A new video series called "Whip Jams" features Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti musicians in a blend of casual interview and live performance, all unfolding inside host Nadim Azzam's Honda Civic.
"Whip Jams" highlights Michigan-based musical artists representing a wide range of genres. Featured artists from Washtenaw County include Dani Darling, Mirror Monster, and Ki5.
"Part of the idea is to give local artists a local celebrity platform," says Azzam, an Ann Arbor-based musician himself. "We're finding the best in the community and showing them off in a way that's fun and engaging."
Each "Whip Jams" episode (all taped before the COVID-19 pandemic) begins with Azzam picking up his guest at a local community landmark that is meaningful to them. Viewers who tuned in to the first episode last Wednesday would have noted that artist Ki5's spot was Ann Arbor's Kerrytown.
Bringing the show to life has been a roughly two-year process. Azzam initially intended to create an avenue to promote his own musical pursuits. It didn't take long, however, before he and his production team realized they were on to something that could benefit other local musicians.
Also at the heart of the show is Azzam's love of a good conversation.
"It goes back many, many years for me. I can't count how many times my friends and I would get into a car and cruise around town, talking the whole time," he says. "I've experienced some really good, meaningful life talks."
Azzam is confident that all "Whip Jams" viewers – not just music lovers – will leave each episode inspired. He stresses that "it's hard to separate art from life" and that "the show is bigger than music."
"Mirror Monster's Michael Skib was studying orchestral composition in college and that inspired him to pursue electronic music and set him on an interesting life course," he says. "Dani Darling shares that her music was a form of healing and rediscovering herself. It's a beautiful story about finding a way to personal and spiritual development that anyone can relate to."
Whip Jams’ first season features five episodes, premiering Wednesdays at 10 a.m. Moving forward, Azzam and his team will continue to carefully curate the show's guest lineup with input from the local community.
"All of our featured artists are people who love their communities and are loved by their communities," he says. "To keep that rolling, we're asking fans to weigh in and tell us who they want to see and know more about."
Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy of Nadim Azzam.