NPG keyboardist Morris Hayes performs at Paisley Park on April 23, 2017 for Celebration. (Steve Parke, courtesy Paisley Park)
Pho, iLLism, Radiochurch, and Purple Funk Metropolis will all be representing Minnesota at a Paisley Park battle of the bands being held Aug. 31 – Sept. 3.
Nine finalists were chosen in total, the rest coming from around the country. The finalists will compete for studio time at Paisley Park, a mentorship from members of New Power Generation, and other prizes to be announced after the competition.
According to the event’s subtitle, the competition is meant to highlight “real music by real musicians.” Though the selected artists have diverse sounds, there’s a decided tilt towards Prince-influenced funk-rock hybrids.
The Minneapolis duo iLLism comprises Envy and Fancy, who combine R&B with hip-hop.The two each had solo careers before collaborating.
Pho are a funk group with influences from other genres. The group played at Paisley Park last January, picked by Prince himself to open for Larry Graham.
Radiochurch are an indie R&B group, also from Minneapolis. Their sound ranges from heavy rock to ’90s pop.
Purple Funk Metropolis are the final Minnesota-based band, and they had to know that a name like that would give them an edge. The sextet are influenced by funk, jazz, and old soul music.
Nationally there are Black Alley and Le’Asha Julius, both from Washington D.C. Cosmos will be representing Seattle, and Anonymous Da Band are from Atlanta. The Nightowls hail from Austin, Texas.
The battle starts on August 31, with three bands going head-to-head each night. The battle of the final three will take place on Sunday, Sept. 3. Tickets to the competition are now on sale for $100 per day, including venue tour and dance party.
Jeyca Maldonado-Medina is a journalism student at the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. She has worked for MPR News and Radio K.