On Course – Madelyn Grant Finds Motown-Inspired ‘Purpose’ on Debut EP

Madelyn Grant’s “Purpose” EP explores the challenges of reaching self-actualization during a personal transformation. Artwork – Sebi White and Quinn Faylor

Madelyn Grant elegantly charts a new creative course.

The Detroit neo-soul singer-songwriter opted for a classic Motown-inspired sound on her debut EP, Purpose, after forging an initial electronic, trip-hop pathway.

“I love the sound of Emancipator and FKJ, but after touring and performing with them, I realized I wanted to capture more of that Amy Winehouse-Sade vibe. At that moment with electronic music, I wanted to go more in an organic direction of being live with everyone in the studio, and I think these songs lend themselves to that,” Grant said.

“I’ve got this combination of songs, and they sound like Motown, Al Green, Bill Withers and Stevie Wonder. They don’t sound like sound like trip-hop, FKJ or Emancipator. The people who helped arrange these songs with me were U-M jazz school alumni, and they added some jazz influences in there.”

Grant beautifully jazzes up her nostalgic, soulful project across five introspective, fervent tracks. Out today via all streaming platforms, Purpose delves beneath the surface and explores the challenges of reaching self-actualization during a personal transformation.

“After listening back to these songs and realizing this intense process I went through creating this EP, I had this image of a butterfly that kept coming into my mind. When moths and butterflies go through this transformation and reach their final stage, they have to go through this intense cycle. It’s not always pretty, but in the end you’re left with something that’s worth waiting and being patient for,” she said.

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Thank you, ann arbor’s 107one and John Bommarito

Local radio station, DJ inspire my decade-long musical journey

John Bommarito — Photo by Benjamin Weatherston

Thirteen years ago, I flipped the radio dial to 107.1 (WQKL-FM) in my car and haven’t stopped listening to the Ann Arbor-based station that helped lay the initial foundation for my musical journey.

Listening to the station was a nice distraction while driving to and from my MBA classes at Eastern Michigan University. For a few minutes, I could forget about exams, papers and group projects that temporarily consumed my life and focus on hearing new music instead.

Known as “ann arbor’s 107one,” the station introduced me to Death Cab for Cutie, Snow Patrol, Gomez, Spoon, Ray LaMontagne, Nickel Creek, The Alternate Routes, Colbie Caillat, My Morning Jacket, The Shins, Scars on 45 and others. I slowly built up my CD collection and my musical knowledge because of that station.

By 2008, I had finished grad school and started commuting to Jackson for work five days a week. That allowed me to listen to ann arbor’s 107one about two hours a day. Each day, I looked forward to hearing Martin Bandyke and John Bommarito share their thoughts about different artists between songs.

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“Samain Night” – Loreena McKennitt Journeys to Ann Arbor

Editor’s Note: My husband Brian writes his third post for The Stratton Setlist about the Oct. 12 Loreena McKennitt show at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, Mich.

On Christmas morning in 1994, I opened a gift from my parents that had the unmistakable shape of a CD. As I tore off the wrapping paper, revealing the cover, I was greeted by a woman with a harp, wearing vaguely antiquated clothing, standing on a hill overlooking a lake. It turned out to be “Parallel Dreams” by Loreena McKennitt, an album by an artist I had never heard of.

My dad had heard about Loreena McKennitt on public radio driving home from work one night. He knew that I was interested in Enya and other Celtic and New Age music, so he thought I’d be interested in her as well.

After looking at the hazy album art, I turned the CD over and read through the song titles – “Samain Night,” “Standing Stones,” and “Ancient Pines” among others. They certainly sounded interesting.

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