To accommodate those impacted by Hurricane Irma, the GLBX Council of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce’s fourth annual ARTOPIA presented by JM Lexus has been rescheduled for Thursday, November 2, from 7 to 10 p.m. at The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale. This evening of over-the-top entertainment, live artist experiences, visual arts and interactive elements will merge to create an art-rageous spectacle with New York City nightlife icon Susanne Bartsch and chart-topping pop singer Wrabel headlining the mainstage.
“The GLBX is excited to see ARTOPIA grow and evolve with the inclusion of internationally recognized artists and entertainers,” said Andy Perrott, event chair for ARTOPIA. “Now in its fourth year, ARTOPIA is enjoying a surge of popularity for its daring approach and appeal to anyone who connects with art in its purest form.”
Wrabel, whose real name is Stephen Wrabel, will perform live during ARTOPIA, made possible by Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter and musician initially broke onto the scene in 2014 with the hit song “Ten Feet Tall,” a collaboration with Afrojack, which has been streamed by millions around the world. Wrabel specializes in music that telescopes small moments into songs with big impact. Wrabel has also made a name for himself in the dance music world. Marshmello released Wrabel’s song “Ritual” in 2016, which went to Top 10 on the Dance Charts, and the dance duo Galantis released Wrabel’s song “True Feeling” in July 2017. Wrabel just released “The Village” to critical acclaim for its powerful message championing LGBTQ rights.
At what age did you start singing, and how did that come about?
My first memory of singing was in 5th grade as I started singing through church. Shortly after that, I started taking lessons afterwards and shortly after that I fell in love with it.
When did you learn to play the piano?
I took lessons when I was very little and I hated it. Then when I was around 15 /16 I started playing because I wanted to write songs.
How did you get into writing songs?
I grew up listening to the crooners and I loved the stories and emotions behind their songs and I felt it inside of me, so I decided to write.
What was your first professional/paid gig?
My first check form singing was actually from Unity Church in Houston Texas. The theme song from “Minute To Win It” was my second check.
You have written for many famous people, who was your favorite and why?
My hands down favorite was Kesha as I was a huge fan of hers. She has now become a dear friend of mine. I love being in a creative place with her as everything she does is so meaningful.
Who are your musical inspirations?
My biggest inspirations are Paul Simon, Kate Bush, Bruce Hornsby, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Sting, The Police, and David Bowie. I love the storytelling artists.
If there was one performer you can do a duet with, who would it be?
Nikki Minaj. I would love to sit at the piano with her and do a ballad and ask her how she is.
You were signed by L.A. Reid, the chairman of Epic Records. How was it to meet him and sign with him?
Totally unreal. I met him through my manager Jack. I sent Jack a song I had written the night before and Jack called me at 8am, because he had sent it to LA and LA wanted to meet me. Within 2 days I was singing for him and within a month I was signed.
How important is the LGBT community to your future and is there personal meaning behind the song “The Village”?
The LGBT is my family and I try and be very honest and open about that. It’s who I am. I don’t hide it and try to be loud about it.
I wrote the Village for 2 of my fans who are trans. Their authenticity was striking to me. They were simply themselves and unafraid of it.
My plan was just to write thee song to them, but when they heard it they insisted I put the song out.
Are you excited to be coming to Fort Lauderdale and performing at Artopia?
Yes, I absolutely am. I am on tour till the end of October and then I head out to Fort Lauderdale.
For more information on Wrabel go to: Wrabelmusic.com.
In addition, ARTOPIA will feature “Art-A-Porter,” created by Susanne Bartsch and sponsored by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Film, Music, Fashion & Create division. Emerging fashion designers from New York City will strike a pose as models of their own cutting-edge couture. Each artist is his/her own designer, dresser and make-up artist. This living art presentation will include movements and motion set to music based on the character and style of each fashion artist. Once onstage, they will form an unusual and surprising tableau of human “Art-A-Porter” as envisioned by Susanne.
Attendees will sip cool cocktails from Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Barefoot Wine and relish delicious bites from Season’s 52, Exquisite Catering, Sea Watch, Pelican Grand Beach Resort, Sea & Olive, Red Chair Catering and Grateful Palate Catering & Events. Mainstage performances will be hosted by Shawn Palacious.
Funds raised will benefit the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce and the GLBX Arts Fund with a portion of proceeds for the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida, Stonewall National Museum & Archives, Island City Stage and OUTshine Film Festival.
General admission tickets cost $100 and include access to open bars and food stations throughout the night. VIP admission is $150 and includes a pre-event VIP champagne reception, performer/artist meet-and- greets, exclusive specialty food and beverage offerings and complimentary valet parking.