DIME is excited to present its first ever Night of Voice on Thursday, April 19th in our Underground venue. The event will feature performances from DIME Faculty DeAnna Johnson, Antea Shelton, Liz Belluni, Katie Else and DIME Detroit students will also hit the stage to showcase their talents!
We had the chance to sit down to talk to year one vocals student, Makayla Hewins (Ma-Kay-la), about her first year here at DIME, her biggest musical influences, and what we can expect to see at DIME Detroit’s Night of Voice!
What is your background in music and education?
I started singing around the house when I was about 2 years old and joined the church choir at 3. I didn’t like it at first! I used to cry every Sunday on the choir stand, but I got over that eventually. I sang my first solo, “This Christmas” by Chris Brown, at my church Christmas program when I was eight. Then, I was in the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit during my junior and senior years of high school, which is where my formal music training began. Then, I started studying at DIME in August, 2017.
- What are some of your musical influences?
I get asked this question all the time and it’s so funny… I don’t really know how to answer it! Most people have their go-to artists and bands, but I just never really focused on one artist in particular. If you look at my playlist it’s just whatever song I like, or songs that speak to me. It’s not very specific, although I do like Bruno Mars a whole bunch, [laughs] but I don’t sound much like him, so I don’t really know if that’s an influence.
- You are set to perform at DIME Detroit Night of Voice, what can we expect to see?
You will see something different than you’d normally expect from me! Most people hear my voice and think neo-soul, R&B. But at Night of Voice, you’re going to hear something out of my comfort zone and see a new side of my artistry that most people aren’t used to seeing… including me!
- How has DIME helped to shape you as a vocalist?
I told you about my background with the Mosaic Youth Theater of Detroit, but that was always in a group setting. At DIME, I’m learning how to perform by myself and be completely comfortable on stage, and confident in who I choose to be as an artist. I’m also learning how to fight performance anxiety—it’s a thing! I’m also learning to move on stage. For my first performance here, I was stiff as a board! Now I can move across the stage and it feels like I’m at home.
- What are your goals post-graduation?
I wish to write, record, and release my own songs with my newly developed piano skills included in my works. Also, I’d like to do theatre at some point, since it’s always been a passion of mine!
- Your brother is currently studying at DIME as well… what’s that like?
It’s good because I have a constant drummer here with me. I have a person that grew up the way I grew up to communicate with. I have all access to him all the time, and it’s cool to be able to work with your family as an artist! Eventually, he’s going to graduate and it’s going to be just me, but for now, we’re always paired together. Which isn’t a bad thing, he’s cool!