It's fair to call Megan Dooley the First Lady of Kalamazoo Music. Listening to Dooley recount the early days of her career requires a serious stroll down memory lane, which is a trip for those who pine for days where venues like Club Soda, Mr. Wonderfuls and Kraftbrau held the scene together.
"It's been 13 years since I got on stage for the first time to play music; I was 15," Dooley said. "I started singing at a pretty young age, and I knew early on what I wanted to do. I picked up a guitar that same year and started writing songs and singing the blues in the Funky Basement at Mr. Wonderfuls. Open mics led to gigs, and I guess the rest is history."
Ever since then, Dooley has, for the most part, maintained a steady line-up of gigs. Now, 13 years later, fans could be seeing a resurgence of activity from this blues-y diva.
Dooley has big plans for the upcoming year, including a plan to break the silence on a four-year period devoid of new, recorded material. Her fans got her back, too, with a little ol' fashioned crowd funding.
"I just bought a new instrument thanks to a pack of wonderful friends and fans who donated to me, and I'm about to start recording my first album in almost four years," Dooley said. "I'm writing a lot of new material that's probably considered pretty different than my usual stuff, and I'm in the early stages of putting a tour together for next summer.
"I'm dying to play more shows with bands considering that I'm just a solo performer right now, but I'm so busy planning for the winter and spring that I have to pace myself!"
Being someone who has fought in the trenches of the Kalamazoo music scene for nearly a decade-and-a-half, we had to get Dooley's take on the status of her local scene. She likes what she sees.
"We have a plethora of incredible talent in Kalamazoo," she said. "When I started playing music here well over a decade ago. Things were much different, and would have easily been considered dying.
"Nowadays, there seems to be so many devoted venues and community members willing to dedicate their time to coming to shows, putting them on, and supporting the local music around them — it's overwhelming at times."