Tidal Giving Five Detroit Musicians the Chance of a Lifetime With 'Tidal Unplugged'

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TIDAL is giving five musicians in Detroit a leg up as part of a new program called TIDAL Unplugged.

The initiative was launched earlier this year with funding from philanthropists Robert Nelsen of ARCH Venture Partners and Mark Lampert, founder of BVF Partners and a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Their endowment will provide money for recording, marketing, promotion and other business needs for singer-songwriters Emma Guzman, Laurie Love, Olivia Millerschin and Raye Williams and rapper Sam Austins, who were chosen by the TIDAL team from several thousand entries the platform received when it launched the program earlier this year.

"We want to reach out to artists and give them the opportunity to get to that next step," Jason Kpana, TIDAL's Senior Vice-President of Artist Relations, tells Billboard. Each of the artists will receive a production grant to record three new songs, which TIDAL will release, possibly starting during October, via its TIDAL Rising program. On top of that, Kpana says, TIDAL will provide additional support in helping them further their careers.

"The only stipulation is they have to let us know what it is they actually need," he explains. "We'll do everything from helping them book studio time or get additional musicians or writers, vocal lessons. We'll help them with marketing, depending on their needs. There's really no limitations. Our goal is to help them amplify what they've done from scratch, on their own, and step in and help bring music to life."

The TIDAL Unplugged team will be meeting with the artists this week in Detroit and also plan to host a live event some time during the early winter.

Most of the artists already have recordings in motion -- for instance, Millerschin, the 2014 winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest's Love, Love, Love competition, is already booked to do some recording in Los Angeles next week, while Williams has been "living in the studio" working on her own new material. "When I won this I realized I can work with some of my dream producers," Millerschin notes. "It frees me up to do what I want to do and not have to worry about it."

Kpana says TIDAL plans to see how the Detroit Unplugged fares before determining where it will take the initiative next. "We've certainly had a few suggestions," he confirms. "What's great is people come up to us and say we should bring it to this city or that city. I spoke with No I.D. a couple weeks ago and explained what we were doing in Detroit and he said it would be great to bring it to Chicago, where he is. So where excited about where we can go next, but we're not to that discussion yet."


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