A Conversation With Detroit’s Best Entertainer

Ben Sharkey is the epitome of a Youtube star who made it big. He started back in 2007 by posting homemade covers of Frank Sinatra and Michael Bublé — and today his Youtube channel has over 5 million views worldwide with 13,000 subscribers.

I had the opportunity to chat with Sharkey last week, where we discussed everything from his musical influences to his favorite whiskey (FYI, it’s Two James out of Detroit). His voice was as soothing and sultry as his songs.

Sharkey is currently an Artist In Residence at Willis Show Bar in Detroit — an upscale Art Deco lounge featuring burlesque, cabaret and comedy shows. His style and swagger is unmistakable, and very much reflective of the current jazz scene in Detroit.

After spending some serious time watching his videos, I can say with confidence that he deserves every ounce of praise to come his way. He won me over with his cover of “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse and his own jazz version of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi.”

Although he started out as the King of Covers, his original music is worth even more of your attention. He released the album Mercury Rising in 2018, with mesmerizing songs like “Black Widow” and “Swing Don’t Cost A Thing.” It is exactly the kind of music that makes you want to get up and dance.

Sharkey gets his inspiration from a wide range of artists, both alive and dead. From pop stars such as Michael Jackson, Michael Bublé, and Justin Timberlake to Sam Cooke, Mel Tormé, Frank Sinatra, and Serge Gainsbourg, his self-described genre of eclectic jazz pop makes perfect sense.

And the coolest place he’s performed? That would be a Christmas party in Graz, Austria. He walked into the evening with the band already performing his original songs — a moment that could be described as nothing other than magical.

Whether you’ve heard of Sharkey or not, I’m certain that his show on Friday will be a fun time. Tickets are $10 for students, $15 for military/veterans, and $20 for adults. Call 231-627-5841 for tickets or head over to the Tickets tab to buy them online.

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