February 16, 2015 N4N

This Detroit Hat

I almost titled this blog something a little more poetic like “This OLD Detroit Hat” which just seams to conjure up something about the city; a tattered Tigers hat peeling apart thread by thread, the embroidered logo stained with rusty sweat, and faded to a color less than royal. However, my Tigers hat is actually brand new, picked it up about 6 months ago on one of my trips to Motor City to continue pushing on the development of our studio there. This Detroit hat has been the source of more conversations than I dare say any hat I’ve had. That’s underselling it though, this hat causes strangers to engage me first about the Tigers (which I’m going to have to learn more about) and then the city. I can be in the supermarket in Nashville, a country store in Vermont or a security line at Logan airport and this hat will nod to the city for me. Now without testing this I bet I would get just as many comments on the cap if it were aged, however, it’s actually fitting that this hat is brand spanking new. Why? Because that’s the kind of energy and growth going on in that city right now and I want to be a part of it and in our own small way we are.

Now each time I talk about Notes for Notes’ expansion to Motown I get a universal response along the lines of “Oh yeah! They need it there” and when I mention I’m also moving there (with my fiance and dog too) to make sure the launch is successful and I get another universal response, “Really?” Why are we moving to this tattered cap of a city? Because still under every hat is a person who deserves a chance to better themselves. While Detroit may be worse off than many cities it is not alone in its need for an infusion of opportunities for young people. However, this city is experiencing an incredible renaissance and we are chomping at the bit to “make some noise” in our own small way by providing youth with FREE access to explore, create, and record music. Notes for Notes is anything but limited to hat wearing youth. As in every city we are in our studios become common ground for any young person to explore music in and together. I can already feel the talent that exists musically in the youth of this city and can’t wait to get this studio open to capture, enhance and inspire it further.

While not every young person will follow in the footsteps of this city’s musical icons such as Berry Gordy, Diana Ross, Eminem, Kid Rock, Bob Seger, Smokey Robinson, Jack White, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Stevie Wonder, Alice Cooper… And the list goes on: they will discover opportunities in and through music that will empower them as individuals to see a future ahead of them. Despite the challenges we have faced and continue to we remain incredibly optimistic about our work to come in this city of constant hope… the beat goes on! For every news story you see about Detroit’s plight there is another story about a new business launching or a grass roots movement to revitalize. Now don’t get me wrong there are some extremely disturbing, borderline post apocalyptic areas that should be flagged on GPS directions. In Detroit, the quickest route on Google maps isn’t always the safest. In the two years since we made the first reconnaissance mission to scope out a location for a studio, one can feel the perception of the city changing from within. It’s not due to us but to the incredible pride Detroiters have for their city. Why does anyone keep an old hat? Because you love the heck out it, you wore it everyday, and often times it became your identity (think of some hat wearers!) There are some amazing folks doing amazing work in and for this city that we have met through this adventure that perhaps we would not have had it not been so challenging. So while in the moment the daunting pace of this project has been trying to the nerves it has brought us to some of these folks like Phil Cooley, Mitch Albom, Craig and Kristin Myers, John and Julie Ligon, Kid Rock, Hot Topic Foundation, CMA Foundation, the Knight Foundation, the team at Paxahau, oh… And Chevy! In every challenge lies opportunity and Detroit is the embodiment of this. Every one of these individuals and organizations is focusing on changing their corner of the world and by doing so are making the whole world a better place. Detroit will not and can not change overnight but with energy moving in the right direction there is a great future ahead and for that I take my cap off to you Detroit.

2015 is shaping up to be a huge year for Notes for Notes and we are excited to announce that the first Motor City Notes for Notes studio will be in partnership with Mitch Albom in the new S.A.Y Detroit center coming in late spring/ early summer; check out the PRESS RELEASE. And, in case you missed it on the CMA awards, HERE is the announcement of CMA and Chevrolet’s support of the Detroit Studio. Thank you to everyone who has supported and continues to support our expansion to Detroit. This is FINALLY the year, “just watch”!