Why is celebrating Black music important to you?
It’s important to me because, in my opinion, all forms of popular music today are influenced by the contributions of African-Americans. If you drill down to the essence of Rock, Pop, Country, Soul, Jazz, Funk, & Hip-Hop, you’ll eventually hit the Blues. The Blues is the foundation of it all. The Blues is a uniquely African-American creation. It’s a shame more people, especially young people, don’t know that, but luckily, something like Black Music Month gives us all a chance to pause and recognize this fact.
What do you think of the current state of the music industry?
I guess it depends. On one hand, there is more opportunity than ever for artists to control their own destiny and most importantly, their financial well being. On the other hand, even with the internet being the powerhouse of self promotion that it is, any artist looking to be more than a regional success still needs national radio exposure. Getting that kind of exposure is virtually impossible without a major label. There is NO access to mainstream radio for up and coming artists. The consolidation of the radio stations has basically eliminated a new artists ability to go to the primary stations in their market with the expectation of getting their songs played.
What is your favorite song currently?
My favorite song by another artist right now is ‘Bright Lights’ by Gary Clark, Jr. That brother is The Truth! My favorite song of mine right now is ‘If U Ever’ off of my latest EP, The Cooke Up, which is a project inspired by Sam Cooke.
What do you love almost as much as music?
Politics, lol. I am a political junkie.
Who influences you most?
Real life is what influences and inspires me the most. I am fueled by the things that take place in my own life, but also the lives of my friends and family as well as the people from the kinds of communities like the one I grew up in (Newark, NJ).
A world without music is…?
….no world at all!
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