Best Latin Act
Photo by Alissa Christine

Latin pop/rock hybrid Elastic Bond has been making music in Miami for a decade and has received its fair share of international recognition, but the group fine-tuned its sonic identity this past year with its latest album, Honey Bun. The band has never been bound by limitations of genre or language, which could have made it more difficult to find a sound uniquely theirs as opposed to an amalgam of separate and ill-fitting influences. Instead, Elastic Bond created an album that opens with the instrumental Caribbean dance flair of "Dorada," bops through the pop funk of "In a Perfect World" and "Quédate," and slinks effortlessly into the synth tickles of "Alone Together." The album leads listeners along the many musical roads Elastic Bond has traveled, but always with the hip-swaying strut that makes the origins of its sound immediately recognizable.

Best Pop Act
Photo by Jessica Gibbs

Millionyoung has been making waves as a DJ and producer around town for most of the last decade, but his track to the top of the local crop has accelerated as he's gained a sizable following outside the Magic City the past couple of years. Most DJs and producers in his position might have ditched South Florida's burgeoning art scene for the security of a fan following in a city like Los Angeles. Instead, Millionyoung has stuck firmly to his commitment to cultivate the scene that birthed his blend of sparkling, sun-kissed dance gems, equally fit to soundtrack a low-key night out at an out-of-the-way bar or a beachside picnic with friends. His latest album, Rare Form, recalls the blissed-out, reverb-laden vocals of Tame Impala filtered through springing house beats and New Order-style synths.

Best Songwriter
Photo by Jacqueline Soir

A songwriter's inspiration can come from endless sources, but for Dama Vicke, it's the darker emotions that conjure the muses. Vicke was born in Mexico but has been based in the United States since the '90s. The songwriting on her last EP, Point of Inflection, reflects her multicultural upbringing with songs in both English and Spanish, but the rage is visceral in either language. "Prefiero soledad que tu crueldad alimentar/Circulabas rapidamente como veneno/hacia mi yugular," she writes on the pissed-off breakup missive "Sola," and the object of her ire doesn't fare much better on the goth crawl of "You're Not a Ghost": "Look at me," she taunts. "I'm finally laughing/At your useless self-righteous cowardice."

Best Outdoor Concert
World Red Eye

Emilio and Gloria Estefan are Miami cultural institutions. They've given the city unofficial theme songs like "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You" and restaurants like Estefan Kitchen. Last year, Gloria became the first Cuban-American to earn Kennedy Center Honors, cementing the family's place in American cultural history. Yet somehow, in the midst of receiving these accolades and working on expanding productions of their Broadway musical On Your Feet!, the Estefans continue to give back to the city where it all began. The Miami Design District Performance Series Presented by Knight Foundation, adjacent to Estefan Kitchen in the heart of the Design District, hosts free weekly Friday-night performances by local and nationally recognized artists in partnership with the Knight Foundation. This year's performances have included legendary drummer and Prince collaborator Sheila E., '60s folk and Latino icon José Feliciano, and the Miami Symphony Orchestra. Part of what makes the concert series so notable, aside from its A-list performers, is the accessibility that its complimentary admission affords the community in a neighborhood otherwise reserved for tourists and the city's financial elites.

New World Center

At a superficial glance, classical music and a club atmosphere are the antitheses of one another, but at the endlessly inventive, Frank Gehry-designed New World Center, the two ends of the musical spectrum become strange bedfellows. New World Symphony's "Pulse" brings the loose, anything-goes atmosphere of a neon-lit South Beach club inside a classical music concert hall, an environment that historically has had a reputation for buttoned-up, white glove affairs. But "Pulse," which is just one recurring event of many that beckon younger audiences to spend their evenings with New World Symphony, eschews traditional concert trappings like fixed seating in favor of disco balls, innovative light and visual displays, and guests' ability to walk freely about the theater during performances. Audience members don't have to wait for intermission to fetch drinks, and they can even sit at the foot of the stage to watch performers make music up close.

The Wynwood Yard
Photo by Masson Liang

Getting up for work on a weekday is difficult enough, but getting up on Sunday, when obligations and responsibilities are still 24 whole hours away? That takes some serious dedication. Kulcha Shok's Reggae Sundays at the Wynwood Yard are the best way to bridge the gap between weekend relaxation and getting a head start on the week ahead. Every week brings a rotating cast of the city's most popular reggae bands and special musical guests. Jahfe, Kulcha Kids, and Itawe Correa of Locos por Juana are regulars at the Sunday performance series. The music starts at 2 p.m. and goes to midnight, but with the Yard's bar serving up refreshing cocktails, food trucks like World Famous House of Mac, and vendors like Della Test Kitchen open from noon, it's best to start with an early lunch at the Yard and make a day of it.

Bed Scene's "Day in a Dream" music video is a fantasy tropical trip viewed through the lenses of the Beatles' girl with kaleidoscope eyes. Hallmarks of late '60s psychedelia are splattered throughout, primarily via the video's color palette, which fluctuates between vibrant bursts of primary colors and bright hues of art deco pinks and blues. Directed by Arminio Rivero of Crocodile Deathspin and Nick Aponte, the man behind the music of Bed Scene, the video takes viewers along for a day spent burying treasures in beach sand as mirror images multiply on screen, culminating in vintage VHS home videos of Aponte that emerge into the foreground and elucidate with each viewing, like motion picture Rorschach images.

Best R&B Artist
Photo by Kovalski Jacques

The millennial R&B resurgence is in full effect with contributions from artists like Solange Knowles, Janelle Monáe, Kali Uchis, Khalid, Kehlani, SZA, and so many more; and there's no good reason to exclude South Florida from the conversation when an artist like Savannah Cristina is making albums as excellent as 2017's Mango Season. To call Cristina a "singer" would be too limiting a descriptor for her artistic range. She is also a gifted songwriter and slam poet who intersperses spoken word between songs during performances and on Instagram posts. From "Afro," a stripped-down ode to natural beauty ("He love my tummy like a cinnamon roll/He say he got a thing for stretch marks") to "Social Media," her take on the ways jealousy manifests in the digital age ("They gon' double tap it, baby/You know what it feels like in real life"), Savannah Cristina is a worthy addition to your next R&B bubble bath playlist.

Floyd Miami
Photo by Adinayev

Miami clubgoers may know how to party into the wee hours, but they sometimes forget to dance. All too often, clubbers can be spotted chatting idly on the dance floor or hovering listlessly around the bar. Leave it to the folks at Klangbox.FM and local promoters More or Less to bring in selectors who give crowds little choice but to move their feet. Since December 2017, the Klangbox crew and More or Less have taken over Floyd one night every month to spotlight international DJs and producers who might not have otherwise made it to Miami. With a focus on cutting-edge emerging artists, Extra Credit has already facilitated the Miami debuts of several choice acts, including Australian house hero Mall Grab and thoughtful techno producer Call Super. As Miami's clubs find themselves in an odd state of transition — with some closing and others changing programming — it's comforting there's still a small, intimate party dedicated to driving a roomful of people nuts.

Best TV Show Set in Miami
FX

Not all of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story is set in Miami. The dramatization of fashion designer and South Beach fixture Versace's death at the hands of serial killer Andrew Cunanan focuses primarily on Cunanan, tracing his cross-country murder spree and fall from grace in the summer of 1997. But the story, as told by executive producer Ryan Murphy and series writer Tom Rob Smith, begins and ends in Miami, which is by far the show's most memorable location. Alternating between the lush, warm hues of Miami Beach and the blinding strobe and neon lights of the city's gay clubs, The Assassination of Gianni Versace captures both the city's timeless qualities and the hallmarks of an era long past. With Miami's beauty providing a rich thematic contrast to the inner rot of Andrew Cunanan — a star-making performance by Glee actor Darren Criss — it's a striking backdrop for an unforgettable television experience, as well as a tragic reminder of a harrowing moment in Miami's history.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®