Jeff Skigh's new event series 'Wine and Rhymes' showcases Flint's diverse talent

FLINT, Michigan — Jeff Skigh isn’t unfamiliar with creating, planning, and hosting an event. He has achieved a lot in the last few years, including releasing three albums - The Flatlot Chronicles, Spring Cleaning, and Smokin’ in Kanto - which features album art inspired by Pokemon.

Skigh has also organized several successful events, including the Carriage Town Community BBQ, the 4th annual Porch Fest, and a packed-out event at the Emagine Theater in Birch Run. In addition, he has partnered with Comma Bookstore to wrap books for kids.

These days, he has merged his passion for music, event management, and improving the community to establish 'Wine and Rhymes' at Queens’ Provisions (421 Garland St). The event, presented by Skigh, is a community-driven series that brings together poets, musicians, music artists, and other creatives to create a “space where people can feel accepted and encouraged to showcase their talents.”

Its primary host and one of the performers, The Alpha Host, The Alpha Drew, calls 'Wine and Rhymes' a place that “opens the door to an intimate setting where artists of every experience level can come practice and perform their heart out. We want to encourage whomever with whatever talent you have to come out.”

Flintside caught up with Skigh to talk 'Wine and Rhymes,' new endeavors, and ideas for the future.

Jeff Skigh. (Bryce Mata | You’ve mentioned creating events before, but what made you create 'Wines and Rhymes?'

Jeff Skigh: “Once I saw the space, I knew it would be perfect for that kind of event. As far as the name, it was just something thrown out there. Didn’t think it would stick at first if I’m being honest.” 

Flintside: Mixing wine, alcohol, and the arts isn’t anything new. What makes 'Wine and Rhymes' stand out, in your opinion?

Jeff Skigh: “I wouldn’t say it’s anything super different. It’s a space where people can feel accepted and encouraged to showcase their talents.”

Flintside: There’s an open mic portion to 'Wine and Rhymes.' Was this intentional, and what resulted from having open mic sessions?

Jeff Skigh: “Yes, it was intentional. Again, it’s just a safe space for people. You can come and practice performing and see how crowds react to what you’re saying and doing. It’s also dope to see how many talented people are from such a small area.”

Jeff Skigh. (Bryce Mata | You’ve added to your resume over the last few years. You’ve gone from music artist to creating intriguing music videos to host and event planning. Why the shift in diversifying your range?

Jeff Skigh: “I would call it growth. I’ve always done events and creative videos, [but] I just started doing them more last year. Felt like I had [grown] enough as an artist to hold my own events and have good turnouts.”

Flintside: With 'Wine and Rhymes,' this feels more intimate than your work at Porch Fest and the Community BBQ. How important was creating a space like this for you and Flint creatives?

Jeff Skigh: “The BBQ and the 'Wine and Rhymes' are geared toward showcasing the talent in Flint. Shining a positive light on the city is something I’ve always wanted to do — it was always a goal of mine. We’ve always deserved that.” 
'Wine and Rhymes' features fresh and familiar faces to take the mic.
Flintside: Some people have said it’s hard to find space to hold these events. What’s been your experience working with businesses and neighborhood communities? 

Jeff Skigh: “For the most part, things are good. Haven’t ran [into] too much negativity about the events. Everyone has a good time and feels welcomed so that’s a plus. Some spaces go out of the way to make it difficult for us to do events in the area. I just stay away from those places. I’d rather try to work with people open to good ideas and won’t send me through a bunch of loopholes for nothing.”

Flintside: In what ways has your involvement in hosting and planning events changed your mindset on your artistry?

Jeff Skigh: “It hasn’t changed my mindset at all. This is something I always planned on doing. It was just about taking that leap of faith and believing in myself and what I can bring to the table.”

Flintside: You’ve done a couple of shows thus far. Are you thinking about making this a monthly event? 

Jeff Skigh: “May do them monthly or every other month. [I am] still debating, but I have plenty of other events I’ve done and will be doing to fill up the space between. Like the watch party, I did for my latest album at the movie theater.” 

Flintside: When, where, and how much does attending this cost?

Jeff Skigh: “'Wine and Rhymes' takes place at Queens’ Provisions in Flint, Michigan. They serve all kinds of wine and charcuterie, and it’s a perfect setting for that type of event. Shout out to Emily for allowing me to use her space whenever I need to.”

Flintside: Flint and the world has seen you evolve and grow. What’s next for you?

Jeff Skigh: “I’m just living life, doing things I enjoy, and sharing my platform. I’m not sure what’s next, but good things for sure.”

For more about Jeff Skigh and 'Wine and Rhymes,' find him on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and his website.
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Read more articles by Xzavier Simon.