Hales Corners — Not all musicians write uplifting lyrics, but when they do, the impact catches on.
The Figureheads hip hop group are such musicians.
The band, which writes lyrics and beats to inspire kindergarteners through high schoolers, will perform at Hales Corners Public Library on Wednesday, June 18.
"We try to provide ways for kids to feel affirmed in their life," said Jeremy Bryan, spokesman for the group, which became a nonprofit in 2007. "The idea is that this is a public service, and the goal of this music is to be a source of refreshment with the partnerships we have with schools and nonprofits."
Two founding members, Greg Marshall and Bryan, met at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as two English majors who loved hip hop. They started writing what Bryan called "intelligent hip hop" while actively working with after-school programs and kids with autism. At that point, a child psychologist took interest in the Figurehead's impact and financed the band's album and connected them with performances at middle schools and teacher and autism conferences.
Dave Olson had also joined to create the band's beats and electronic rhythm.
Four years after the band's first recording, it became a nonprofit organization, Figureheads, Inc., to serve Greater Milwaukee and Madison youth. All three members have extensive experience with homeless, troubled, disabled and central-city youth.
The result is both an "artistic enterprise and literacy exercise," Bryan said.
The members teach students how to write a whole song for themselves. With enough time, students even create the song's rhythm and beat and then record it.
"As we go through the song-writing process, we encourage parallels to essay writing and academic forms of writing that they will need," Bryan said.
With albums such as "Fire in the Soul," the Figureheads' lyrics urge students to express their hidden interests and talents to create a "spark that catches fire in some ways," he added.
The style of performance at the Hales Corners Public Library will be very fun and improvisational. Olson will bring his drum machine and make up beats on the spot, while Bryan improvises lyrics based on what audience members tell him to rap about.
There will also be plenty of dancing for the little kids, Bryan said.
The Figureheads have recorded nine albums to date; the latest is "Holy Monkey Mixtape." Visit Figureheadsinc.org for more information on the band's music and history.
FOR MORE INFO
What: Wide-a-Wake hip hop performance by the Figureheads
Where: Hales Corners Public Library, 5885 S. 116th St.
When: 10:30 a.m. June 18
Cost: Free, no registration required
- HCFD raises around $5,000 to donate to Operation Finally Home
- Hales Corners police report: June 30, 2016 issue
- Free Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concert at Boerner Botanical Gardens
- Wounded Warrior now "The Chowventor" (1)
- New Hales Corners administrator prefers 'personal touch'
- Hales Corners Library to host puppet show for summer reading program
- Watercolor paintings of nature on display at Botanical Gardens
- Hales Corners Board selects new administrator
- Rolling road forces bumpy review in Hales Corners
- Hales Corners Chamber of Commerce social to focus on "Millennial Mind"