The city of Orlando, Florida is often (and that’s putting it lightly) overlooked when it comes to talented musicians, or better yet, a place to find these talented musicians perform. However, Orlando has several “diamond in the rough” events that consistently deliver stellar overlooked artists that deserve some attention. While the culture is a small culture, the talent pool is massive and underappreciated. The local community of Orlando works extremely hard to present their art to the public and deserve to be seen and heard.
What: Respect The Mic
Where: Café Annie, 131 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32801
Price: $10 and up
For over two years, Leon “OrangeisMedia” Orange, Jr. has placed his heart and soul into creating an outlet unlike any other “open mic” event. Over time, it has grown to be a weekly soulful event to look forward to hearing spoken word, live performances and a live band by the name of ‘Fish & Gritz’. If those factors alone aren’t enough to make you come out and see it for yourself, spotlight singer RaOndria Johnson tears the roof off every single week with her ability to connect with the crowd and get everyone dancing and singing along. It’s hard to predict what you will receive when you attend because every week offers a different theme and appeal. If you prefer a seat in the front of the action, you can reserve a table prior to arrival. For more information, vist OrangeIsMedia.com.
Who: TSA Showcase
Where: Location may vary
Price: $15 and up
TSA Showcase has built quite the reputation of consistently “doing it for the culture” with their vast amount of local showcases featuring top talent. Unlike the average showcase, TSA sets themselves apart from others by handpicking their talent from previous shows in an effort to plan each show. In the past, a few notable TSA Showcase alumni include Marco, Marcellus Juvann, LB, Swamp Posse, Kim, Palmer Reed and so many more. Check out their next upcoming event featuring SKYXX, iEKNOWS, Moe Waveyy, Moody, Kaiydo and Creativeangel on November 28th at Backbooth in Downtown Orlando. For more information on their upcoming events, visit them here.
What: The Sesh
Where: Doc’s Streetside Grille, 1315 S Orange Avenue #1F, Orlando, Fl
Price: $3 and up
The Sesh is an opportunity for local artists interested in performing music, networking and enjoy a cool, relaxed vibe. The event allows artists to build a following while showcasing their talent to other local artists like themselves and the music community. Here, you can be yourself and showcase your ability to sing, rap, dance, perform a comedy skit or anything that showcases your special talent. The open mic event allows you to sign yourself up to perform an hour prior to the event if you’re interested in giving it a try. The Sesh occurs every first Wednesday of each month in the heart of Downtown Orlando.
What: My City Mondays
Where: The Social, 54 N Orange Avenue, Orlando, Florida
Price: $10 and up
For over five years, My City Mondays has given countless opportunities to rising artists to perform for prominent artists including 2 Chainz, Future, Meek Mill, and many more. In addition to the live performances, the event offers a more than generous happy hour with specials every month. Founder, Preston “PK” Prathers offers an impressive platform for artists to gain opportunities that otherwise would not be offered within the city. Prathers throws the monthly event on every first Monday event with a different theme and feel from producer battles, R&B showcases and of course, hip-hop. The next opportunity to attend will be this upcoming Monday on November 9th and will include an opportunity to compete to perform for Yo Gotti and Young Jeezy during The upcoming Annual Florida Classic Weekend. Orlando’s Newest Hip-Hop Radio Station 104.5, Street Runnaz, Bank Boyz Society, Merrim Live and Royalty Entertainment Group present this event. For more information, visit them here.
What: Niko & Friends (Pop-Up Show)
Where: Random locations
Brazilian born, Orlando based hip-hop artist NIKO IS contributes nothing but good vibes with his traveling pop-up shows around the city of Orlando. Signed to legendary Talib Kweli’s label, Javotti Media, Niko keeps a level, humbled approach to delivering his music and giving other local artists the chance to share his platform. His pop-up shows are randomly announced the day before and typically involve other local talent, a live band and other surprises for the culture. While I can’t specify exactly when these spectacular shows happen, I can tell you to follow the artist to catch his next show by his twitter handle, @nikohigh.
Who: Dope Entertainment
Where: Orlando, Tampa, or Miami
Price: $15 and up
Dope Entertainment is more than a promotional company, but a facilitator of bringing underground as well as popular mainstream artists to Florida. Co-founders, Tariq Cherif and Matt Zingler, began their journey in 2010 with their first show with Curren$y and Rick Ross in Tallahassee, Florida. Since the beginning, the two have followed a formula of booking your favorite acts and bringing their tours all over Florida. But, why are they included on this list? Not only are they responsible for bringing artists like Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, A$AP Ferg and others but they’re also giving local artists a chance to share the stage with these artists. Any local artist will tell you, it’s not easy to get someone to take a chance on you and place you on a stage with popular artists. However, while Dope Entertainment focuses on bringing tours that otherwise wouldn’t come to Florida, they are also giving back to community by expanding into their own hip-hop festivals like Rolling Loud and TakeoffxLanding. The two festivals brought out a total of over an astounding (estimated) 9,000 hip-hop fans. Simply put, if you’re a fan of hip-hop music then you should never (and I mean never) miss the opportunity to attend a Dope Ent show. Make sure to check for their upcoming shows here.