Thom McGuire: Music, Movies, and Hustle

When people think of music scenes their thoughts go to Nashville, Los Angeles, Miami, but too often the Midwest is left out, or so it seems. Talent is certainly in every state and city, but it takes a certain other level of talent to spot and guide music talents to the next level. Enter Thom McGuire of McGuire & Associates.

Thom McGuire has been in the entertainment industry all his life. Born in Washington D.C., McGuire then moved around the country from coast to coast working on movie sets and for music labels. All this led up to his last move 11 years ago when he made his way to Grand Rapids.

McGuire certainly has the pedigree and chops of a music industry veteran. Tag on his uncanny likeness to industry titan Rick Rubin (it’s all in the beard!) and McGuire stands out in the local Grand Rapids music scene. McGuire has been managing talent off and on for years through McGuire & Associates and has specialized in taking talent from local to a regional stage and beyond.

Grand Rapids has certainly always had a healthy music scene, whether it was through traditional music venues or house shows, musicians have been filling this city with life for decades.

Before the inception of Founder’s Fest or even the Pyramid Scheme, there were shows held at the now defunct Skeletones and The Five-One. Both were all-age venues that served the alternative music in the early 2000s. With their passing, bands found venues and outlets through the DAAC (Division Avenue Arts Collective) and a growing number of smaller venues like The Upper Room

Local bands can also find their sound at house shows and smaller venues, and have carved out an even bigger local scene for themselves with events like the Lamp Light Music Festival which is comprised of a weekend of multiple house venues hosting a mix of local artists from the region. 

McGuire says, “The local music scene is needed and I certainly underestimated it when I move here from L.A 11 years ago.” McGuire has since begun taking on talent full time through McGuire & Associates and is looking to help bring local talent “from the street to the elite” as is the tagline for McGuire & Associates. 

McGuire recognizes and believes in the talent that Grand Rapids continues to turn out, so he has put one more iron in the fire, namely his new group West Michigan Industry Professionals.

“This city has so much talent, and it just keeps growing. If we all got out of our silos and worked together we can make so much more,” says McGuire about the meetup group, which he describes as a more relaxed might to get to know each other over a few drinks at a local bar. 

McGuire & Associates is available to take on talent for regional growth, providing management and booking services as well hourly as services.

With more people like McGuire turning their eye to Grand Rapids and West Michigan in general, it won’t be long before we will have to add music to our “Beer City” billboards. 

Ken Miguel-Cipriano is Rapid Growth’s innovation and jobs editor. To reach Ken, you can email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Images courtesy of 
Thom McGuire.
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