Sofar Sounds is bringing its signature intimate musical performances to Detroit this summer in ‘secret’

Detroit music lovers won’t have to travel far this summer to find unique concert experiences.

Sounds of Sofar, a UK-based music events group that has been coordinating intimate “secret” concerts in unique spaces around the world since 2009, is bringing its signature Detroit experiences to private venues in the North End (last weekend ), North Rosedale Park (July 27 at 7:30 p.m.) and Corktown (August 5 at 7:30 p.m.). Featuring various performances in a variety of genres, the location of each upcoming show will be revealed to ticket holders 36 hours prior to the event.Kindra Parker.

“One of my initiatives and goals is to create partnerships and showcase Detroit businesses,” says Kindra Parker, local city manager of Sofar Sounds for Detroit, who hand-picked locations and venues. concert series artists – including Detroit Headquartersthe North End coworking space which hosted the first show on Saturday.

“[Seat Detroit], and this neighborhood in particular, is such a renaissance for the city. I’m really invested in finding really cool spaces and really cool people to feature. [Seat Detroit] was kind of obvious, Parker says.

Bringing attention to the city’s small businesses amid tough economic times

Than Roland.For Que Roland, founder and owner of Seat Detroit, the opportunity to host an intimate concert with Sofar Sounds was more than just an opportunity to support the arts. It was also an opportunity to collaborate with a colleague from Detroit (Parker and Roland are both Cass Tech graduates) while introducing locals to the company’s beautiful outdoor space, which is available for the public to rent for events, following several years of economic challenges.

Forced to close Seat Detroit’s original East Market location amid the pandemic in 2020 due to financial difficulties, Roland opened the current North End site in November of that year. Originally conceived as a second location, the building constructed in 1910 now serves as both coworking and event space as Roland seeks creative ways to adapt to a post-pandemic world.

“COVID has changed the trajectory of coworking, so we are pivoting right now to rebrand – sort of; not necessarily completely, but to market to a new audience. Trying to figure out what other things people are looking for now, because the work culture has definitely changed and coworking isn’t as popular as it was pre-COVID,” Roland says.

Tapping into this new market was something Sofar Sounds helped with, according to Roland, who says she appreciated the support from Parker and the Sofar team in organizing the event with her, including finding ways to safely host a small live outdoor show amid an ongoing pandemic.

“It wasn’t just, can we use your space? It was like, what can we do for you? What do you need? How can we support you? And that meant everything to me, because it’s so important. As you know, a lot of businesses that were doing well during COVID are no longer doing well because a lot of the funding is gone. And so we have to navigate and find new new ways, and pivoting and trying to keep growing in a very, very strange market,” says Roland.

Ed Sheeran performs at a Sofar concert in Washington DC

Hospitality – and secrecy – take center stage

Along with finding the perfect local space to host an intimate show in the city, one of Parker’s main tasks when organizing gigs for Sofar Sounds is finding the right performers – and maintaining strict secrecy around it. venue and performers.

“I am very, very serious about the secrecy of it all. I don’t even tell my friends,” Parker laughs.

For Parker, who is a musician and a graduate of Berklee College of Music, the process of selecting artists from Sofar Sounds’ database of submissions is painstakingly deliberate. Because spectators are surprised by the artists on the evening of the show, Parker relies on diversity to satisfy a range of musical tastes.

“Every show I put on, there’s a variety of genres. You know, if there’s hip hop, I try to rock; if there’s jazz, I’ll bring R&B” , says Parker, adding that she strives to be “very intentional” about the artists she selects for Sofar Sounds secret shows.

In addition to selecting artists from all genres, Parker says she works to showcase local talent while supporting out-of-state musicians and helping them bring their music to Detroit.

“I like to bring in artists from out of town sometimes, just to show the hospitality of the Detroit music community, if you will, because it’s important. We feature our artists all the time, and it’s great. But I also like to show [artists from] other places about what our music community is,” Parker says.

Be part of something bigger

For Saturday’s concert, Parker’s lineup included a Cleveland-based jazz singer-songwriter L.A. Bailey and musician from Detroit Trey Connorwhose pop/rock guitar melodies immediately piqued Parker’s interest

Trey Conner. Photo provided. “I think I found [Connor] a day when I had gone through maybe 25 artists. And I was just like, ‘I know what I’m looking for, what I want to hear.’ And [Connor] popped up and I was like, ‘Yeah, he’s awesome,'” Parker recalled.

Connor, whose latest EP “In the Clouds” was released last year, had asked to play for Sofar Sounds months earlier. The musician recalls being thrilled to receive an invitation from Parker to play an acoustic set at the series’ first show at Seat Detroit on Saturday in front of about 40 attendees.

“I wanted to come in with [Sofar Sounds] for a little while, and I’m so excited that I finally did it,” Connor says.

For Connor, a Metro Detroit native who lived in Austin, Texas, for three years before returning home last year amid the pandemic, being able to perform in front of a live audience again offered a chance to join the city’s music scene in a unique, meaningful way.

“I’m just really excited to do something different from other shows. I love what Sofar (Sounds) is doing. I think they’re really trying to create a personal connection with the artists and the fans, kind of ‘get to the heart of the music with the songwriting and stripped down sets,’ Connor explains.

As Connor prepares to work on a new EP (the release date is still unknown), those kinds of direct connections with fans — and the city’s music community — are important.

“It’s really good, especially to be part of a scene like Detroit that kind of went through the boom. It’s growing, it’s coming and going, and it’s really cool to watch it grow. And then you know, international bands or national bands coming in like that and giving more opportunities – it’s really cool to see that and be a part of it,” Connor says.

Tickets for the next “secret” concerts of Sofar Sounds in Detroit on July 27 and August 5 are available on https://www.sofarsounds.com/cities/detroit.

Corina C. Butler