Tag Archives: Black History Month

SoundCloud Say It Loud! with Adia Victoria

How did you first get your start as a Blues artist?

i was born a poor black girl in the deepest of the deep south
and i didn’t trust the lord to
soothe me, i left that to blues.
started writing my own tunes
at 21 or 22 while
living
in atl and listening
to victoria spivey and
skip james
and
then and there i heard sang for the first
time my folly and also my despair
at last i felt known
by a song and a singer.
and i said
‘this is what i wanna do’

Were there artists in particular who you looked to for inspiration, who you felt were breaking down barriers in the genre?

like i said—victoria spivey
when she sang
about them T.B. Blues and while no
id never suffered from
t u b e r c u l o s i s
i still felt close enough to the insane
mundane     urbane      mania
she     sang of.  she touched
something sleeping in me.

Given the influence black musicians have had on Blues music, are you surprised by the lack of representation of people of color? 

no. they don’t understand the depth to this style.

they take what we create and
make it safe and monetized.
the blues in our hands
is
a revelation. they know this and
seek to spay it.

Have you had to navigate any particular obstacles in order to gain respect within the Blues music scene?

whose respect do you think i seek but my own?

What advice would you give to other musicians of color looking to break in?

keep looking inside u til u can
tell me the sound
your
story makes.

SoundCloud Say It Loud! with Tamar-Kali

This Black History Month we’re celebrating emerging black artists who are redefining boundaries and challenging underrepresentation in their scenes. Join us as we spotlight this crop of new and influential creators.

Meet Tamar-Kali, the punk performer who gave ‘Mudbound’ its sound.

How did you first get your start as a Punk Rock artist? 

I identify as an alternative rock artist and as with many in the genre I got my start in my local NY punk rock/hardcore scene. The no boundaries, no holds barred spirit of the music and scene were an outlet for frustrations and a space to discuss and explore questions around history, identity and authority.

Were there artists in particular who you looked to for inspiration, who you felt were breaking down barriers in the genre?

Legendary bands like Bad Brains and Fishbone and local legends like Quicksand and Orange 9mm inspired my expression. NY as one of the most diverse cities in America provided the unique experience of seeing POC as leaders in the scene. Bad Brains spent a good amount of time on the Lower East Side and were known at one point as the Kings of Ave. A. Chaka Malik of Burn, Gingi Brown of Absolution and Ryan Bland of Bushmon and Home 33 were predecessors who broke down barriers and were looked up to by myself and colleagues in the scene.

Given the influence black musicians have had on Punk Rock music, are you surprised by the lack of representation of people of color?

I am not surprised. It is the nature of systemic oppression. Representation of Black, POC, Women and Queer artists in the genre is not yet reflective of their contributions but music isn’t the only place we see this inequity. Sexism, Racism and Homophobia are ills of society that I hope we can come to terms with within this next generation.

Have you had to navigate any particular obstacles in order to gain respect within the Punk Rock music scene?? 

There is definitely a sense that you need to go harder when you don’t visually fit the stereotype. Personally, my past issues were gender based. As a young kid in the scene I was uber aggressive and took on the toxically masculine and aggressive behavior that was common in the NY hardcore scene as a way of desexualizing myself for protection and gaining respect.It is interesting how a space you associate with freedom and being yourself can quickly become another type of prison if you attempt to live up to standards that are not wholly your own. Developing my authentic self was a matter of letting go of the expectations of others and allowing myself to just be me – multifaceted, eclectic and unique.

What advice would you give to other musicians of color looking to break in?

My thoughts are the same for ANY musician.

Play music. Find like minded souls. Go to shows. Hone your craft.

That’s universal.

Listen to Tamar-Kali right now on SoundCloud. 

SoundCloud Say It Loud! with BOSCO

This Black History Month we’re celebrating emerging black artists who are redefining boundaries and challenging underrepresentation in their scenes. Join us as we spotlight these new and influential creators.

Meet BOSCO, an Atlanta-based singer whose hybrid sound defies categorization.

How did you first get your start as a musician?
I started singing in church and I feel like that developed my skills as a vocalist. With that, you innately grow into becoming an artist. From there, I would sing in local talent shows and I joined the chorus in high school. When I began college I started writing my own music and performing locally at this jazz lounge to perfect my original music.

Were there any artists in particular you looked to for inspiration who you felt were breaking down barriers?
I am a huge fan of Erykah Badu, Sarah Vaughn, Sade, Charlie Wilson & The Gap Band, Isley Brothers, Tracy Chapman, Meshell Ndegeocello, Pharrell Williams, D’Angelo, Frank Ocean, and Brandy to just name a few. I love male vocalists and the tone/timbre of their voices.

Given the influence black musicians have had on all genres of music, are you surprised by the lack of representation of people of color in the alternative genre?
Yes. Being considered an Alternative R&B artist myself, we are often compartmentalized and boxed into this these confined areas of sound, when we as a people pioneer the core of the genre. Alternative is just a extension of Blues/Rock & Roll. Just because we’re black, they automatically associate the color of our skin with sound and sonics when really it’s simply transferred energy. I believe it’s the lack of education that causes people to put these barriers on us. Once we educate the people, we as a unit can progress.

Have you had to navigate any particular obstacles in order to gain respect within your music scene?
OF COURSE! This never changes; we don’t get a “day off”. I’m constantly reminded that I’m Black when I present an idea or “set placed demographic” idea in my music. I grew up listening to artist like Fiona Apple, Alanis Morissette, Garbage, Radiohead who are major influences on my life but when we tapped into these areas, we are questioned what the sound is. When white artists explore other genres they are never questioned, but praised and applauded for their “said” efforts to contribute to the black culture. There have been so many times when I wanted to do an indie-rock/experimental project with influence from the greats before me but they still would call it “Soul/R&B” music when the landscape and instrumentation doesn’t yield for that label.

What advice would you give to other musicians of color looking to break in?
Fuck’em, do you fam.