By Janine Rubenstein
April 09, 2018 12:15 PM

Michael Bolton is lending his smooth voice to a new cause.

The Grammy-winning singer and songwriter’s latest passion project is paying homage to the embattled city Detroit, with the upcoming release of the documentary Michael Bolton Presents American Dream: Detroit (watch the trailer above).

“I didn’t set out to make a documentary about Detroit,” Bolton, 65, tells PEOPLE of teaming with Fathom Events for the project. “I was first pulled into the city by its rich musical history and then a much deeper story started to reveal itself. I didn’t know where it was leading but I felt so personally compelled to follow.”

Bolton says that beyond his love of Motown and Hitsville USA, he was moved by all the ways the people of Detroit are working to bounce back following the Great Recession, which nearly crippled the once powerful city.

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Says Bolton, “For about five years, we started following people and places and witnessing the determination of the city as a whole — made up of diverse, amazing individuals from all walks of life — to create opportunity out of challenge, to make art from its scars.”

Throughout the documentary, stars like Smokey Robinson, Aretha Franklin, Alice Cooper and Francis Ford Coppola share their personal stories in what Bolton calls his “long overdue love letter to Detroit.”

As for why the New Haven, Connecticut, native says the citizens of Detroit means so much to him, “These people have become my heroes,” says Bolton. “I was so immediately and irresistibly inspired by this relentless will, because it renews the spirit for me of the American Dream that I grew up with and that fueled me to chase my own dream.”

Michael Bolton Presents American Dream: Detroit hits movie theaters on May 15.