May 21, 2024


Buzz The Music

Leo Brooks, a Miami native with state roots, returns to South Florida for new music competition

MIAMI — Developing up in Miami in the ’80s and ’90s, Leo Brooks experienced a mystery appreciate that he constantly was frightened to share with his close friends: He was a region audio fan.

When hanging out with his friends in high school, Brooks listened to rap, hip-hop, choice rock and other popular music, but at house with his household, he listened to place. The Miami native’s adore of nation was inherited from his father and grandfather, who didn’t come from Nashville, but from Roatán, a tiny island off the coast of Honduras.

“The greatest issue there is Reggae music and basic nation songs,” Brooks stated. “So I started out understanding how to enjoy new music to George Jones and Hank Williams and Willie Nelson, all the place classics. It was not so well-known back again then in Miami, so that’s a thing I retained to myself.”

Now Brooks is returning to Miami as fifty percent of the country duo Neon Union. They are slated to execute at the Country Bay Songs Festival scheduled for Nov. 11-12 at the historic Miami Marine Stadium, just southeast of downtown on Virginia Essential in Biscayne Bay.

The headliners scheduled for the event are Sam Hunt, Thomas Rhett, Lainey Wilson, Lee Brice and Chris Youthful. Other performers involve Chris Lane, Elle King, Randy Houser, LOCASH, Breland, Nate Smith, Travis Dennis, Restless Street, Josh Ross, Blanco Brown, Mackenzie Carpenter, David J, Hailey Whitters, Jordan Oaks and Dee Jay Silver. Local acts doing at the festival consist of Alexandra Rodriguez and Orlando Mendez, who’s recognised as “The Cuban Cowboy.”

“This is a huge thing for me,” Brooks explained. “I never ever would have assumed that I would be performing at a state competition as an artist in Miami, getting from Miami. I’m heading to really feel like I’m floating when I accomplish that day for guaranteed.”

Brooks reported he hardly ever really imagined about becoming anything at all other than a musician, but it took a although to commence his place occupation. The 40-year-old received a gig as Lauryn Hill’s bass participant shortly soon after graduating from higher school and stayed with the rapper and singer for about a ten years. He then joined hip-hop artist Pitbull, also a Miami indigenous, for a different ten years.

Throughout Brooks’ time with Pitbull, they collaborated with Tim McGraw and other region artists. Brooks started sharing some of his nation songs with Pitbull, hoping to move them alongside to set up country functions, but Pitbull inspired Brooks to execute the songs himself.

“I’m the guy in the history,” Brooks explained. “But he held telling me every day nonstop, ‘You gotta do it.’”

Brooks stated Pitbull hooked him up with some promoters, landing Brooks a place at a country audio competition. Brooks eventually met his Neon Union associate, North Carolina native Andrew Millsaps, by means of mutual close friends and recorded a five-music demo the subsequent working day.

“While we had been recording, our hairs had been standing up,” Brooks said. “We’re like, ‘This is a God factor. This is intended to be.’ And that is just the experience I continue to have.”

The duo unveiled their initially single, “Bout Damn Time,” in November 2022.

Expanding up with region audio authorized Brooks to lock into the really feel of it, but he can not dismiss the Latin influence of his Miami upbringing, he stated.

“That gives it a minor taste in our seem for positive,” Brooks claimed.

Miami previously is regarded as a hub for Latin, hip-hop and electronic audio, but Country Bay organizer Nelson Albareda, the CEO of Loud and Stay, claimed South Florida has no shortage of country fans.

More than a third of all place audio followers in the U.S. identified as persons of Latin descent and Miami’s reputation as a cultural melting pot, as properly as an leisure capital, encouraged promoters to carry a enormous state songs function to South Florida, Albareda explained.

“We think that this could become a vacation spot competition, where men and women arrive for Miami and nation songs,” Albareda said. “And we’re seeing that in our tickets revenue. We are offering an equal quantity of tickets in South Florida as we are outside the house of South Florida.”

Albareda stated his firm began tests the State Bay thought in 2017, nevertheless programs have been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Again on monitor, Loud and Stay is now doing work on the lineup of performers for subsequent 12 months and Albareda hopes the competition can come to be a lasting, once-a-year party.

Nation Bay is scheduled to be held at the Miami Marine Stadium, using benefit of the look at throughout Biscayne Bay toward Miami’s skyline. Town officers and historic preservationists have worked to restore and renovate the composition, and Albareda claimed his enterprise wants to assistance those initiatives.

“We have a long-time period dedication to Place Bay as a competition, and we have a prolonged-time period motivation to Miami,” Albareda reported.

Apart from hosting a single of the premier region events in Miami’s audio history, the Nation Bay Audio Competition will include things like a place-themed bar, video games, meals, line dancing, a mechanical bull and a big Ferris wheel. The festival also has been advertising anchorage access passes enabling lovers to attend the occasion by boat or yacht. Organizers hope as several as 20,000 folks.

Virginia Key, the web site of Miami Marine Stadium, is a compact barrier island in Biscayne Bay joined to the mainland by a solitary causeway. The constrained access designed transportation issues for the Extremely Audio Competition when the electronic tunes event temporarily moved from Bayfront Park in downtown Miami to the Miami Marine Stadium in 2019.