Backline MKE | Enrique “Mag” Rodriguez, Joe Kirgues, and Glenn Kleiman
Episode 44: Backline
Backline is here to change Milwaukee’s music scene for good.
Tough to picture Milwaukee without its music scene, isn’t it? Events big and small help shape our city’s nightlife and culture, and can make a huge difference when it comes to someone’s experience living here. With stellar venues like The Cactus Club, The Miramar Theatre, The Jazz Estate, The Rave, Summerfest, Caroline’s, and many, many more, it’s tough to deny that music and Milwaukee are forever intertwined.
But if that’s the case, why do so many artists feel disconnected from the city’s vibrant music culture? Artists are afraid to tap into what’s around them, and it’s got something to do with Milwaukee’s identity as a music city. Other mid-sized cities like Nashville, Minneapolis, Austin, and even Eau Claire are recognized nationally as music hubs, but Milwaukee often fails to make the bill.
Enter Backline. This big, bold collaboration between two stellar organizations is here to ensure Milwaukee’s music scene explodes the way it should. 88.9 Radio Milwaukee and gener8tor have teamed up to give our city’s musicians the resources they need to stand out. To paraphrase Enrique “Mag” Rodriguez, one of our podcast guests and Backline’s program director, Milwaukee has everything it needs to become a standout music city—we’ve got the audience, the talent, and the venues.
So what’s Backline gonna do to bring those three together? Well, Backline is offering four lucky local musicians an astounding $20,000 grant—yes, each—and participation in a startup-styled accelerator, similar to gener8tor’s flagship program. In addition to the inspiring jolt of cash, the artists will receive every kind of support they could possibly need on their journey like coaching, mentoring, networking, distribution, tour booking, and more.
But it’s not all about those chosen four. Backline is going above and beyond, making the entire program accessible to the music community as a whole. Artists in the city can take full advantage of Backline’s free workshops that cover many relevant topics and offer a huge layer of support. Backline is in it to build community and elevate Milwaukee’s music scene as a whole, and wants to see all artists succeed.
For the city, that means more young talent retention, a more vibrant nightlife, and an environment where artists feel proud to call Milwaukee their creative hub. If you couldn’t tell, we’re excited to see where this one heads.