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Music collectives keep talent in Michigan

Gun Lake records for Bigger Brush Media's "Quilted Attic Sessions."
Emily Fox
Michigan Radio Newsroom
Gun Lake records for Bigger Brush Media's "Quilted Attic Sessions."

Madonna, Iggy Pop and The White Stripes got their start in Michigan, but they left the state to make it big in the music industry. Today, some musicians want to stop that migration and keep talent close to home. 


Kevin Prichard is with Bigger Brush Media in Lansing. He thinks music collectives can help keep people in Michigan.

Bigger Brush Media is one of a handful of music collectives that have been popping up in the state over the last couple of years. Music collectives function a lot like indie music labels but membership is flexible, meaning even if your band isn’t a part of the collective, you can still get help from them. It is all a part of the effort to get musicians working together in a communal effort to boost local music communities.

Bigger Brush works with about a dozen bands that mostly play folk music. The collective helps record, promote and book their musicians; and the charge to the artists? Absolutely nothing. Kevin Prichard is with Bigger Brush Media.

“ Throw a couple hundred bucks at some software, a couple hundred bucks at some gear, maybe buy yourself one nice microphone for 500 bucks and you can make things that are legit. It’s really all the same idea and its if we can all kind of pool resources, we can all do things that are completely professional all with sort of with a shoe string budget.”

Pritchard graduated from Michigan State in 2009. He says after college the majority of his friends moved to cities like Chicago because it was the hip place to be. Pritchard says he wanted to stay in Lansing because he saw potential in the city. He thought the best way to build on that potential is to play up the local arts scene. 

“I think without art, we are going to continue to lose people. We’re going to continue to lose those young people that we’ve paid so much and invested so much time and energy into educating; they are going to keep moving away.”

Pritchard figured good music might make people want to stick around. In order to do just that, Pritchard and his fellow musicians have been hosting concerts in the Lansing area to help grow the music scene.

Marina Csomor says Pritchard's idea has been working.

“I just finished my freshman year at Michigan State and didn’t want to stay in Michigan to go to school but I ended up doing it. I wasn’t sure, but I love music and wasn’t sure what the music was like around here and started going to shows and realized there is an amazing music scene, Michigan music, and fell in love.”

And that mentality is exactly what Pritchard is aiming for. He says he hopes creating a strong music scene in Lansing will not only make people want to stick around, but hopefully, it just might make people move back.

Emily Fox- Michigan Radio Newsroom