Detroit Music Awards hits some high notes with second pandemic stream

What a difference a year can make.

For the second streaming edition, the Detroit Music Awards made for a crisp, lively, and tightly produced affair on Sunday night – a bright and optimistic contrast to the homemade virtual event thrown together in the first few weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If nothing else, it is clear that after 12 months of exercise everyone has gotten better at the self-video routine.

The DMAs marked the 30th year of a show that began as the Motor City Music Awards and traditionally held at the Fillmore Detroit. The Sunday presentation was more cohesive and compelling than some of the Fillmore in-person shows in recent years. And the technical leap from electricity in 2020 was clear from the start.

An intro segment by Paul Stanley (Kiss) was followed by a hard rocking, skillfully edited revue “Detroit Rock City” under the direction of Derek Jendza with a style-hopping group of local musicians.

In addition to the hometown hosts and cast of the pre-recorded program, several Detroit-loving outsiders have been hired for segments full of tributes to Motor City and its musical legacy, including Cheap Trick’s Peter Frampton, Lyle Lovett, David Coverdale, Rick Nielsen and Barenaked ladies Ed Robertson.

The Detroiters Alice Cooper and Suzi Quatro were also guests. The latter ended the show with a new video for their hometown chug hometown “Motor City Riders” video.

Up-and-coming rapper Redd became the night’s top winner, grabbing five awards and dominating the hip-hop field. R&B blues singer Laura Rain, singer-songwriter Jill Jack and jazz singer Sky Covington each took three wins.

While the majority of the DMAs’ 70+ categories are reserved for artists who mostly work in the local scene, there are a handful that are reserved for acts nationally. There Eminem made an outstanding major label recording for his album “Music to Be Murdered By”, while Cooper won an outstanding national single and major budget video with “Our Love Will Change the World”. Bettye LaVette grabbed outstanding national indie recordings for “Blackbirds”.

The Detroit Jazz Festival, which received huge acclaim in September for its polished four-day live stream, was honored in the newest category of DMAs: Outstanding Live Performance (Virtual).

Nominations and voting for the DMAs are made by local musicians and other industry professionals who are registered with the Detroit Music Awards Foundation.

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Outrageous Cherry’s Matt Smith played his own “Our Love Will Change the World,” a 2005 song that Cooper cleverly dusted for his latest “Detroit Stories” album. After Smith was introduced by Cooper on Sunday, he also gave the shock rocker a musical nod and played an acoustic home replay of “Welcome to My Nightmare.”

Gospel powerhouse CeCe Winans was the surprise artist of the night – she was prematurely teased as a Grammy heavyweight from her hometown – while Tyler Spencer and the Electric Six took their rendition of the Alan Parsons project’s “Eye in the Sky” of their upcoming one Album brought. their latest collection of cover tunes.

Stanley, a volunteer Detroit rock hero through his band Kiss, later reappeared on the show for a zoom-style performance with his side project Soul Station and worked his falsetto on the Miracles’ “Ooo Baby Baby.”

“The next 30 years of the Detroit Music Awards begin tomorrow,” said Emcee Jim Edelman, ending the night.

The show was streamed live via Facebook on Sunday and can be viewed on

Detroit Music Awards 2021 winners list

Great Americana artist or group: Jill Jack

Outstanding Americana Instrumentalist: Larry Labeck (Pedal Steel)

Outstanding Americana Songwriter: Jill Jack

Outstanding Americana Singer: Jill Jack

Excellent Americana recording: The Whiskey Charmers, “Lost on The Range”

Outstanding Blues Artist or Group: Tosha Owens

Outstanding Blues Instrumentalist: Jimmie Bones (Keyboards)

Outstanding blues songwriter: Tosha Owens

Outstanding Blues Singer: Thornetta Davis

Excellent blues recording: Laura Rain and the Caesars, “Different State of Mind”

Outstanding Classical Composer: Patrick Prouty

Excellent Classical Instrumentalist: Takashi Iio (Bass)

Outstanding Classical Singer: Eve Evola

Excellent community orchestra: Dearborn Symphony Orchestra

Excellent small ensemble: Chamber music in the Scarab Club

Excellent classic recording: Jill Fitzgerald, “Go Tell It On The Mountain”

Outstanding Country Artist or Group: The Orbitsuns

Outstanding Country Instrumentalist: Dave Feeny (Pedal Steel)

Outstanding Country Songwriter: Vin Dombroski

Outstanding Country Singer: Julianne Ankley

Excellent country recording: Julianne Ankley, “With Love from Lake Huron”

Great Electronic Artist or Group: Flashclash

Outstanding Electronic DJ: Anison “The Impaler” Roberts

Outstanding electronic producer / writer: Yorg Kerasiotis

Excellent electronic recording: Luis Resto & Solar Ansari, “Ambient Sounds, Vol. 1”

Great family or children’s music: Bob & Coltrane

Outstanding live performance: Bugs Beddow & The Good Stuff

Outstanding live performance (virtual): Detroit Jazz Festival

Outstanding Live Sound Engineer: Mike Carr

Excellent local record label: Detroit Music Factory

Excellent local recording studio: Tempermill

Outstanding Major Label Recording: Eminem, “Music That Must Be Murdered”

Outstanding National Single: Alice Cooper, “Our Love Will Change The World”

Excellent national small / indie label recording: Bettye LaVette, “Blackbirds”

Outstanding Record Producer: Josh “Motor City” Ford

Excellent tribute band: Magic Bus

Great Big Budget Video: Alice Cooper, “Our Love Will Change The World”

Excellent video on a budget: Tosha Owens, “We Have Hate on the Run”

Excellent Gospel / Christian Artist or Group: Sweet Crystal

Outstanding gospel choir: Detroit Youth Choir

Outstanding gospel / Christian instrumentalist: Blu Lucas (keyboards)

Outstanding Gospel / Christian Songwriter: Peggy Turner-Carr

Outstanding Gospel / Christian Singer: Peggy Turner-Carr

Excellent Gospel / Christian Recording: Detroit Youth Choir, “A Holiday with You”

Outstanding modern jazz artist: Straight Ahead

Outstanding traditional jazz artist: Sky Covington

Outstanding jazz instrumentalist: Ralphe Armstrong (bass)

Outstanding Jazz Composer: GayeLynn McKinney

Outstanding jazz singer: Sky Covington

Excellent jazz recording: Sky Covington, “Club Crescendo, Vol. 3”

Great Rap Artist or Group: REDD

Outstanding rap composer: REDD

Outstanding Rap MC: REDD

Outstanding rap producer: REDD

Excellent rap recording: REDD, “Symphony of Sympathy”

Excellent rock / pop artist or group: The Reefermen

Excellent alt / indie / punk artist or group: Elsie Binx

Outstanding heavy / hard rock artist: Warhorses

Outstanding rock instrumentalist: Johnny “Bee” Badanjek (drums)

Outstanding rock / pop songwriter: Dirk Kroll

Outstanding rock / pop singer: Gia Warner

Excellent rock / pop recording: The Gasoline Gypsies, “Playing with Fire”

Great Urban Artist or Group: Bugs Beddow & the Good Stuff

Outstanding Urban Instrumentalist: Phil Hale (Keyboards)

Outstanding Urban Songwriters: Laura Rain & George Friend

Outstanding Urban Singer: Laura Rain

Excellent city shot: Kat Orlando, “Terry has a pit bull”

Outstanding World Artist or Group: Corktown Popes

Outstanding Instrumentalist in the World: Sean Blackman (Guitar)

Outstanding world songwriter: Lisa Goedert

Outstanding Singer in the World: Tracy Kash

Excellent world view: Muruga Booker, “Boom Zoom”

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