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Music : Featured Stories

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From Inmates To Infants: An Entrepreneur Finds His Niches

Ryan Santangelo is what folks in the biz call a serial entrepreneur. First he launched the firm Dynamic Media. Then Secure Media Systems. His latest effort is SafeToSleep, which is bringing infant monitoring into the new millennium. And all three businesses are thriving in Sterling Heights, a place he calls the Silicon Valley of Michigan.

FilterD: October 18 - 24

The Hamtramck Neighborhood Arts Festival features bands on porches, a studio crawl and a chance to navigate the streets of arguably Michigan's most walkable city on foot. Get all the details inside FilterD.

Yessian: Making Music You Can't Get Out Of Your Head

From jingles to mash-ups, family-owned Yessian Music in Farmington Hills has been creating soundtracks for commercials, theme parks, movies, and high profile events for 40 years. This year's Super Bowl, which boasted five different ads with their work, demonstrates the ever-growing global reach of this homegrown firm.

Welcome To Speedcult

From metal culture to metal creations, Speedcult brings together a trifecta of Detroit values: do-it-yourself ingenuity, risky engineering, and a need for speed. Metromode's Nicole Rupersburg watches (and imbibes) as National Geographic shoots an episode of Mad Scientists in the team's backyard "abusement park".

Double Lives: Ben Sharkey

Ben Sharkey leads a truly 3D life. A designer at visualization tech firm Real Time Technology, he moonlights as a  honey-smooth jazz vocalist. Okay, so he sings on the side, you say. Still, how many part time jazz singers do you know that boast YouTube fans in the hundreds of thousands?

Get Cultured On Us: A DSO Ticket Giveaway

What would the summer be without outdoor concerts and fireworks? We're giving away tickets to a DSO concert at the Ford House. Jazz or classical, the winner gets to choose. Sign up inside!

Electronic Soul: A Q&A with Jason Huvaere of Paxahau

There's little doubt about Metro Detroit's place in music history. We are a bottomless cauldron of rock n roll innovation and invention. And Movement is part of that...er, well, movement. Metromode chats with producer Jason Huvaere about electronic music's role in that legacy and the business of making it part of our region's future.

Want To Attend Movement? We're Giving Away Tickets

Five stages. A hundred techno and electronic music artists. Crowds that swell to nearly 100,000. A whole lotta sweat. The Movement Festival hits Detroit May 28-30th and we want you to be there! Find out how inside.

The Accidental Restaurateur

From a short-lived deal with Mercury Records to an ancho BBQ burrito locals crave, Steve Zuccaro is not your everyday average Metro Detroit success story. After a teenage stint as a dishwasher, the Grosse Pointe rocker vowed to never work in a restaurant again. Today he owns three popular eateries.

From Blogs To Bucks

Everyone and their granny has a blog. But how many web-based wordsmiths know how to earn a buck for their efforts? From blog-based record labels to Internet journalists to movie deals for embarrassing text messages, some Metro Detroit bloggers are turning their passions into paychecks.

Metro Detroit DJs: From A - Z

Whether you're a techno veteran or a newbie, it's hard not to notice Detroit's notoriety for beat-matching talent. But how to encapsulate a music scene that we export all over the world? Metromode offers an A-Z primer for those who are looking to wrap their heads around the sounds that make us spin round.

A-Haunting We Will Go

Metro Detroit does Halloween right, but how about you? Metromode offers up an extended installment of FilterD, pointing you to the best in outre spookiness and insider ghoulishness for All Hallow's weekend. Read on, go out, have fun... if you dare!

Patrons Of The Scene

To establish a successful creative scene you need a critical mass of topnotch artists and performers, a dedicated local audience and savvy event promoters. Metro Detroit's got plenty of the first but struggles to effectively attract the second because there are only a few of the third. Or so says Walter Wasacz, FilterD's editor and Metromode's cultural connoisseur.

The Vinyl Truth

Metro Detroit's indie rock labels aren't after gold and glory (though both would be nice). They're pressing vinyl, booking shows, and producing CDs because the local music community is what sustains and inspires them. This is lo-fi entrepreneurship with heart, a real rock effort to seed the ground with Motown's next generation of bands.

Generational Sounds: Rock Icon Ivan Kral Listens To Metro Detroit

He penned Patti Smith's "Dancing Barefoot," played with Iggy Pop, David Bowie, and Blondie, and thinks Metro Detroit is the perfect place for him to write his music. Rock icon Ivan Kral chats about the region's rock scene, reminisces about the past, and previews his newly remastered punk rock documentary, The Blank Generation.

The Young & Entrepreneurial: Jake Sigal

When someone asks why young professionals matter for Metro Detroit's future, think of people like Jake Sigal. The 28-year-old Ferndale resident took his love of music and penchant for entrepreneurship and not only helped invent the USB turntable for DJs, he started Livio Radio, a company that employs 15 people and has attracted support from Michigan's largest VC group.

Know Y: Young and Entrepreneurial (a.k.a Doin' Stuff)

Throw a stone in the air in Ann Arbor and if you miss a student or professor you're bound to bruise an entrepreneur. Writer Kate Rose decided to seek out a few of the city's young start-up types to better understand what drives them to succeed and how they turned obstacles into opportunities.

Turn Up The Heat: Salsa Dancing In Metro Detroit

Oh, the weather outside is frightful... but inside it's sweaty, sexy and shakin'. Welcome to Metro Detroit salsa dancing,  a nighttime dance scene that's pulling in locals of every class and color. From clubs to classes to a vibrant web-based community, Metro Detroiters are discovering the fun of becoming a fierce hot mess.

Double Lives: Lisa Lisa

Yo, listen carefully and you'll understand her name isn't a repeat or skip of the record. Detroit DJ Lisa (Lisa) Orlando mixes law and lyrics in a double shift – and has the duplicate names to prove it.

Inside Metro Detroit

Metro Detroit is big. Really big. And not all scenes are created equal. Finding the right restaurant, the right nightclub, even the right place to buy naughty underthings can be daunting. Metromode feels your pain. That's why we created our Insider Guides. Come on in and we'll explain it all to you.

Metromode Radio: Ivoire Guitar

Michigan is not exactly known for its multi-culturalism, but in this Obama age, stereotypes can be broken. A jazz and pop master from the Ivory Coast is playing Dick Odow’s Pub in Birmingham Friday night. He also played in a 14 year old kid's basement in Birmingham this week. Michigan Now's Chris McCarus was there.

From Scratch: 313rd.com

There's a lot going on in Metro Detroit but it's not always easy to find. Raji Bedi wants to solve that problem. Boasting insight that corporate websites can't match and software that gets smarter as users search for their favorite scenes, Bedi's 313rd.com points 20 and 30-somethings to the best of the region's nightlife while offering club owners badly needed tools to schedule and promote their events.

Metro Detroit's Seven Day Weekend

Thursday is the new Friday. Or was that Tuesday? In Metro Detroit it doesn't really matter. Great local music can be had every night of the week. From punk to pop, electronica to jazz, hip-hop to hard rock, Metromode offers up seven nights of tried and true sonic scenes.

Metro Detroit's Real Radio

As corporate radio blands out the airwaves with lowest common denominator programming, local college radio remains the last bastion for original and ecclectic soundscapes. And with the Internet, these student-run shows are finding listeners all over the globe.

Chris Johnston's Loving Touch

Someday Ferndale will erect a statue to Chris Johnston. Or better yet, replace the police officer in Woodward Avenue's Crow's Nest with his likeness. Entrepreneur, bar owner, restaurateur, rocker and driving force behind downtown's resurgence, only one question remains: When does he sleep?

Fine Tuning: The Chamber Music Society Of Detroit

A standard bearer of culture and world class performance for 65 years, the Society may be located in Farmington Hills but it still calls Detroit home. Heck, it's in the name, ain't it? From educational outreach to an uncompromised approach to mission, there's a reason this classical music society thrives even as other cultural institutions struggle.

Metro Detroit Rocks YouTube

It wasn't what Gil Scott Heron envisioned, but the revolution just may yet be televised. As YouTube becomes the place to be seen, Metro Detroit's savvier rock bands are using Internet video to create their own scene.

Sign Of The Times

They say music is a language common to all humanity. Enter Sean Forbes and D-Pan, his Ferndale-based organization dedicated to bridging the gap between the hearing and deaf world via music videos.

Metro Detroit Spins

Despite the all-encompassing digital age, vinyl has gotten its groove back, filling a high-end niche that CDs and MP3s just can't seem to scratch. Metromode crunches the numbers, charts the trends and points you toward Metro Detroit's best (and still thriving) LP peddlers.

Rockin' The Suburbs

Come on feel the noize! Detroit's School Of Rock And Pop not only teaches adults to pump up the volume, they help them find bandmates to jam with. Whether it's power chords, bubblegum pop, head banging or groovin' to a funky bass line, think of it as rock and roll night school.

UFOs Land in Detroit: Art Scene May Never Be the Same

This is what happens when you mix silver paint, noise and lots and lots of cardboard. The UFO Factory produces some unusual sights and sounds in Detroit.

DSO Lets Its Hair Down for 8 Days in June

The times they-are-a-changin', and 8 Days in June shows that the grand old DSO is still kickin'. The innovative festival is still classy, still quality, but it will challenge your perceptions of what an old guard classical music institution should and can be.

RetroGeeks Revitalize Downtown Dearborn

The difference between just selling stuff and building a community is loving what you do and where you work. For the owners of Green Brain Comics and Stormy Records, being a part of Dearborn's downtown is a vital component to their success.

Ghostly International

From Halo to Hummer, Ann Arbor-based Ghostly International may be musical tastemakers to the world but founder Sam Valenti IV is really just preserving his legacy as the cool neighborhood record-store guy.

Double Lives: Chris Rizik

Wunderkind Chris Rizik gives new meaning to the word, "multitasking." From his simultaneous careers as an entrepreneur and financier to the writer and publisher of the most popular soul music website in the country, this Ann Arborite's life has hit one high note after another.

Double Lives: Aliccia Berg & Bob Zabor

Cancer research, rock & roll and scones. You might say that none of these things is quite like the others. And you'd be wrong. Meet Aliccia Berg Bollig and Bob Zabor. Leaping from left brain to right in a single bound, this talented pair is metromode's latest dynamic duo of dual careers. Heck, they've even got aliases. 

travelMode: Hipsters Guide To Windsor

Run for the border! It may not have the allure of Canada's bigger cities but our Ambassador Bridge and tunnel buddy is well worth the hour of international travel. Melinda Clynes takes you on a whirlwind tour of the city's hoppin' and happenin' hotspots.

Busking Up Downtown

Southeast Michigan is alive with the sound of music... and the silence of mimes. If you want a barometer of how happening your neighborhood is, check out who's playing on the corner. More than just local color, buskers are a leading indicator of downtown vibrancy. After all, when's the last time you saw a drum circle at the local stripmall?

Guest Blogger: Ron Suarez

Dr. Ron Suarez is our guest blogger this week. Ron is a serial entrepreneur and Arbor City Councilmember and founder of Promovuz, a company offering digital music promotion, statistics and sales.

Check back here each week day to read Ron's thoughts on media, technology and how to do your own podcast.


Michigan Music Fests: Mozart To Mosh Pits

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "Music takes us out of the actual and whispers to us dim secrets that startle our wonder as to who we are." Clearly the man loved his polka. metromode offers up a Summer Music Festival guide worth singing about.

Guest Blogger: Maud Lyon

Our guest blogger for this week is Maud Lyon. Maud is the founding director of the Cultural Alliance, and a consultant for numerous nonprofit organizations.Check back here each week day to read Maud's thoughts on the state of arts and culture in Michigan.

The Kids Are Alright

When we talk about quality of life issues, who considers the region's sizable teen population? Ann Arbor's Neutral Zone is setting the bar for teen community centers, making use of the latest technologies and trends while nurturing the kind of homegrown talent Michigan desperately needs.

Feel Da Noise

From Parliament-Funkadelic to the Stooges to the entire stable of Motown artists to today's techno pioneers, metro Detroit isn't the next anything, it is a musical force of nature. Panelists at a recent MOCAD event waxed poetic about our region's reputation for revolutionary sound.
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