Looking for “Local Sounds” Subhead: Amplify Fellowship Music Program Aims to Collect Washtenaw County Sounds

Whether it’s the reassuring ring of a Manchester church bell or the roaring cheers from an Ann Arbor football crowd, local sounds help define the past, present, and future of Washtenaw County.

These local sounds are being captured for an upcoming audio project sponsored by the Amplify Fellowship, which is providing musicians with new opportunities to record and share audio clips.

In partnership with Ann Arbor artist Ki5 Loops, aka Kyler Wilkins, the fellowship is helping curate this special library of authentic sounds. Together, they’re seeking to collect voices, readings, poems, sound effects, and ambient sounds from the area. One resident has already submitted the sound of the train passing through Ypsilanti.

Wilkins and Rod Wallace, an Amplify Project co-founder and Eastern Michigan University (EMU) educator, plan to use these Washtenaw County-based audio clips to loop, replay, and repurpose new music.

“Our mission is to create art that’s firmly attached to its point of origin,” said Wallace, who co-founded the Amplify Project with Maia Evans in 2020 and studies hip-hop as a teaching philosophy.

“Ki5 makes music that is grounded in the human voice, and technology allows us to do so many unique things with that one palette. We just expanded that idea by looking for other sounds. We’re anxious to see what the people of Washtenaw County will send to us, so that we can mold it into great music that’s timeless.”

Interested participants can submit vocal clips, speeches, ambient sounds, and other audio recordings this spring and summer via the Amplify Fellowship Sound Curation Form.

Along with EMU student Lorian Janine, Wilkins is a 2022 recipient of the Amplify Fellowship, which provides independent Black musicians and artists with production and recording resources in exchange for supporting local community organizations.

In 2021, Amplify fellows London Beck, Dani Darling, and Kenyatta Rashon released critically acclaimed projects that featured nearly 40 local musicians and artists.

For questions about the audio project, email info@amplify-project.com. To learn more about the Amplify Fellowship, visit their website.