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Online Detroit Music Awards ceremony has presenters, performers and Alice Cooper

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

For some area musicians, the Detroit Music Awards is the social event of the season.

Each spring it's a mix-and-mingle schmooze fest where jazz artists, hard rockers, rappers, singer/songwriters and other industry-adjacent folk gather and network at the Fillmore Detroit for the awards ceremony, which is peppered with special honors and live entertainment. 

A video performance from Audio Birds (Sean Blackman, left, James Simonson and Larry Fratangelo) will be part of the online Detroit Music Awards, streaming Sunday evening. The trio is up for Outstanding World Artist/Group.

This year the 29th annual "show" will go on, but in a different way. Producers of the ceremony have teamed up with Streamcast Detroit to offer an online experience that includes clips of presenters reading nominees and announcing the winners plus a smattering of musical performances, both new and archival.  

Because the presenters don't have to commit to traveling downtown to the Fillmore theater, the Detroit Music Awards were able to snag some national talent to present awards this year. Some will remain a surprise until the stream goes live, but one confirmed presenter is rocker Alice Cooper, who has also provided a video performance to go with the online show. 

During the show presenters will announce the winners, who will have their awards mailed to them.  

Music fans can also expect video performances from nominees Audra Kubat, the Muggs, Audio:Birds and others, plus archive footage from Gangster Fun, a Detroit area ska band that goes back decades. 

Johnny Depp, left, Alice Cooper and Joe Perry of the Hollywood Vampires at the 58th Grammy Awards in February.

"It's a lot like the regular show, except people have to pay attention this year," jokes Jim Edelman, the DMA show co-producer, who also produces the PBS show "Under the Radar Michigan." He predicts that the awards ceremony and show, which is usually 90 minutes when done live, will clock in at just over an hour for the streamcast. 

Edelman, who has been involved with the DMAs since 1998, said anyone who appreciates music, even those who haven't been out in the scene in a few years, will enjoy this online broadcast. 

"You miss out on the pageantry of seeing all your friends but we're hoping through some social media people can hashtag and share stories of what it was like when we used to perform (the show live)," he said. "There's enough media folks that are in the show from Devin Scillian to Alice Cooper that the non-musicians will still get a kick out of it."

The Detroit Music Awards were founded in the late 1980s and the first award show was in 1992. Each year dozens of local musicians are nominated by their peers and music industry professionals each year in 11 genres through a three-phase process. 

Detroit Youth Choir.

This year's special awards recipients are Uncle Kracker, Motown group the Velvelettes and the Detroit Youth Choir, which placed second on "America's Got Talent" in 2019. Each are expected to have a presence in the online show this year and will also be honored at the ceremony in 2021. 

Anyone with tickets to the Fillmore event scheduled for Sunday can seek a refund at the point of purchase or use them for entry in the 2021 event. 


Twitter: @melodybaetens

Detroit Music Award Online Ceremony

8 p.m. Sunday