When a Hey Nonny booker reached out to Deerfield singer-songwriter Todd Kessler in fall 2018 about a regular music showcase in Arlington Heights, he answered the call. And then some.
The monthly Todd Kessler Presents: Songwriters in the Round celebrates its one-year anniversary at Arlington Heights’ Hey Nonny Tuesday, Jan. 7, as a boon to both the music community and to Kessler himself.
“The talent pool is deep in Chicago,” Kessler said. “And I believe when artists support each other everyone does better.”
Kessler, who has been playing the area scene since graduating from the University of Illinois in 2005, jumped at the chance to join the venue’s regular lineup.
“One of my favorite parts of what has come out of the show is getting to connect with musicians I kind of know from the periphery,” he said. “But also I get to showcase people I’ve known for a long time. I get to show their talents to someone else.”
The show’s standard format features Kessler and three other musicians trading songs and sharing stories. Each ends with Kessler interviewing a featured performer.
“It’s an opportunity for the audience to go deeper into the process of how musicians write, how we do our job, how records get made,” he said. “It’s the part that has been really fulfilling for me.”
Not resting on the steam building behind the event, Kessler set a challenge for himself to include musicians of different career levels and to make the monthly showcase as representative of the singer-songwriter scene as possible.
“I really make an effort to make the lineups diverse in any way I can,” Kessler said. “Everyone is represented. And while I can’t do that every month, it’s something I’m striving for.”
“I learn a lot from all the artists who are coming through,” he said. “And I’m inspired constantly by the music that I’m hearing. … I put that pressure on myself to make sure it’s great.”
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Todd Kessler Presents: Songwriters in the Round
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7
Where: Hey Nonny, 10 S. Vail Ave., Arlington Heights
Tickets: $10-$20 at (224) 202-0750 or heynonny.com