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TIDBITS

Music

By SUSAN FOTOVICH MCCABE

Musically Inclined: Local Artists Topping the Charts Don’t be surprised if several hometown Kansas City musicians are on your playlist. From Janelle Monáe to Hermon Mehari, there’s plenty of talent hailing from Kansas and Missouri. Janelle Monáe was born in Kansas City, Kansas where she spent her early years before launching a career as a singer, songwriter and composer. Monáe’s music has garnered her six Grammy Award nominations. Kansas City jazz trumpeter Hermon Mehari and his band, Diverse, are capturing national and international attention, as well. Born in Texas to Eritrean immigrants and raised in Jefferson City, Missouri, Mehari accepted a scholarship offered by Bobby Watson at the University of MissouriKansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. Recently, Mehari was one of 13 semifinalists

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in the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition, which is restricted to persons younger than 30, with a focus on a different instrument each year. And it all began in Kansas City. “Kansas City has been a great place to develop my musical craft and share it with a loving community,” Mehari says. “It allows me to support myself doing solely what I love – creating and performing music. I am always happy to represent Kansas City when I travel and play around the world.” Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear took the spotlight on the CBS Morning Show, as well as the Late Show with David Letterman. The motherand-son duo, Ruth and Madisen Ward are the hottest thing out of Independence, Missouri, a place Madisen calls, “A beautiful city full of pride, support and an artistic integrity that keeps you on your toes.” The two just finished their first

European tour, and their first CD, “Skeleton Crew.” Of course, good music spans many genres, such as the Prohibition-era jazz sounds of Kansas City-based Victor and Penny. Jeff Freling is on the guitar, while Erin McGrane plays the ukulele. “We both got our start as performers in Kansas City, and Kansas City’s rich musical heritage informs the music we make today,” says McGrane. “As a nationally touring act, we spend a good part of our lives on the road. We base our business in Kansas City because of the abundant support and resources available to us from arts organizations, the city administration and from our engaged community. KC is experiencing an artistic surge and it’s an exciting time to be involved and creating here.” Three brothers from St. Joseph, Missouri make up the band, Radkey. The group’s debut full-length album, “Dark Black Makeup” debuted in August, 2015, and the band recently played at SXSW, touring nationally and in the UK. n

KC Options | 2015-2016  

In this issue of KC Options learn about Kansas City’s dynamic tech scene and the companies developing revolutionary products and services fr...

KC Options | 2015-2016  

In this issue of KC Options learn about Kansas City’s dynamic tech scene and the companies developing revolutionary products and services fr...