Local Current Blog

Sims talks about music education fundraising concert at the Fine Line

Sims at the Minnesota State Fair, 2017. (Nate Ryan/MPR)

Recently, The Current’s Brian Oake and Jill Riley chatted with local rapper and Doomtree member Sims, who is performing at a benefit concert at the Fine Line on Dec. 1 for Hopewell Music, a North Minneapolis organization that aims to make music education accessible in its community.

“We’re doing a fundraiser concert for their operating budget for 2019,” Sims said. “The aim of this show is not only to provide a very solid and amazing lineup, a diverse array of music, [but also] to raise awareness about the organization, and get some people in to contribute funds to keep Hopewell Music going. All of your tickets go to their operating budget, and there’s a place to donate within the show as well.”

A friend of Sims sits on the board for Hopewell Music. When the organization reached out to him about participating in a concert, and he jumped at the opportunity.

Sims grew up surrounded by choir, band, and theater throughout elementary, middle, and high school. Although he stopped taking music lessons in favor of spending time on his skateboard, Sims pointed to school music programs as an important element in piquing kids’ interest in pursuing music later in life.

“Looking back on it, I feel like it was such an important thing for all of the people I know who are professional musicians now; all came up through band or through choir, through their high school. And theater, actually,” he said. “All of those things really seemed like they were fundamental to the creation and the sustainment of art. It’s a great thing to have.”

Hopewell’s programming includes private lessons, ensembles, group classes, and summer camps. Some of their programs are targeted towards youth, but the organization reaches adults as well — Sims says that their oldest participant is a nonagenarian. “They provide access to instruments and lessons for the whole community,” said Sims. “I’m a big supporter of that idea.”

Three other acts are joining Sims on Dec. 1 at the Fine Line: local artists Hoops (aka DJ Rowsheen and DJ Baby Ghost) and Chance York & Big Cats, as well as Chicago duo Air Credits. Earlier this year, Sims collaborated with Air Credits and producer Icetep to create the album Artería Verité. Sims described Air Credits’ sound as “pre-post-apocalyptic” and said that Artería Verité is a concept album about finding community after disaster.

“This record we made together we put out in August, it’s called Artería Verité, which is the study of connection. The idea is, in this post-apocalyptic world, how do people still communicate and find the things that are important? We found that the idea is that music is the way that they are sharing a lot of their story. So we made this record that is these songs that are broadcast on a pirate radio station. It’s very heady, but it’s very fun.”

Sims first worked with Air Credits when he took the duo on tour in 2016 to support his album More Than Ever. That tour marked the beginning of their friendship, and planted the seeds for a full-blown collaboration.

I just noticed how much fun they were having every day playing their songs and writing their songs, and I was like ‘Man, I want to do this!'” said Sims. “So we went to Chicago and made a record in like a week, and took a year and half to get it out. But here it is, it’s out, and we’re going to play it on 12/1 at the Fine Line.”