Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday August 14th 2018


Local Sounds, Three Ways

By Jennie McKeon

There is no shortage of live music this weekend—and it runs the gamut from hip-hop to choral music to singer-songwriters.

And the best part is these particular events all feature some incredible local talent.

Here’s a look at three shows you won’t want to miss.

Sounds for the City
Singer-songwriter Paul Vinson says he owes his musical career to the arts community in Pensacola. So before he makes the big leap to Nashville to pursue professional music, he wanted to leave his hometown on a sweet note.

“I had this idea for a final show,” he said. “I wanted to give back to the city that gave so much to me with a show that featured some of my favorite local acts.”

That’s how Sounds for the City was born. Vinson, along with Ben Loftin and the Family and I’MAGENE (formerly Continuum), will perform at the Studer Community Institute Plaza for a family-friendly night of tunes. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Studer Community Institute’s early learning and parent outreach initiatives.

In the beginning of his career, Vinson started busking around downtown Pensacola. Over time, he’s watched the local scene of musicians, singers and songwriters grow alongside the cityscape. It was exciting for a young man from Cantonment to perform onstage at Vinyl Music Hall, and it was that local support that helped him venture out on a small tour of colleges.

“What makes a city great is the people that are in it,” Vinson said. “I want people to see how incredible the Pensacola community is.”

Vinson also wants to show off the musical talent Pensacola has.

“It’s so diverse, from punk, metal, hip-hop and really folksy acts,” he said. “It’s a thriving music scene.”

As Vinson looks toward Nashville as a new adventure, there’s no way he’ll forget his roots.

“Pensacola is my home,” he said. “There’s no going away forever. I hope to continue to see this community grow and the music scene flourish.”

Night of Black Excellence
It’s not easy to fit all of the talent from local black artists into one single night. But that’s the goal of the inaugural Night of Black Excellence.

Artists including Jamal Steele, EFAYEME, Marcel P. Black and Gina Mae the Jones are just a sample of who will be taking over the University of West Florida Music Hall stage.

But the night isn’t just about good music and art. It’s about culture.

“There’s not enough expression of culture in the South,” Jones said. “There’s a disconnect with people who have the power but don’t share the knowledge.”

A Night of Black Excellence will feature artists from the South, including Pensacola, Tallahassee and Atlanta. Jones herself is a percussionist, among the many other hats she wears. Her multimedia company, Mvtha Cvla (pronounced Mother Color), sponsored the event, providing all of the graphic design.

Jones started playing percussion at the age of 4 and has since added an impressive list of instruments she’s mastered. She describes her musical style as neo-soul and says she’s often compared to Erykah Badu. From an early age, she was taught to learn about the poets, musicians, doctors and activists in African American history. At the Night of Black Excellence, she wants to share the history and future of black artists.

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