Local Music Series: Grand Rapids Solo Singer/Songwriters Part 1 of 2
Musicians You Should Be Paying Attention To
Grand Rapids, Michigan is rich with talented creatives of all kinds. We have some of the most amazing artists, writers, and musicians in this area, and not all of them get the press they deserve. As someone that has been covering the local music scene on and off for 18 years now, I decided it was time to do something to call attention to some of the musicians and bands that you need to be paying attention to.
I am starting with the solo singers and songwriters. Those brave souls that get up on the stage (or stand in a corner) alone and play their music for the masses, or for a couple drunks in a virtually empty bar. They play because they love it. Some of them do it for a living, some of them fit it in along with other full- or part-time work. They all do it because music is in their blood and in their souls.
Emma Loo is an enigma wrapped in a fun and spunky alien shell. She dons the most rad costumes, emits fake blood, and creates music that could only come from outer space. She’s like an alien supermodel with the voice of an angel.
I did an interview with Emma Loo a few months back, and it’s always fun to talk to her about music and life. Right now she’s working on combining music with a science lab, and it’s going to be amazing.
Emma Loo plays all over Grand Rapids and West Michigan and goes on tour around the U.S. at least once a year. She can also be caught at open mic nights hosted by her partner in crime, Sam Kenny.
Nicholas James Thomasma
Nicholas James Thomasma is a well-known name in the Grand Rapids music scene, for many reason. He works at one of the most popular breweries in town, Founders, and he hosts open mic night there every week. He’s also an amazing songwriter and recently started hosting a monthly Songtellers Sessions at Creston Brewery.
Aside from hosting music, he plays a lot of it too. He has a great sound that fits well at festivals of all kinds. He tours around the states in his VW bus when the warm months are around.
Patty Pershayla is a creative young artist that plays around west Michigan weekly. She does original music that will intrigue you and she plays covers too. Whether she’s playing the guitar or the ukulele, you will stop and listen when she plays.
Patty is known to play a metal song or two and does some excellent covers of bands like Korn and Nirvana. She’s definitely a treat to watch and listen to. I think she needs to start playing more heavy metal band covers when she’s strumming at the local breweries.
Stovepipe (Justin) Stover
Justin Stover is a one-man-band. His live performances are amazing, and his music is worth listening to even in the privacy of your own home. He has a knack for writing interesting song lyrics that make you keep listening (and begging for more).
Last Halloween season Stovepipe Stover and Patty Pershayla went on a haunted caravan tour, playing at homes, indoors and out. They played spooky songs, covers, and more. It was a treat to experience.
Dale Wicks is a talented singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist that plays his myriad of original songs and covers all over the state of Michigan. As a full-time musician, he spends a lot of time driving, writing songs, recording, and booking gigs. All that time spent booking and driving don’t affect his talent for making catchy songs though.
Dale’s originals are often laced with country, but most often fit the sound you’d expect from a singer/songwriter. You can usually catch him playing anywhere but Grand Rapids, but once every few months he manages to snag a local gig.
Stay tuned for part two. After that I'll delve into West Michigan solo artists before covering duos you need to know about!