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Your Complete Summer Guide to the Miami Music Scene

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Courtesy of the Miami Design District

There’s more to the Miami music scene than meets the eye. From the outside, it may look like it’s all DJs and Spanish music, but dig deeper into the city and you’ll find a wealth of locals rocking out at every type of venue to everything from Latin fusion to indie funk to slow jazz to hip-hop. This summer, check out all the music the Magic City has to offer -- just don’t ask us where all these uber-talented Miamians came from. (Seriously, we’re still trying to figure it out.)

Matthew Eisman / Getty

Can't-Miss Tours

Prince Royce
July 30, Klipsch Amphitheater at Bayfront Park

Bronx-born Prince Royce has taken the Latin music world by storm. Along with chart-topping hits like "Corazón Sin Cara" and "Stand By Me," the 28-year-old has recorded songs with the likes of Snoop Dogg, Jennifer Lopez, and Miami’s own “Mr. Worldwide” -- Pitbull.

I Love the '90s Tour
August 19, Pompano Beach Amphitheatre

TLC, Naughty by Nature, Blackstreet, that dude from Sugar Ray, Snap! and Montell Jordan? Thiiiis is hoooow we doooo iiiit.

Courtesy of Magic City Hippies

Hottest Up-and-Coming Local Artists

Yoli Mayor
America knows her as the woman who took off her diamonds on America's Got Talent, but here in the MIA, she’s long been famous as our very own Cuban Adele. At just 21 years old, this first-generation Cuban-American singer is a regular sensation at El Tucán’s weekend Havana-style cabaret, and she has an EP coming out this summer.

Brendan O'Hara
Born in Massachusetts, roots-soul-pop singer Brendan O’Hara (and his perfect man bun) now calls South Florida home. Practically a one-man band, O’Hara sings; plays the piano, drums, acoustic bass, and electric guitars; and can be found rocking out almost nightly at venues such as Regent Cocktail Lounge, Broken Shaker, W South Beach, Ricky’s, and 1 Hotel.

Magic City Hippies
As their name suggests, this Coconut Grove-born indie funk trio started as one dude wandering the streets, playing for partying 20-somethings and passersby. (That is, until local police made him stop.) Fast forward to 2017, and these three are known worldwide for their blend of hip-hop, funk, and pop in hits like “Corazón,” “Hard On Me,” “Fanfare,” and “BUST.”

If you’ve seen her perform at spots such as Ball & Chain and the Eden Roc Hotel, then you know there’s nothing this sultry jazz singer and Miami-bred yogi can’t do. Jahzel (pronounced Jazz-el) released her first album, Leftovers, in 2016, and her belting is a sexy blend of Ella Fitzgerald, Norah Jones, India.Arie, and Sade.

When two local bands broke up, their remnants came together and formed a better one -- now known as ArtOfficial. Made up of vocalists Newsense and Logics, keyboard player Danny Perez, bassist Ralf Valencia, and saxophonist Keith Cooper, you can find the group gracing Miami stages with their strangely awesome mix of hip-hop, jazz, and funk.

Cris Cab
This Miami-born reggae and R&B singer needs no introduction. Since Pharrell first discovered him at the tender age of 15, Cab (now 24 years old), has opened for Matisyahu, O.A.R., and Gym Class Heroes, collaborated with Pitbull, J Balvin, and Big Sean, and is currently on a global tour.

Coolest Venues

Bougainvillea’s Old Florida Tavern
Go to “Bougies” (as the locals call it) any night of the week, and you’ll see where the real Miamians drink. From grungers and hipsters to 50-year-old bikers and newly-21 year-olds, you never know what kind of a crowd you’ll be walking into, but hang by the indoor bar and you’re guaranteed a front-row seat to whichever band is passing through.

Ball & Chain
Sitting on Calle Ocho, Little Havana’s busiest thoroughfare, Ball & Chain is Miami’s most popular Cuban lounge. Once you get through the long line waiting outside the door, grab a signature mojito and head out back where there's an amphitheater-style stage with a pineapple dome that features live Latin singers and jazz bands every Thursday through Sunday.

Churchill’s Pub
This is more of a punk hangout than a traditional pub… and it’s as unassuming as it gets. Come to Churchill’s if you want something simple: Pool tables, a large room where local bands play jazz, rock, and punk; mosh pits, and an outdoor patio.

“A dark alleyway by the train tracks” wouldn’t normally sound inviting, but in the case of Lagniappe, it is. This gem of a wine bar looks like a simple shack on the outside, but go any night of the  week and you’ll find a cozy lounge with a string-lit backyard, wine stored in old-school refrigerators, and live jazz, folk, or swing singers livening up the joint starting at 9pm.

Mango’s Tropical Café
Walk down Ocean Drive, and you won’t be able to miss this place: It’s mostly dark (with electric neon accent lights), is filled with sexy Latin dancers on tables, and always has a live salsa or reggae band to back them up. The nightly 8pm dinner show is one of the longest-running performances of its kind, and it keeps the party going until 5am most days of the week.

Courtesy of Gaia Elise/Kulcha Shok

Weekly Music Nights

Jazz Tuesdays at The Corner
Go for the people-watching and brews on tap, stay for the live, old-school jazz (complete with upright bass) starting at 11pm every week.

Live Music Wednesdays at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila
This taco shop-turned-speakeasy offers specialty drinks and cocktails as early as 6pm, live indie acoustic music at 9pm, and Instagram-worthy signage.

Living Room Sessions, Thursdays at Bardot
Don’t let the fact that there’s no sign fool you -- everyone who’s anyone knows where Bardot is. Hidden in the Design District, go here every Thursday for everything from live indie-pop to hip-hop.

Reggae Sundays at The Wynwood Yard
The Wynwood Yard has become the place for everything from an outdoor bar and a yoga space to a working garden and a place for food trucks to park. Every Sunday from 2pm to midnight, you’ll find it home to live reggae, hosted by Kulcha Shok Muzik.

Jennifer Agress is a Miami-based writer, editor, and music lover who wishes she knew how to play guitar. Instead… she plays the viola. Follow her on Instagram.