Free Music

Writers in the Round Gives Bar Nancy a Local Feel

Writers in the Round at Bar Nancy held every second Wednesday of the month.
Writers in the Round at Bar Nancy held every second Wednesday of the month. Ron Navarrete Photography
Miami has a new piece of Nashville, with Writers in the Round. The singer-songwriter event is held every second Wednesday of the month at Bar Nancy.

Juan Turros, one of the founding members of local group Suénalo, was inspired after a trip to Nashville with his wife, Denise. The two were in search of snow, and on a whim she suggested the Tennessee city. The pair, fans of the ABC show Nashville, decided to stop by the famed Bluebird Café.

"I thought it was a fictitious place," Turros recalls. "We passed by around 2 p.m. and it was 17 degrees outside. There was a line for a 9 p.m. show featuring Vince Gill and Amy Grant. On a random Wednesday night in Nashville, people were paying $100 a head to get in this place and see major country artists. We opted for the 6 p.m. show, which was a songwriters-in-the-round event. We loved it and we decided to bring it to Miami."

Their friends, who own Bar Nancy and previously operated the now-defunct venue the Stage, host four artists round-robin style, each singing a total of three songs for three rounds. Turros says the event is intimate and lets the audience look deeply into what an artist was feeling or thinking when they wrote a song. The artists must present original content and accompany themselves with a piano or guitar. Turros says this event allows for personal songs that might otherwise remain tucked away because few venues support this style of music.

They've hosted five events so far and the next performance takes place tonight, July 11, from 7 to 10 p.m. It's free and open to the public and for the artists. Turros has also created a Spotify playlist with artists who have performed at Writers in the Round.

Turros says the songwriters chosen are a part of his network. Now that the word is out, more artists are calling him. He says his goal with these events is to increase connections and support for artists and producers. The creatives are compensated a bit for their time. Turros currently has a $400 budget, which he hopes to increase as the event grows.

"Miami is a viable place, but it's kind of sprawled out, and people don't usually have a way of supporting each other. The media don't necessarily print everything that we as artists are into, so we have to hear everything by word of mouth," he says.

Bryant Del Toro, who has performed before and also attends as a spectator, says his experience at the event had been positive. He calls it "an amazing local secret" and says it is needed in Miami because it places a spotlight on talented local singer-songwriters.

"This event is important because it shows how vast a city we are," Del Toro says. "It is presented in a way that isn't very Miami. No reggaeton or salsa because Miami is so much more than just that Latin facade. Juan does a great job picking acts that are diverse but compliment the idea of the evening... So far the audience has been so receptive, and respectful, which I hate to say is also very not Miami. I love this event and hope it grows for the simple reason that it makes me feel like I'm not in Miami when I'm there."

Writers in the Round. 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 11, at Bar Nancy, 2007 SW Eighth St.; 305-397-8971; nancy305.com. Admission is free.
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Christian Portilla is passionate about people and her city. She covers community, culture, and lifestyle in Miami and abroad. Follow her work on roamfreewrites.com.