Detroit’s Islandview community welcomes musicians and singers seeking spaces to perform new and familiar sounds.

December 13, 2019 | Robert D. Tompkins (Mr. Robert) | One Detroit Community Blogger

Editor’s Note: This content links to external links not related to “One Detroit” or Detroit Public TV. 

FireHouse Music Series, which started in 2016, is the brainchild of Stephanie-Blair Watts. FireHouse serves as a visual performance series dedicated to providing local artists with quality representation of their work. This project aims to highlight Detroit talent alongside worldwide talent.

Watts, while at a friend’s house, was watching NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts and quickly recognized the lack of Detroit musicians featured. Frustrated over this and the lack of spaces for Detroit musicians to perform locally, she launched the series.

“Detroit is music,” Watts says. “I find myself becoming more and more inspired by my fellow artists, collaborators and musicians right here in my city. There is an overwhelmingly amount of talent here, and we have the control to tell our own story about it, too.

“We live inside a rhythm that is completely different from any other major city.”

Rockim Williamson, a thought-provoking artist with songs like “Confidence,” “Waves” and “America (What’s Wrong?),” has always been musically gifted. “From a young age, I was singing, rapping and performing.”

Williamson attended an event at the Church of the Messiah and met with Pastor Barry afterwards, which led to an opportunity to perform for a business launch as well as at the Silence the Violence March held in June.

Throughout the course of his musical career, Williamson has sought out spaces that would help him unite listeners seeking positive, relaxing and light soul music in these turbulent times.

Darryl Thompson aka KayEyeEnJee78KellyGratiot is another artist birthed from the area. With hits like “On My Mind” and “Take It” he hopes to turn personal tragedies and experiences into life lessons for those wishing to better their lives.

Darryl Thompson, his real name, suggests that the Islandview community is also teaching not yet established artists and aspiring artists alike that no dream is impossible if you believe,” he says.

Take 14-year-old Kamarius Hodges and 19-year-old Parrish Burton, two young men with a passion for words and sounds. Each is looking for inspiration and encouragement, not only in music but also in life.

Kamarius, affectionately called ‘K,’ envisions his rap style as one that will allow him to transcend the “anger bottled up” inside him. It’s a constructive way to find peace but also highlight the pain he seeks to rise above.

Parrish aka MBK Sleazy P, on the other hand, knows that life isn’t always good, but there’s always some good in it. With songs like “Motivation,” “Never Cared (Remix)” and “Temporary,” he hopes to shed light on artistry’s ability to provide hope in dark times.

“Music is my passion,” says Parrish. “I love what I do. As a black kid in Detroit, I was taught not to cry and to act tough. So I grew up never talking about my feelings. Music gave me a way to let out the pain and keep going.”

Artists need outlets. In a city grasping for straws as it seeks to identify or rebrand itself in the midst of change or transformation, sometimes the best idea is one –like Motown – that’s been done already.

To stay up-to-date on these artists, you can find Parrish a.k.a. MBK SleazyP on Instagram. Darryl aka KayEyeEnJee78KellyGratiot is on YouTube and Instagram. Also, Rockim Williamson can be found on YouTube and his Website.  Lastly, you can learn more about the FireHouse Music Series and Stephanie Blair-Watts by visiting their Facebook page.

Whether you’re looking for a huge rave sound or an intimate R&B groove, these artists and their eclectic sounds will give you a taste of where the music scene is heading — not to mention a peek at authentic Detroit.

Featured Image: Turntable and headphones, Photo by unknown via cc 0.0