Memphis Music Feature: Artistik Lounge
Ed. Note: I’m happy to share with you this post from new contributor Cat Evans about Artistik Lounge’s 5th Anniversary show this Sunday. If you can’t make it this week, you can catch Artistik Lounge every third Sunday.
“It’s Artistik Lounge’s 5th Anniversary, Mane!!!”
Artistik Lounge is an amazing once-a-month event that features local artists held in Minglewood Plaza every third Sunday produced for the last five years by TamED Productions’ TamE, a Memphis poet with a heart of gold.
The Anniversary show is this Sunday, June 18 at at 1884 Lounge inside Minglewood Plaza. Doors open at 7 p.m., tickets are $10 at the door, there’s a cash bar, and the event is 18 and up. Featured musicians will be Hippy SOUL, Siphne Aaye, Brennan Villines, Mariama, F.W. Love, Dana Mwangi, Jacqueline Gladness and Suavo J. Don’t miss it! More info.
But let me tell you more about why I love Artistik Lounge.
For as long as I’ve known the event’s founder, TamE, she’s been doing something music or art related. Whether it was co-hosting an open mic, creating a one woman show, helping her community through her non-profit Memphis Artists For Change or producing the Artistik Lounge every month, she’s always kept herself busy when it came to the arts. (Sometimes I have to remind her to sit down and breathe).
TamE has had a lot of success with her past events, but I think this Sunday’s Artistik Lounge will be one that goes down in the books. Why? Because it’s Artistik Lounge’s 5th year anniversary!
That’s five years of giving Memphis artists a platform and opportunity to showcase all of their skills in a safe, intimate, loving, supporting environment. During that time, TamE has been the perfect example of a local arts supporter. If that isn’t a reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is.
I recently sat and talked to TamE about Artistik Lounge, who is involved, why it’s important to Memphis, and more. Here’s our interview.
Cat: What is Artistik Lounge?
TamE: Artistik Lounge is a platform for local artists to showcase their talent, garner a following, and network with music and art lovers and supporters.
It is a lounge, mane. We want people to know that it’s a laidback experience. There is no dress code, there is no one type of person you’re going to find at the lounge.
My greatest hope is that it becomes a mecca for all things local artistic once a month. At Artistik Lounge, you may see a visual artist, you might also see a crafts person who is selling their product, like Funky Knits and Naturals or Pretty Purple Elephant.
You may also see different social service representatives. Although we are a platform where we want people to come and enjoy themselves, we also want to highlight some great social service work that’s going on in our city.
Cat: Who is a part of Artistik Lounge?
TamE: Originally, it all started with myself, Brandon, and Siphne putting Artistik Lounge on weekly at the Rumba Room. Brandon’s friend Darius liked what we were doing and started taking pictures we could use to promote the event so he came on board organically.
As the event became more of a staple in the city, there was a need to bring on more assistance – which is where you [Cat] and Shay of CLE Events came in. It helped stabilize everything, the team could work and accomplish goals without being all over the place and that really increased our marketing and our presence on social media and the scene.
Also, the audience. Artistik Lounge wouldn’t be a lounge without the loungers. We create the environment, but the people bring the energy. That synergy between what we provide and what the audience gives – their energy, their vibe – explains our longevity.
Cat: When and where is Artistik Lounge?
TamE: Artistik Lounge starts at 7 p.m. and is held every third Sunday inside Minglewood Plaza. We’ve been there for four years as of now and that’s our home. Typically, it’s in the dance studio.
For the Anniversary show, we’re expanding into 1884 to accommodate more people and not turn anyone away. After the Anniversary, we will be right back to the dance studio.
Cat: Why is Artistik Lounge important to Memphis?
TamE: Artistik Lounge is important to Memphis because we are very intentional about providing a platform for local artists in an intimate environment where they can vibe with the audience. We also provide a spot in the cipher for people who are probably aspiring to be working artists or who haven’t performed in front of an audience before.
Cat: What difference/effect has it had over the last five years? On the music scene, individuals, Memphis?
TamE: As far as the Memphis music scene, we have knocked down some of the walls that stands between artists. So you have a part of the scene where you have this type of artist and a part of the scene where you have a different type of artist. Also, there are certain genres of music and art form expression that you expect to hear when you go to certain venues.
With Artistik Lounge, I don’t think that there is a barrier. We have an open door policy and a very diverse presentation of artist that we present. For example, we’ve had Gangsta Blac. You don’t get no more trap than that, you know, as far as rap.
We’ve had Adajyo come and do their reunion. Our last show we had TRILLogy, Sleepy J and Crisis901. That lineup alone shows the diversity amongst rappers. So, we’re not all neo soul or all rap.
We are all local and we are all Memphis, we are Artistik Lounge. Also, we do open our doors for regional artist or artist who are not necessarily from here. We are proud that years ago we had NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Winners Tank and the Bangas perform, before the tiny desk.
Cat: Last question. Who is your favorite featured artist?
TamE: I’m from South Memphis. I’m not going to answer that question. (laughs) I’ve got plenty of sense. I would say this though: the quintessential featured artist for me is Tikyra. She is the drummer for Southern Avenue and is the perfect example of someone who uses one skill but has this tool box of all the things they can do. So opposed to asking her to come and drum for us, we said “Hey, come and show us all of your skills!” She plays the guitar, she sings, etc.
That’s what I want for the lounge. For artists to feel feel comfortable enough to present all of their talents in a professional format in a laid back environment and for the audience to enjoy it as much as the artist.
I want the artist, showcasing parts of themselves that we don’t normally see, whether it be their own music, whether it be an instrument we didn’t know they play, whether it be a talent we didn’t know they had, spoken word – from a person who’s normally singing. Whatever it is and feeling comfortable enough to do that and being confident that the environment we provided is a safe place to do that.
For more information about the Anniversary show, visit Artistik Lounge’s 5th Year Anniversary event page here.
Cat Evans was born in California, raised in Memphis, and now lives in midtown. She’s a photographer, writer, organizer for DreamFest Weekend, founder of CLE Events, and a Reiki Master. Find her work at Focus Magazine, I Love Memphis, her online portfolio, and Instagram.