going to a very bad place if they do ‘this’. You shouldn’t do sadistic things like that.
LiLi: I agree.
Flaco: You know, just do good deeds and always have a good and pure heart. Love!
LiLi: Exactly…everything begins and ends with love. So, would you say that your artwork comes from a spiritual place?
Flaco: Well, yeah…my spirit! (laughs)
LiLi: Of course! (laughs)
Flaco: I’m not a politician, preacher or anything like that. I can’t take the whole world scope and put it into my artwork because I’m not all over the world. I’m just inside of me and how I feel at times. And I can only put down onto my canvas how I feel. Like, I got a painting of Jay-Z right there- I like Jay-z’s music a lot so I painted a picture of Jay-Z. And I show him in this painting like being consumed by all sorts of things. I think of how heavy the crown is and everything that comes with it. Even the things at the bottom trying to bring him down and how he kind of white-washes into existence just because I think the dude’s a legend. I got these other paintings that talk about being consumed with rage or being consumed with fear. Or being consumed with jealousy with that one right there. (points at painting shown below). All my artistry really doesn’t speak on a social standard of everything that’s going on but more-so how I feel about things and how I feel about me, you know?
LiLi: Wow! That’s what’s up! So the Bottega…I know this a space that you use for outreach. What I really like about this spot right here is that it is everything I’m trying to promote with my site. As far as uplifting one another, showing love to those who don’t really have a platform. They can’t make it in Ebony and Jet or they’re not on BET or whatever because they’re local for now, but they have a platform and that’s what I’m trying to give to artists such as yourself. And it’s the same thing here! This is the spot to come during that time of Mixtapes & Pancakes and the artists come out and it is such a homely feeling in here. What inspired you and your business partner to come together for this spot?
Flaco: We’re both creators and what we wanted to do is sort of like what you said but not necessarily to give a platform for the artists but to emancipate the artists. One of our trademark things here is boxes are for the dead- remain untitled. And that is the name of the place, The Untitled Bottega, because you as an artists should just be. You shouldn’t have to change or alter yourself to be something that the public wants you to be. You shouldn’t have to change or alter your artwork so everyone will like it. Just make it the way that you like it and people who like it, will like it and people who don’t like it, don’t. Everyone comes here just to be able to do that.
LiLi: I really, really, really like that! So it’s a monthly thing that you all do?
Flaco: That’s just for Mixtapes & Pancakes, actually that happens every other month. We have another thing called “Untitled Sessions” where its an actual open mic. We just have drinks, not necessarily a whole bunch of food and stuff going on but we have drinks flowing. Everyone comes out and enjoys themselves, hits the open mic and has that same homely feeling…it’s just no pancakes! (laughs)
Flaco: Yeah, it’s something that gets you through until the next Mixtapes & Pancakes or the next art show or whatever. We are always having something new happening in here- we are a very textured place.
LiLi: It is! It’s a lot of different personalities as far as this place right here. It’s not just set for one thing but it can do many, many things.
Flaco: It’s untitled!
LiLi: It’s untitled! Yeah…exactly! As far as artistry period, from painting, writing and spoken word, how long have you been doing it?
Flaco: Second grade. I’ve been drawing since I was in the second grade and writing since forever. At first it was just writing but then I found out about poetry and I started writing in that platform and I’m very well versed in both. It’s not often that you find people who can create in multiple avenues and I’m blessed to be one of those people.
LiLi: That’s what’s up! So have you ever thought about recording or publishing anything?
Flaco: Nah…I mean, as far as I’ll go with publishing, I’m working on a graphic novel right now. It’s a mixture of textured characters and probably as far as I’ll go with publishing. I did a comic book called “Undeathable” and that was fun. The whole thing was just poetry in motion.
LiLi: Ok! Well, I do appreciate you allowing me to take your time and inviting me to The Untitled Bottega! I look forward to coming back and purchasing some artwork as well!
Flaco: Most definitely and thank you for having me!
You can find out about upcoming events at The Untitled Bottega as well as what Flaco has coming up on his website, www.FlacoShalom.com!
This upcoming Wednesday, August 17th, is a great hump day. I implore you to make your way down to the Key Club for the party of the summer you do not want to miss! The one and only Saxappeal will be celebrating his highly anticipated second album release, cleverly titled “Unmarketable” for the masses to embrace and connect with the talented saxophonist and his plight to reunite good music back to its lost companions. He is a contributor to Open Mic Jam’s House Band, “DEM”, and has a following and reputation out of this world within Detroit’s Creative Community (sure to reach national recognition). There will be plenty of visitors there to bless the mic, as well as performances from Saxappeal himself and contributors to the album. If you’re not there…you’re square!
Saxappeal: The name itself brings a new image to the music arena. The
young saxophonist, born and raised in Detroit, has been playing since
the age of 7. In fact, this young bird, barely able to stand on his
own two feet, let alone fly solo, was pushed out of the nest
(musically speaking), after a mere 6 months of playing his horn. Now,
the extraordinary 24-year-old musician brings anxiety, joy, love,
pain, passion, and so many more sensations to the stage while
performing. Comfortably known as ‘SaxXy’, he has scoped out his flying
territory and has set his sights high.
This ambitious young artist has traveled from coast to coast,
performing in small venues in Detroit, to large events in Los Angeles,
Atlanta, New York, and Europe, just to name a few. His first to New
York was to perform at the legendary Carnegie Hall at the age of 17.
Saxappeal has also been performing with Virgin Records recording
artist, Dwele (also a Detroit native musician) since 2005. To add to
his list of accomplishments, Saxappeal has formed a highly energetic
band of his own, duly named 1oh1. In efforts to form his own style,
which he calls ‘SaxSoul’, Saxappeal’s music is diverse with a blend of
jazz, hip-hop, soul, and R & B. This young artist has truly been
humbled by his opportunities and eagerly awaits more.
Saxappeal’s mission is to rekindle the flame between people and music;
which is, unfortunately, flickering dim. His hopes are to touch people
through his music, in ways they’ve yet to be touched. With focus,
determination, positive energy, love, and a passion deeper than
anything he can explain, he uses his horn to tell stories, state his
opinions, and celebrate the gift of music through love. He is truly an
illustrator of life, with such a potent message in his music that
promises to leave his audience as high as he will soar.
Bio courtesy of SaxappealDetroit.com
A voice that will give you chills and a personality that will bring a smile to your face, Kristopher Lamont is R & B’s rising star out of Detroit. If any of my fellow Detroiters attended the Eric Roberson concert at The Charles H. Wright Museum of African History back in March, then you would remember Mr. Lamont as the opening act at the first show. He is the singer who rolls around on the floor and runs up and down stairs, in and out of auditoriums while keeping perfect pitch. He is the artist who tantalizes your senses as he sings up and down the musical scales. He will leave you amazed and caught up in his rapture of pure vocal ability and talent. You will remember his name and you will crave to see his live shows at every chance.
So why not check him out? This Wednesday, July 20th at The Key Club, downtown. DJ L Boog Presents “Open Mic Jam” is held every Wednesday with building-packing featured artists to cap off the evening, such as Mr. Lamont. You don’t want to miss the live experience, the atmosphere, and the talent. Distinguished Detroit will be in the building!
I happened to be present the night this photo was taken. It was a magical night at the Magic Stick (pun intended), in Midtown, when the wonderfully organic collective called The Foreign Exchange rocked the stage. I was scared we were going to collapse to the first level because you could feel the floor boards jumping. I was also anticipating an ugly cry from Zo! when Phonte told us to show him some love- and we did it Detroit-style. There was non-stop clapping, whistles, applause and smiles for the Detroit homie and I just knew I was going to see one tear drop. Not. one. came. But he was smiling from ear-to-ear as you see on this album cover above, and the love is much deserved!
I have been doing a mean chair dance to every tune on Just Visiting Three since it’s been in my possession Tuesday morning. My Twitter timeline was buzzing about the album and Then Zo! graced us with a “Studio Campfire Story” on his Tumblr blog, giving us the complete rundown of how he made the magic happen on Steely Dan’s “Black Cow” remake. The intricately written account of his passion and effort made me feel like I was an actual fly on the wall during the process. Its enthusiasm, hard work and commitment like this that reassures me Zo! is crafting music my future grand children will appreciate.
With this being said, I am headed to his album release party in a few. It will be at Burn Rubber, a very jazzy sneaker store in Royal Oak. Come on out, the party starts at 6 and ends at 8pm. I will have updates on the site tomorrow for the folks who couldn’t make it- I’m gracious like that!
How could I forget to tell you? The album is free-ninety-nine! Click here and GET IT NOW!