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As the daughter of a blues musician, Chastity Brown was born with an innate ability to channel complex circumstances into beautiful, uplifting songs. But after surviving the isolation of the early pandemic and witnessing the global racial reckoning that manifested itself in the riots mere blocks from her South Minneapolis home, even she is surprised to hear the way her new album Sing To The Walls turned out. “It’s a love album, in a way I didn’t plan on,” Chastity says. Like so many artists who endured the uncertainty of the 2020 lockdown, Chastity’s instinct was to turn inward, at first out of self-preservation, and then because the new songs kept coming and coming. Since finishing her last album, 2017’s Silhouette Of Sirens, she estimates she’s written nearly 100 new songs, 10 of which found their way onto Sing To The Walls. These songs unfold with Chastity’s expressive voice and expansive melodies, leading the listener through intertwining tendrils of atmospheric sounds. Even the titles hint at the album’s sense of optimistic yearning, from the dreamy opening track “Wonderment,” to her ode to healing a broken heart post-breakup “Curiosity,” to the pulsing promise of “Hope.” With the exception of “Golden,” a searing indictment of white complacency and a cathartic release of post-uprising rage that comes halfway through the album (and was released in an earlier form in mid-2020), Sing To The Walls is ultimately an album about hope, connection, and love; an ode to the sweetness of life, even amidst a pandemic, even in a city that’s experienced so much pain. “I think it’s an audacious response,” says Chastity. “Like how funk music came after Malcolm, Martin, and everybody got murdered in the ‘60s. Then the ‘70s popped off, and there was funk! This isn’t funk, but it’s rooted in that same kind of response. I just want to feel good. Straight up.” The album was started in Stockholm, Sweden with revered session drummer and producer Brady Blade and completed at Chastity’s own home studio with her longtime drummer Greg Schutte. Additional production and mixing was done by Chris Bell in Austin, Texas. For the first time, Chastity also served as the lead producer on some of the tracks, and co-producer on all of them. “I just was like, ‘why can’t I do it?’ It maybe meant that some things took longer, but it was like, ‘Where am I going now anyway?’ The way I’ve worked since the pandemic began, as far as songwriting and arranging and composing, I’ve never been so productive. Whatever touring life becomes going forward, I want to always carve out writing time. I’m addicted to it. And it’s such a cool high,” she says. Sing To The Walls is a sonically expansive album; it mines the roots of Americana, folk, and soul music, but Chastity’s stories are delivered in a style that feels remarkably timely, modern, and forward-thinking. “I celebrate the emotional richness in the tradition, but in my music I’ve committed myself to moving forward and reflecting the experiences of those overlooked by tradition.” In the same way, her lyrics seek to reach across a great divide. “I will sing to those walls, hope it gets through / And I will sing to your scars, they need healing too,” Chastity sings on the album’s title track, a pandemic love song about breaking through the physical, emotional, and social barriers that have been constructed around all of us in recent years. By the next track, “Like the Sun,” she breaks through into a melody that rises like a wide-open prairie sunrise—a heart-rending moment that demonstrates her talent for expressing big, beautiful ideas in her music, and to create songs that radiate bliss. Even amid the chaos, while delivering the release-valve verses of “Golden,” she remains steadfast. “I’ve got joy even when I’m a target, if you think that’s political don’t get me started,” Chastity sings, demanding to know: “Why have I got to be angry?” Between writing sessions she’s been vibing to chilled out, forward thinking artists like Leon Bridges, H.E.R., SZA, and Daniel Caesar, taking their cue to expand beyond genre and her folk/roots history to encompass her appreciation of all Black American musical art forms. “I also want to poke at what the blues is,” Chastity reflects. “It has a lot of stereotypes, like it’s mostly only played by blue-eyed white guys now. But what about Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey? I feel so closely connected, in a pure, undeviating lineage, to the heritage of being a Black, queer blues woman. I want to share this music with them, to say that I’ve listened, and I’ve done something new.” “This album does not serve sorrow,” Chastity says bluntly. “And in that way, it’s my trying to emulate Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God—seeking personal spiritual fulfillment while rejecting expectations. What matters to me is my survival—and for my survival, it’s been necessary to try to embrace some joy.”
Rissi Palmer's gift lies in reaching across all musical boundaries. While she made her mark in Country Music, she is equally at home in R&B music, bringing the entire spectrum of popular music to bear on music she calls “Southern Soul.” The daughter of Georgia natives, Rissi was born near Pittsburgh, PA and spent her adolescent years in St. Louis, Missouri. Raised in a musical family that loved both country and R&B, Rissi was a part of a singing and dancing troupe sponsored by a local television station at age 16, and by the time she was 19 years old, she had already been offered her first publishing and label deal. In 2007, she released her debut album Rissi Palmer, charting singles, “Country Girl,” “Hold On To Me,” and “No Air.” Since then, Rissi has independently released a Christmas single, her first children’s album, Best Day Ever and an EP titled The Back Porch Sessions. Her most recent album, Revival, was released in 2019 and has been critically hailed as her most personal and uplifting work to date. A few highlights throughout her musical career include performances at The White House, New York's Lincoln Center and multiple appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. She has toured extensively across the country, sharing stages with Taylor Swift, The Eagles, Chris Young, Charley Crockett and many more. Rissi has also made numerous national appearances on Oprah & Friends, CMT Insider, CNN, CBS This Morning, GMA, Entertainment Tonight, and FOX Soul's "The Book of Sean and has been featured in Associated Press, Ebony, Essence, Huffington Post, New York Times, Newsweek, NPR's "All Things Considered," PEOPLE, Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, to name a few. As a passionate voice for country artists of color and those who have been marginalized in mainstream country music, Rissi launched her own radio show Color Me Country with Rissi Palmer on Apple Music Country. Since making its debut in August 2020, listeners have been treated to in-depth and riveting, often funny, yet very necessary conversations with Brittney Spencer, Cam, Chapel Hart, Crystal Shawanda, Maren Morris, Miko Marks The War and Treaty, Darius Rucker and Mickey Guyton and author/journalist Andrea Williams. Fans can tune-in live to Color Me Country with Rissi Palmer every other Sunday on Apple Music Country at 4pP/7pE. To watch previous episode on-demand, click HERE. In conjunction with her radio show, Rissi created the Color Me Country Artist Grant Fund designed to support new country artists of color who are just beginning to build their music careers. Rissi is also a Special Correspondent for CMT's Hot 20 Countdown. The weekly series airs Saturdays and Sundays on CMT at 9a/8c and features chart-topping music videos, news stories, live performances and candid interviews from country’s biggest stars.
Ping Rose is a performer from Memphis, TN. Being a multi-instrumentalist, he’s mostly known for his his soulful crooning and what many call virtuoso guitar skills. His genre-bending style has notes of blues, alternative rock, classic country, and jazz, among others. Generally sought after for his high energy shows with his band, The Anti Heroes, he’s also noted for his intimate acoustic performances with solo guitar. He blends his guitar skills and soulful voice to create a different version of singer-songwriter. He’s been working as both a solo act and a side man practically his entire career. He’s worked with artists such as Noah Schnacky, Haystak, producer Jazze Pha, and even been on CMTs Nashville as Juliette’s guitarist in seasons 4 and 5. His band, a mainstay in the Nashville and Memphis music scenes, has even opened for the likes of Los Lonely Boys among others.
Finding freedom through music is something that Miko Marks knows all too well. But it’s more than just freedom. It’s liberation. Deliverance. After living what seems to be multiple lives over, Miko has finally come into the life she was born to live. And she’s more than ready to live it to the fullest - one of truth, authenticity, vulnerability, joy and honesty. There’s a clip on YouTube that is quite striking. It’s an interview from a local Bay Area news channel featuring Miko Marks talking about her journey as a Black woman in country music. “For me, being a country music singer-songwriter, I’m truly dedicated to the work, so it’s an uphill battle, but it’s one I’m willing to climb.” That clip is from 2007. The conversations and the questions 15 years later, in 2022, are the same. Miko has answered them time and time again, but there’s more to her story than the barriers she bridles. She has more to give than the small confines of that one line of questioning. Miko’s life as a Black woman in country and roots music is only a small part of the story. As she readies her latest album, Feel like Going Home, for release (October 14, 2022 via Redtone Records), it’s beyond time to dig deeper. Miko was born in Flint, Michigan, by a single mother, a free spirit; undoubtedly where Miko gets her fire for life. Along with being passionate about being a mother and instilling strength and independence in Miko, her mother also had a calling for fighting for equal rights for all. She would spend free time protesting on a local level in their town and would travel to Detroit for larger demonstrations, always looking to make a genuine connection with everyone she met, leaving the world better than she found it. This impacted Miko greatly as she grew and was pivotal in Miko finding her own voice. To provide for Miko, her mother would spend nights working 3rd shift at the automotive factory, while Miko’s grandmother would watch over her, helping raise her for most of her young life. For Miko, the women in her life were of utmost importance to her and their hopes and dreams for her were cautiously optimistic while being pragmatic due to the barriers they faced in their own lifetime. The path that Miko is on now would be almost unimaginable for women like her grandmother. Even still she was raised to rise. Miko reflects on the contributions of these women in “Good Life.” “My grandmother’s family came out of the south, working in cotton fields, struggling, looking for hope up north as so many did during the great migration. I wanted to describe that in song and praise her and my mother and my ancestors for their power, and to thank them for persevering so that I could have a good life.” Miko was a mischievous child, oftentimes roping her neighbor cousins into illicit pranks. Since some of her many cousins and grandmother lived just a stone's throw away from the house she grew up in, Miko was constantly surrounded by love, and a love for music. Miko would enlist the help of her cousins to perform plays in the backyard. This is where her love for theater blossomed, which she participated in all through high school. When she wasn’t running around the neighborhood or performing in school or self-made plays, Miko was involved in girl scouts and church activities where music was a stronghold, traveling to Kentucky, Atlanta and Chicago for various church conventions. Miko and her family would pile into their family van for singing engagements with the church. They would sing and rehearse in the van and drive throughout the day and night to the conventions. These conventions developed Miko’s love for singing and she soon found herself auditioning for a special group at her school called The Madrigals. The style of music was classical, something she wasn’t familiar with, but was interested in learning because of its beauty and uniqueness from her gospel, soul, country, blues background. Being a part of The Madrigals took Miko onto singing at the famous Carnegie Hall in New York City, when she was just 15 years old. This flipped a switch for Miko in her primitive years, and the profound effect singing on that stage had on her would be imprinted on her forever, along with the great influence of several teachers, including her piano and vocal teachers who saw Miko’s light and pushed her to excellence. From then on, music wasn’t just something Miko was good at and enjoyed; it became a passion. After graduating high school, Miko attended Grambling State University from 1990 to 1994, a historically black university that is steeped in history and has the slogan “Where everybody is somebody.” Miko got her degree in Political Science where she planned to go on to law school to become a criminal defense attorney; a conventionally safer career path than her dreams of a singing career, though she never let that dream die. The world felt wide open to her. This irrepressible feeling of having the world at her fingertips was undeniable. This is where she was wrestling, “Who is Miko Marks?” and “What kind of impact will I have on the world?” After graduating from Grambling State University in Louisiana she married young and welcomed a beautiful baby boy - Justin - into their family, happily putting her law school dreams on hold to raise a family. Miko simultaneously built a house full of love and music while she focused on a rising career in country music in the early 2000s. Her talents and love for music were undoubtedly passed to her son who traveled with her to CMA Fest year after year in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Justin had unquestionably procured the gene of musical talent, performing with Miko at CMA Fest in 2007 at the Acoustic Corner. Here he impressed so many by his musical talents at the age of 11 that he was gifted a guitar by a local guitar brand. Her husband sold her merchandise. They were all in. During this early effort she released two albums - “Freeway Bound (2005)” and “It Feels Good” (2007). It was a family affair that was cut short. That’s the tiny piece of the story we’ve been told. After her run at country music fame, she reshifted her focus and dove head first into being a mother and wife. After all, her son was young - she told herself it was a good time to be at home more and put her own dreams on the back burner. She could at least tell him she tried to achieve her dreams even if the barriers were too great to cross. She could invigorate his dreams and encourage his ability to climb higher than she was able to. She took on work as a legal secretary and spent the rest of her time doing school drop offs, running errands, making lunches and maintaining their home while her husband was a local firefighter. Her only musical outlet was the occasional cover gig - just to scratch the itch. She made up her mind that her dream of a career in music was far out of reach, but it’s impossible to silence a voice that was made for singing. It was through these local gigs that she became involved with the Bill Pickett Rodeo - an organization that celebrates and highlights Black Cowboys and Cowgirls and their contributions to building the west. She felt seen and at home. It was almost enough. In “This Time” Miko tells the story of this duality. “We’ve all been sold the fairytale over and over, that the goal of life is to find the perfect love. But life is bigger than that. A lot of songs sung by women that I was raised on were songs about falling apart when love fails. But that’s not a message I want to put out there, especially for young women. Your life is much bigger than love and romance. You can find joy and balance and contentment within yourself, in your own spirit.” In late 2019, with her son mostly grown, she had a dream - a literal dream - about recording music again. She got in touch with two former bandmates that she had met through the cover gig circuit. Justin Phipps has just launched Redtone Records, a non-profit label whose mission is to preserve and strengthen arts, culture and community, and he happened to have a song that he thought would be perfect for Miko: “Goodnight America.” Steve Wyreman was a highly sought-after guitarist, writer and producer who proved to be harder to pin down, but Miko’s persistence prevailed. If they were going to do this, they were going to be all in. They aligned their schedules and met in East Palo Alto, CA at the Redtone Records studios and it was serendipitous from the start. From there, Our Country (March 26, 2021) was born. Miko had risen from the musical shadows she had been living in for the past decade. Through the uncertainties of 2020, one thing remained constant for Miko and her cohorts, who fondly began referring to themselves as The Resurrectors: they had created something undeniable that the world needed to hear. Three musicians who had been brought back together after years of separate journeys, now vying to tell the stories they had buried deep inside them. They were restored to life. They had been revived and resurrected. “River” weaves this resurgence into the new record “The river can mean a lot of things. It’s always been such a strong and universal theme in song and poetry. It’s healing, it’s baptism, it’s crossing over, it’s cleansing, it’s rebirth. I’m calling out to the river to take me wherever it goes. Letting go and trusting it to take me where I need to be. Jumping in to escape whatever might be coming for me.” Miko and team enlisted the help of Brooklyn Basement Records: a boutique marketing agency and record label whose mission is to give a voice to independent artists and others who need the help of a team to navigate releasing their record; for Miko, her passion project. They began rolling out singles in October of 2020 and by March, Miko proved to be making noise in the industry, with many anxiously awaiting the release of Our Country, the first album after Miko’s 13 year break from releasing new music. The Wall Street Journal described it as a “genre and industry-defying mission.” NPR declared it a “multilayered experience.” The New York Times commended the movement as carving out a new path in country music. Miko’s resurgence into music took an industry by storm as her unique sound deftly blends country, blues, southern rock and even gospel to create a sound and experience that has literally brought every audience to its feet. This new sound along with her warm and soulful spirit catapulted her into a community of change with her doing more than breaking ground - she’s shattering it. It’s a serendipitous realization that Miko’s was meant to be here, at this time, in this moment, for good. While Miko’s return not only catapulted change and conversations within an entire industry, it also reignited a passion within her. This resurgence re-lit a fire that although had been dulled, was never fully extinguished. Once Miko and the Resurrectors began recording, they could not stop. By October of the same year, they were ready to release another collection of songs. This time, an EP called Race Records, which shined a light on the arbitrary divisions forced upon artists and audiences in the early days of music marketing in the 1940s. If Miko was going to be back, full hearted in music, she was going to speak her truth. She was going to write songs with messages she wants to spread and topics she wants to talk about. Fully honest, fully authentic. No longer trying to fit into a box that censors her. In January of this year, Miko was named to CMT’s Next Women of Country Class of 2022 and by April, she stood alongside five other artists and managers chosen to participate in the inaugural Equal Access Development Program, a program designed by mtheory and CMT to foster and support marginalized communities underrepresented in the genre of country music. Now more than ever, the change needed is beginning to come to fruition; a change Miko feared she wouldn’t bear witness to in her existence: “I get emotional around it, because I didn’t think I would see any of this in my lifetime,” Miko says. Nearly one year after the release of Our Country, Miko released the first single, “Feel Like Going Home” (March 25, 2022) from her forthcoming project of the same name, due this fall. The lyrics sing, “Rest for the wanderer who never more shall roam.” For Miko, the time to reclaim her roots that were planted long ago is now; a powerful reconnection that can be felt in every note. No longer a wanderer, Miko has returned to her true self after years of trying to figure out her place in the world and in her first true love: music. Feel Like Going Home is an amalgamation of where Miko has been and where she is going. What she has learned and what she wants to teach. It’s an innermost look at the ebb and flow of her past, present and future. It’s the stories she wants to tell but hasn’t been able to speak into existence ever before. The messages are profound: healing, restoration and distinctly individual. Feel Like Going Home released on October 14, 2022.
With the release of her debut album, 'Hard Won,' in March 2017, singer-songwriter, harpist, and guitarist Lizzie No established herself as one of the most exciting new voices in indie folk music. Billboard Magazine called the album “simultaneously understated and fervent.” She followed up the album with the release of “Sundown,” a benefit track for Black Lives Matter. Building on the songwriting prowess displayed in her critically acclaimed debut album, Lizzie No is unsparing in the stories she tells on her second album, 'Vanity,' released August 2, 2019. The nine songs on ‘Vanity’ are epic tales of ego, featuring narrative shifts within vividly crafted characters. No embodies characters ranging from a handsome egoist in “Narcissus” (which Rolling Stone called a "crisp alt-rock gem") to a broke songwriter waiting for her big break in “Pity Party,” to a bitter and isolated rocker on “Loyalty” who rants that the crowd has left him behind. Inventive arrangements written in collaboration with co-producer Nick Rapley elevate the record to shimmering heights, alternating between swaggering grooves and intimate clarity. Lizzie has toured with Iron & Wine, Adia Victoria, Ron Pope, Sarah Shook and the Disarmers, and has showcased at festivals like Newport Folk Fest, Americanafest, South by Southwest, and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Classical arrangements of her songs have been performed at the Louisville Orchestra's Festival of American Music and the Downtown Chamber Series. She is also a winner of the American Songwriter Magazine Lyrics Contest. In June of 2021, Lizzie joined Basic Folk as a guest host, appearing monthly on the podcast. Since her debut, she has interviewed Valerie June, Will Sheff of Okkervil River, Brent Cobb, Amythytst Kiah, Molly Tuttle, Kishi Bashi, SG Goodman and many more.
Punk Rock Doll is Lauren Napier. Never really having roots in one geographic location, Lauren Napier has tailored her many creative interests to suit her ever changing address. Writer. Singer. Cellist. Model. Publicist. These are labels that can be indulged whilst traveling. Lauren finds solace in the written word, inspiration in the frequencies of her favorite music, and creative tranquility in being able to have her visions and a part of her being captured on film. She has lived in many different stateside locations as well as European countries throughout her life; her studies and experiences have aided her in crafting a creative and global perspective outside of the traditional American schema. A degree at Bowdoin College with a stint at Humboldt University in Berlin found her delving into Medieval Literature and the German language. Over the last ten years, Lauren has been a writer for such outlets as Smash Magazine, Tinsel Tokyo, Berlin Beat, Sugarhooker, Music Zeitgeist, NPR Berlin, Tacoma Volcano, and many others. She has acted as a tour manager for both club and festival circuits, a booking agent for national tours, a programming director and station manager for Bowdoin College’s radio station, a publicist for large scale music industry campaigns, a print and runway model, and as an editor for various texts including screen plays, lyrics and news articles. Her current project is a collection of short stories and melodies. It all comes down to the fact that Lauren is inspired and excited by a challenge, an excess of glitter, the scent of whiskey, and the unpredictability of a creative life.
Ruby Amanfu is a Ghana-born, Nashville-based recording artist, producer and Grammy, Soul Train and BET Award nominated songwriter. Her accolades include co-writing "Hard Place” for the artist, H.E.R. and “A Beautiful Noise” for artists Alicia Keys and Brandi Carlile, both of which garnered Song of the Year Grammy nominations. Having written and recorded music since her teens, Amanfu has released 7 critically acclaimed solo studio albums. Her songs have appeared on ABC, CBS, Fox, CMT, MTV, Netflix, Hulu, The Food Network and in shows such as “Station 19”, “Little Fires Everywhere”, “Community”, "Nashville", "Pretty Little Liars", and in films such as "The Secret Life of Bees", "Hope Springs" and “The Photograph.” As a songwriter and producer for the ABC hit series, “QUEENS”, Amanfu has written the songs “Hear Me”, “Until My Final Breath” and “Tomorrow’s Another Day” for Brandy and “Love Still Finds Us” for Naturi Naughton. Her vocals also appear on Beyoncé's track, “Don’t Hurt Yourself” on the Grammy-nominated album, Lemonade, and alongside Jack White on the White Stripes singer-guitarist's 2012 and 2014 solo LPs, Blunderbuss and Lazaretto, highlighted by a performance of their collaboration, "Love Interruption", at the 2013 Grammy Awards. Outside of her vast musical career, Amanfu is an actress, the current president of the Nashville Chapter of the Recording Academy, Artist ambassador for the beauty brand, No.7, wife and stepmother.
The acclaimed musician Rhiannon Giddens uses her art to excavate the past and reveal bold truths about our present. A MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, Giddens co-founded the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops. She most recently won a Grammy Award for Best Folk Album for They're Calling Me Home, which she made with multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi. Giddens is now a two-time winner and eight-time Grammy nominee for her work as a soloist and collaborator. They’re Calling Me Home was released by Nonesuch last April and has been widely celebrated by the NY Times, NPR Music, NPR, Rolling Stone, People, Associated Press and far beyond, with No Depression deeming it “a near perfect album…her finest work to date.” Recorded over six days in the early phase of the pandemic in a small studio outside of Dublin, Ireland - where both Giddens and Turrisi live - They’re Calling Me Home manages to effortlessly blend the music of their native and adoptive countries: America, Italy, and Ireland. The album speaks of the longing for the comfort of home as well as the metaphorical “call home” of death. Giddens’ lifelong mission is to lift up people whose contributions to American musical history have previously been erased, and to work toward a more accurate understanding of the country’s musical origins. Pitchfork has said of her work, “few artists are so fearless and so ravenous in their exploration,” and Smithsonian Magazine calls her “an electrifying artist who brings alive the memories of forgotten predecessors, white and black.” Among her many diverse career highlights, Giddens has performed for the Obamas at the White House and received an inaugural Legacy of Americana Award from Nashville’s National Museum of African American History in partnership with the Americana Music Association. Her critical acclaim includes in-depth profiles by CBS Sunday Morning, the New York Times, the New Yorker, and NPR’s Fresh Air, among many others. Giddens was featured in Ken Burns’s Country Music series, which aired on PBS, where she spoke about the African American origins of country music. She is also a member of the band Our Native Daughters with three other black female banjo players, Leyla McCalla, Allison Russell, and Amythyst Kiah, and co-produced their debut album Songs of Our Native Daughters (2019), which tells stories of historic black womanhood and survival. Giddens is in the midst of a tremendous 2022. She recently announced the publication of her first book, Build a House (October 2022), Lucy Negro Redux, the ballet Giddens wrote the music for, had its premiere at the Nashville Ballet (premiered in 2019 and toured in 2022), and the libretto and music for Giddens’ original opera, Omar, based on the autobiography of the enslaved man Omar Ibn Said, premiered at the Spoleto USA Festival in May. Giddens is also curating a four-concert Perspectives series as part of Carnegie Hall’s 2022–2023 season. Named Artistic Director of Silkroad Ensemble in 2020, Giddens is developing a number of new programs for that ensemble, including one inspired by the history of the American transcontinental railroad and the cultures and music of its builders. As an actor, Giddens had a featured role on the television series Nashville.
Petrella, First Lady of Country-Soul is an influential Music Artist with a devoted following. Her incredible career began with a bang in 1988, with the release of their first smash hit "Blues Stay Away from Me". Since then, she has toured almost constantly and has put out music on a regular basis that manages to thrill and delight fans—both old and new—and critics alike. Her latest release is "SONGS OF MANY COLORS"
Mickey Guyton was born in Arlington, Texas and began singing in church at a young age. She was drawn to a variety of artists with big voices including Dolly Parton, CeCe Winans, Whitney Houston and LeAnn Rimes. After signing to Capitol Records Nashville, Mickey’s first appearance was an all-star concert at the White House captured by PBS. In 2015 she released her self-titled EP featuring her debut single “Better Than You Left Me”. The following year she was nominated for her first Academy of Country Music Award for New Female Vocalist. Mickey returned to the ACM Awards in 2019 performing “I’m Standing With You” from the BREAKTHROUGH movie soundtrack alongside Chrissy Metz, Carrie Underwood, Lauren Alaina and Maddie & Tae. This last year, Mickey performed her first solo ACM Awards performance of “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” with labelmate Keith Urban’s accompaniment on piano. The performance which HITS called “…a Whitney Houston/Beyoncé power-vocal rendition of the glass-ceiling reckoning…” was named one of the best performances of the night. Mickey released her EP, Bridges last year, which included “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?”, hailed by Variety as “country music’s song of the year”, as well as “Black Like Me,” a song Mickey co-write in March 2019 at a cross-genre writing camp. Due to demand, “Black Like Me” was released in June 2020 and was named one of the Top 10 songs of 2020 by NPR, Billboard and The Associated Press. Mickey recently made history as the first Black female solo artist to earn a GRAMMY nomination in a country category (Best Country Solo Performance) for “Black Like Me” which she performed as part of the awards ceremony Sunday, March 14th. In addition, Mickey was a co-host alongside Keith Urban for the 56th Academy of Country Music Awards on CBS April 18. On September 24, 2021 Mickey released her album, Remember Her Name. Mickey and her music have been featured recently by The New York Times, The New Yorker, CBS This Morning, NPR, Today, Billboard, The Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly, ELLE, The Washington Post, Paste, Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal, and more.
As the story goes, Lilli Lewis should never have been. Before she was born, Lewis’ mother was told her baby probably wouldn’t survive due to lung trouble, so the fact that Lewis now makes a living singing with those same lungs is a gift she never takes for granted. Lewis uses her voice to bring what she calls sacred songs into profane spaces, and though she’s abandoned trying to define her sound, she hopes her audiences leave shows knowing two things: that they are brilliant as they are, and that they have the ability to use that brilliance to make a better world. Trained as an opera singer and classical pianist, Georgia native Lewis has been a composer, producer and performer for over two decades. After carving out space as an African American queer woman of size, Lewis’ career has culminated in her album Americana being a top pick everywhere from NPR’s All Songs Considered to Rolling Stone. The FolkRockDiva is a musical polyglot who glides easily between folk, roots, country soul, gospel, and jazz, and has integrated New Orleans traditions by singing lead for Dirty Dozen Brass Band founding member Kirk Joseph’s Backyard Groove. Lewis’ Louisiana Red Hot Records releases include The Henderson Sessions, We Belong, and Americana. Powerhouse singer-songwriter Lilli Lewis has announced her 2022 tour, including dates at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Folk Alliance International Conference, and The Kennedy Center which has called her: “A powerhouse performer adding her unique voice and talent to the national discussion of the state of social justice in America.”
“Larry Ladale, Arlington’s native son, offers the city a unique perspective through his music and performances. Energetic and inspiring, Larry reminds us all how to endure hardship while maintaining a positive outlook through creation. We are proud to claim him as a fellow Texan, and look forward to what he will bring next.” – Arlington Citizen Media If you love the joy and flash of 80’s rock, the grit of blues, solace of gospel with the bounce of pop and funk, Larry Ladale is what you need. He has spread his positivity to venues such as the The Deli in Norman, OK, Troy’s @ Texas Live Arlington and the House of Blues Dallas. The message is simple: God is real and miracles happen. There is hope in darkness and when the sun finally shines, bathe in the light.
Tracey Blake is a Minneapolis, Minnesota based writer/producer/artist who is committed to writing great music that will connect with people all over the world. Tracey was born and raised in the small town of Davenport, Iowa. He was handed his first instrument at the age of five and began playing bass for his dad's gospel quartet. As time passed he realized that he wanted to have a career in music and moved to Minneapolis to begin his journey. Through the years, Tracey became a prolific writer and producer, writing a number of songs which landed him syncs in television shows and professional sports games. Throughout the years Tracey has toured extensively playing some of the best theaters and venues in the world. After years of touring, writing and producing, Tracey started Big Hearts For Better Days Foundation: a charity for children with terminal conditions. It has hopes to work with the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital and other children's hospitals around the country. As Tracey performs concerts, a portion of the proceeds from all shows goes to Big Hearts For Better Days to support the cause. He is looking forward to making a difference in the lives of others through his gift of music.
Robert Finley (born February 13, 1954) is an American blues and soul singer-songwriter and guitarist. After decades of performing semi-professionally followed by time away from music, Finley made a comeback in 2016. He released his debut studio album, Age Don't Mean a Thing, later in the year, which was met positively by critics. Bio courtesy of Wikipedia
Reyna Roberts (born August 15, 1997) is an American country singer-songwriter and pianist. She is known for her July 2020 debut single, "Stompin' Grounds" as well as multiple appearances on NFL's Monday Night Football. One of the few visible Black women in country music, Roberts is known for advocating for "acknowledging the past" of country music, which includes acknowledging Black artist mentors such as Lesley Riddle, and learning the history of the banjo and the term "Music City" for Nashville. Bio courtesy of Wikipedia
Nathan Graham is a musician born and raised in Chicago. His music bridges the gap between South Side Soul and Nashville Americana, creating a new inclusive vision of singer-songwriter. He built his career over the last ten years as a guitar-for-hire, touring internationally with major label and indie acts, all while focused on songwriting and honing his skills as a solo performer. “My goal is to show a different kind of singer-songwriter. I don’t look or sound like you’d expect, but I’m writing about universal experiences of love, loss, uncertainty and anxiety. I’m writing music to connect my story to yours, show you all that we have in common, and maybe help both of us feel less alone.”
Leyla McCalla finds inspiration from her past and present, whether it is her Haitian heritage or her adopted home of New Orleans, she — a bilingual multi-instrumentalist, and alumna of Grammy award-winning African-American string band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops — has risen to produce a distinctive sound that reflects the union of her roots and experience. McCalla’s music is at once earthy, elegant, soulful and witty — it vibrates with three centuries of history, yet also feels strikingly fresh, distinctive and contemporary, sonically blending New Orleans influences and Haitian rhythms, with lyrics sung in English, French and Haitian Creole. McCalla’s widely-acclaimed collaborative project, Songs of Our Native Daughters (Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla, and Allison Russell), released via Smithsonian Folkways in 2019. The album pulled influence from past sources to create a reinvented slave narrative, confronting sanitized views about America’s history of slavery, racism, and misogyny from a powerful, modern Black female perspective.
Kyshona has always lent her voice and music to those that feel they have been silenced or forgotten. She began her career as a music therapist, writing her first songs with her patients -- the students and inmates under her care. She soon found the need to write independently and find her own voice, and endeavor which led her to the fertile ground of the Nashville creative community and songwriting culture. Since then, she has learned how to balance her music career with her passion to heal and foster community through her non-profit organization Your Song. Her song Listen became an anthem for many in 2020. Of her album, one fan reviewer wrote: “Amidst these hard, divisive times this set of songs is a salve for the grief many of us are feeling about resulting loss of family, friends, and community.” Within the grooves of its 10 tracks, Kyshona blends roots, rock, R&B, and folk with lyrical prowess to uplift the marginalized and bring awareness to the masses. It's for every silent scream, every heavy load, fearful thought, and a simmering sense of anger that the repressed, the lost, and the forgotten try to hide from the world. Audiences will find a common thread of empowerment, overcoming adversity, and finding hope in her work. The show doesn’t end when the last song is sung. After her powerful performances, concertgoers often ask, "What can I do?" Her response? "Listen."
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