Our inaugural entry for this category is the City of North Miami, Florida. As we worked in the community to help assist with revitalization and redevelopment, we started looking for things that were present, but unseen, and making connections to them. As I started looking, the connections quickly became apparent. I realized that as a musician, I visited North Miami to rehearse. To record. To buy my gear. To get my gear serviced and to shoot the shit with other musicians. Other people also visited North Miami to learn music.

But the reason the music economy was hidden is the general public couldn’t see it, only the musicians could. It was the industry’s infrastructure that drove creativity, but the venues where us musicians could express our creativity were elsewhere. This is what first inspired the concept of TheMusicCities. Using live music strategies as an economic development and placemaking approach, we started thinking about music and cities in a whole new way.

So, what makes up North Miami’s hidden in plain sight music economy? There are dozens of music related businesses in North Miami serving just as many unique genres; here are some of our favorites.

Criteria Studios. This is the anchor institution. Off of West Dixie Highway, in a nondescript building, magic has been happening for decades with cuts such as Layla, Hotel California, Rumours, I Feel Good, We’re an American Band, Idlewild South, and many more right up through today. Their presence has led to the location of a dozen additional studios nearby.

Sim Music (closed) – one of my favorite places to scavenger hunt for gear, it is also the place I brought all of my equipment for servicing. It is now closed, as the property sold and Sim moved what was here into his son’s store, Space Music.

Space Music – This is still my go-to for gear. If they don’t have what I need, they’ll get it, and it’s also a great place to get stuck shooting the shit for hours. I’m also lucky it’s so close to home and work, and they service all my gear here now that Sim has closed.

School of Rock – Come on, it’s the School of Rock! Enough said!

Found Sound Records – Can’t really be a music city without a vintage record store. My latest scores here included Eric Clapton, Allman Brothers, Iron Maiden, Molly Hatchet and Jefferson Airplane.

Critical Recording – This recording studio is not in North Miami anymore, but it cannot go unmentioned since I recorded a 4-song demo here that ultimately became a full 12-song album.

The NoMi Music Festival – The NoMi Fest brings thousands to North Miami in a convergence of music lovers and the community for an incredible outdoor experience of music, entertainment and food. It is truly an event that connects music, people and place.