Warwick resident Lindsey Lerner may have just graduated from Bryant University, but her summer has been anything but a vacation.
“I’ve taken on D.Y.D as my full-time everything and have done nothing but D.Y.D all summer,” she said during an email interview with the Beacon.
“D.Y.D started out as a hip hop group, formed by co-founder Phil Terry and his cousins in their adolescence,” Lerner said, adding that when she and Terry met in Chile during their junior year of college, they began forming a movement out of D.Y.D, or Do Your Dance. “[We] wanted to bring people together through passion and determination to do what they love. The idea began broad, inclusive of all sorts of people (doctors, gym owners, foodies, etc.), but has since been honed down to focus on the performing arts.”
By developing this focus, Lerner said D.Y.D is able to bring together local businesses and musicians, stimulating the local economy in a novel way.
“D.Y.D is the fair trade of the music industry!” she said.
Lerner has been hard at work the last few months arranging bands and artists, organizing sponsors and putting together the next D.Y.D showcase, billed as the Fair Trade Music Series, which will be held on Saturday, Aug. 29 at 8 p.m. at The Met in Pawtucket.
It will be the first D.Y.D showcase since April 18, which took place at Olive’s Martini Bar in Providence.
“The last D.Y.D showcase was really focused on finding artists that had found their passion, followed it through and this was now their chance to share it,” Lerner said. “We still have those ideals at our core, but now we are really focused on the educational aspect of the music industry. We are educating establishment owners of the value of our artists and even educating the artists themselves of their own value.”
Lerner said many people see music as "just a hobby, but it is so much more.”
“The average American spends 5.6 percent of their annual income on entertainment – why don't the actual artists creating that entertainment have any benefit?” she said.
Lerner said one of the major differences with the upcoming showcase is the addition of sponsors, which includes: Borealis Coffee Roasters, Empire Guitars, Hope Actions, KMB Law, Lerner Construction, Music Town, Dash Bicycles, Omnia Designs, Uprising, Cool Air Creations, Narragansett Beer, Revival Beer, Rigatoni's Italian Restaurant, Social Enterprise Greenhouse and LeFavorite Bakery.
Lerner said the show would not have been possible without them.
“[They] have all contributed in some way or another. Whether it was helping us promote the event, giving us monetary donations for advertisement space on the back of our shirts (that will be available at the show), providing food for our artists beforehand, coffee, desserts – everything!” she said. “D.Y.D is ALL about fostering a community around what we are doing and all of these incredible people stepped up to make that goal come to fruition. I cannot thank them enough for the support. It's truly inspiring when you work day in and day out on something and others join you!”
Lerner said D.Y.D hosts a larger scale showcase every three months.
“These showcases are able to bring together a broader demographic of those who 'D.Y.D' and are part of the movement. The Fair Trade Music Series will be the third showcase of its kind, hosted in the biggest venue yet,” she said. “[People] can expect some of the best local music and some of the most incredible human beings to take the stage that night. These artists put their heart and soul into all of their work and it translates directly to the stage.”
Lerner said, at the very least, she expects an enthusiastic crowd and energized artists performing.
“No matter how big or small our crowds have been, there is always a big energy at D.Y.D showcases,” she said.
The Fair Trade Music Series will feature the following artists: Aubrey Mable; Nostalgia; Sun of Sound; Big Scythe and S.O.L.; Beth Killian; Mike Maven; and Terry will be emceeing along with Jen Janet, who performed with her band Blind Revision at the last D.Y.D showcase in April.
“Jen has been a huge help to D.Y.D and extremely reliable,” Lerner said. “It’s truly amazing the support we have gotten this summer!”
Lerner said Aubrey Mable, a 2014 graduate at Bryant, heard about D.Y.D and reached out to her in June.
“She was a D1 softball player and because of NCAA rules was not allowed to self-promote during her college years. Therefore, she was not actively and openly pursuing her music career,” Lerner said. “She’s a Colorado native with a beautiful voice and plays acoustic guitar. She’s now attending grad school at PC [Providence College] and coaching softball there.”
Nostalgia also performed at the last D.Y.D showcase in April.
“They’re an incredible group of guys from Pittsfield, Mass., bringing back the true meaning of hip hop to their music,” Lerner said. “Their sound is like the originals, not what is on the radio today. They're between 35 and 40 and bring years of experience compared to our other artists and are willing to share that with the younger people we work with.”
Lerner said Sun of Sound brings a unique blend of hip hop and rock to the table.
“These guys blend hip hop and rock in a way I've never heard before,” she said. “They are extremely dedicated to their unique sound and have a large local following. Their drummer Jeff is so dedicated to their work that he is returning from his honeymoon early to play our show!”
Lerner, who did spoken word poetry with J.D. (Big Scythe), said Big Scythe and S.O.L. “create a one-of-a-kind fusion of rap, reggae and rock with awesome vibes.”
Lerner said Beth Killian has performed at local bars and open mic nights, but the Fair Trade Music Series will be her first time taking a big stage.
“She plays guitar and has a killer voice and folk style,” Lerner said.
Lerner said Mike Maven is a nationally touring musician in the band Young Pandas.
“Mike brings everything to the table. He's got years of experience on all sides of the music industry and has been a huge asset to D.Y.D,” she said. “It’s not easy to put him into a genre; I'd have to say acoustic R&B/indie. He's one of the most talented people I've met so far!”
When asked what the future holds, Lerner said D.Y.D is in the process of submitting to several different business plan competitions in order to gain funding to move the platform online.
“Within the next six months we want to have solid relationships with all of the bars, restaurants and coffee shops in Providence and the surrounding area to link them to our artists,” she said. “We have been doing this all analog, but believe that within the coming months going digital is the next step. This will allow us to expand into the surrounding geographic area in order to help more artists and more establishments in a socially conscious manner.”
Lerner said D.Y.D is truly a social enterprise.
“We have come into our identity as one working out of the Social Enterprise Greenhouse in Providence,” she said. “D.Y.D is a business that aims to do well and do good!”
Lerner said she wants everyone D.Y.D works with to be as enthusiastic about the success of others as they are about their own.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Tickets for the Fair Trade Music Series, which will be held on Saturday, Aug. 29 at The Met, 1005 Main Street in Pawtucket, are being sold at www.themetri.com for $10, and will be available at the door for $12. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 8.