Author Note: Daniel Redd was a good friend of mine. As house photographer for the Kalamazoo open mic “PUT UP or SHUT UP”, he and I spent every Tuesday night together for over a year laughing, discussing politics, boxing and sharing stories of our life and families over drinks. He was a remarkable person and someone I miss dearly.
The local art community in Southwest Michigan is in mourning. The body of Daniel Steven Redd (aka Danny Rosea) was found in the Kalamazoo River on Monday November 28th after he’d been missing for nearly 5 days. The exact circumstances that led to his death remain unknown, a fact which has caused distress and anger in many of his close friends and family members. A prolific and multi-talented artist and entertainer, Danny was a beloved member of and ardent advocate for the local art scene in West Michigan.
For many, Danny was best known as the co-host of the long running Kalamazoo based Open Mic, “PUT UP or SHUT UP” where he helped young artists find their voice and confidence in an open and inviting atmosphere. Beyond merely his talents as a host & impresario, Danny was a profoundly talented performer in his own right. His unique ability to shapeshift artistically between impactful poet, fun loving MC, and soulful singer provided a conduit through which anyone he met or interacted with could form a genuine connection. Danny nurtured, cultivated and treasured those connections.
Legacy is an enduring concept for any artist. The need to leave behind a lasting impact has haunted almost anyone who’s ever picked up a microphone and Danny was no different. A week before his passing he posted to Facebook: “When I die all I want is for my family to have so many videos and music and pictures of me that my memory never fades, I wanna live forever.” Legacy however, can form in unexpected ways. While thousands of photos and videos of Danny exist, he will be remembered best by many for his talent to enable other artists to excel and grow; a talent which is exceedingly rare and sadly often undervalued. His natural willingness to collaborate with and elevate the people around him left in its wake a much stronger and tight-knit community of artists and musicians who will continue to drive a local scene that Danny loved immensely.
Recently married, Daniel Redd leaves behind a wife, Jocelyn Redd and a baby daughter, Leilani. Daniels devotion to his family was evident in everything he did and he was so proud to be a father and husband. On a personal note, I can only hope his wife and daughter can take some measure of solace in knowing the impact Daniel had on this world in the brief time he had here. All of us who knew him were better for it. Everyone who had the good fortune of passing through Dannys orbit were gifted with a smile, a laugh, a story, or a genuine moment of support and love that left them a better person than they were previously. He was a creative catalyst, a force onstage, a friend offstage, and a red and black Chicago Bulls brand draped beacon of what’s best about our local art scene. He will be missed and remembered always.