Welcome to Detroit City: From Diana Ross to Detroit’s DJs

Modified: July 16, 2018 | Story by Chloe Seymour | Photos by Movement

Detroit’s music scene didn’t begin and end with Motown, with a lively music scene still making the city dance.

Though Detroit got its groove with big name acts like Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and The Supremes and The Temptations, the city that gave the world these classic voices is still home to a range of extraordinary songs and sounds. (Detroit is also the birthplace of techno music – a fact most people from the area don’t even know!) With this mix of genres still influencing local artists today, Detroit is chock-full of young talent, incredible voices and DJ sets that never end.

A visit to Detroit isn’t complete without treating yourself to live music – Detroit once attracted historic names in jazz and still bares the venues they tooted their horns at, including Cliff Bells, a downtown venue, and Baker’s Keyboard Lounge in the Livernois neighborhood. Big acts still find their way to Detroit today, whether they’re taking the stage at the Fox Theatre or joining local acts at street music fairs like Dally in the Alley.

Whether you’re waiting in baggage claim at Detroit Metro Airport, taking a road trip through the Midwest en route to Detroit, or just taking a Sunday cruise up Woodward Avenue, Detroit’s voices and sounds are the simplest way to prepare for a Motown adventure and enjoy your time in our city (while putting yourself in the mood to groove in the process.)

Here’s the ultimate playlist full of new and old that will instantly have you Detroit dreamin’:

Flint Eastwood

One of the biggest acts to emerge from the Detroit music scene in recent years, Flint Eastwood’s rise has been fueled by the talented hands at Assemble Sound and their get-out-of-your-seat-and-dance tunes.

Big Sean

His name is now synonymous with some of the best in modern hip-hop, but Big Sean got his start right here in Detroit by slinging mixtapes to friends at Cass Technical High School. He is now a multiplatinum recording artists and one of Kanye West’s first proteges.


A DJ that has made a big name in the Detroit music scene, Shigeto can be found spinning a set both locally and across seas these days.

Marvin Gaye

The voice of the Motown generation, Detroit was lucky enough to have Marvin Gaye’s presence and truly significant musical gifts grace our concert halls and radio waves during his lifetime.

Tunde Olaniran

This Michigan native and jack-of-all-kinds-of-genres can be found playing local venues, like El Club. It’s always a dance party.

Detroit Party Marching Band

On any given night, you may hear the sound of tubas approaching in the distance. It is probably the Detroit Party Marching Band, a group of marching band enthusiasts who bring some spice to any Detroit event.

Diana Ross and The Supremes

The Motown Queen herself needs no introduction.


A voice of an angel, Bevlove is another local act who belts out the best at festivals and parties across the city.


A man seen on album covers and Chrysler commercials everywhere, Eminem got his start in his hometown of Detroit – showcased in the popular movie, 8 Mile. Eminem is also a frequent on-stage guest for many big name acts who roll through town.

It’s not hard to get ready to dance in Detroit with such an eclectic collection of sounds at the tips of your fingers (and in your headphones.) From the famous names who once recorded at Hitsville, to the local artists who are still putting The D in dance, Motown’s music glory days are far from over and ready for a wave of new fans.

Check out the Motown Museum

While you’re in The D, stop by the Motown Museum, AKA Hitsville U.S.A, to witness the magic of the Motown sound. Sing and dance your way through famous Studio A, where Motown greats like The Temptations, Marvin Gaye and countless others recorded with the Funk Brothers.

Want more?

In the mood for more Detroit tunes? Check out our Spotify playlists: Detroit Mentions, Artists From Detroit and Motown.

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Mentioned Attractions And Venues

  1. 1
    Cliff Bell's
    2030 Park Ave., Detroit, MI 48226
  2. 2
    Fox Theatre
    2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48201
  3. 3
    Detroit Metro Airport
    2500 World Gateway Place, I-94 at Merriman Road, Detroit, MI 48242
    734-AIR-PORT (24