Deep Ellum 100 is a non-profit organization that has awarded twelve grants and over $30,000 helping musicians, artists, service workers and small businesses through economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. DeepEllum100 was founded by Gianna Madrini, Gregg Fussell and Pete Freedman in May 2020.
Madrini hosted their first in-person event to launch their fourth edition of grants which will feature $1000 given to each of the 10 winners, as well as the opportunity to be a part of a live album recording at Trees on Elm Street in October that will be be produced on a limited-edition vinyl.
The live album project will be called The Sound of Deep Ellum II, and will be a continuation of the 1987 release The Sound of Deep Ellum on Island Records. The project will also be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Deep Ellum district.
Director of Media for Deep Ellum 100 Scott Tucker (musician of The Orange, Aztec Milk Temple) helped make the connection to Erv Karwelis of Idol Records, who is going to be producing the live-album project.
“I’m really honored to be asked to be part of [Deep Ellum 100],” Tucker said. As a musician myself I can appreciate the other side of things – fundraisers and things like this that help artists be able to write and record their own history. We want it to be a very culturally rich and diverse time capsule of what’s going on right now.”
Submissions for the grants will be open to DFW artists of all genres will begin on August 15 on the Deep Ellum 100 website. Artists will be expected to provide two well-recorded songs along with links that can help show their active involvement with the culture of the DFW music scene and Deep Ellum. Submissions will be open for three weeks and there will be people from the music community that will help select the musicians who are chosen to be part of the project.
“I think one of the most beautiful things is that we have this incredible diversity,” Madrini said. “We have amazing rappers, we have bands that play punk, play r&b, jazz and more. With all these beautiful musicians, we want to have that real mix of ‘who’s here now,’ and who’s a part of this current era. This 2022 era.”
For those involved, it’s more than just a grant. It’s a way to be part of something that is a continuation of music history in Deep Ellum, whose grounds have been part of the larger music landscape.
“The audience also gets to participate in the project and be there,” Madrini said. “These bands and musicians get their energy from the audience, and so this is really a way to bring everyone who supports local music together.”
Everyone who purchases a ticket to the live recording show will have access to an online download when the album is released.
The online version will be available before the vinyl, though producers are hoping to have the vinyl available by mid-2023.
“I think we’re in a place right now where we could all use a little more joy, and for someone like myself and people from this community, we’re missing that music element,” Mardini said. “It’s here, but we want to strengthen that and the ties that we have with music. I think what Dallas has, particularly in this neighborhood, it’s very special. You don’t even really realize it until you go other places.”
Visual artist Izk Davies, who was one of the first grant recipients at the beginning of the Deep Ellum 100 project, will be the creator of the live album artwork.
“I’m sure [the art] will develop into something perfect for it,” Davies said. “I’ll get to learn who is all involved, how to best put everyone’s style into one thing and then squeeze the sponge. I’m open to anything.”
Deep Ellum 100 has until October to finish raising funds for the project, and soon sponsorship packages will be available on their website. “We’ve been successful every [fundraising] round, so we feel that we will be able to reach our goals,” Madrini said. “Especially when people know where it’s going and what it’s going to culminate into – the live project, and going directly to musicians.”
“Right now we’ve got Weed & Whiskey TV‘s Jerry Joyner supporting us. They gave us our first sponsorship money for this project,” Madrini said. “He’s got some really exciting things going on, and we hope to collaborate with him on some projects he’s already doing. He has music segments on his channel, he does infused kitchen, medical marijuana, and other things. He is doing a lot with music, and so we hope to do some events with him as well in the near future.”
Jessica Waffles is a freelance photographer/videographer and regular contributor to KXT.
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