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Why Black Music Matters

Last month, I celebrated the release of my new album at Mercy Lounge in Music City — Nashville, Tennessee. I named this album “New Orleans” after my hometown out of a desire to return to my artistic roots and make the music that I love.

This month, for Black Music Month, I’ve taken time to reflect on what music means to me. I’ve traveled all across the world, seen people of all different walks-of-life and there’s a commonality — a love of black music.

While in Nashville, I learned about the National Museum of African-American Music — a project under development in an area dedicated to telling the story of American culture as told through the lens of the vast contributions African-Americans have made in music nationally and internationally.

This museum will be a place where all dimensions of black music, and musicians who influenced black music — or who were influenced by black music, can be discovered. I also learned that the lineage of black music can be traced to more than 50 genres and as a result, I can only imagine the depth to be found in the untold stories of black music.

It’s the kind of depth found in the music of legends like Stevie Wonder, who happens to be my greatest musical influences. Stevie is the one musician who made me want to be an artist. It started when I was about 13 years old when introduced to his song, “I Never Dreamed You’d Leave In Summer.”

Stevie sounded young, innocent and passionate, much like me at that age. It was then that I went on a mission, and musical journey, to collect all of his music. Taking my weekly allowance, I would buy a Stevie CD every week and I started from the earliest years and collected to the latest. So, when I started to write my own music, Stevie’s sound was very much part of me. I saw and felt his influence on me. Like Stevie, I am keyboard player who writes songs and sings. And the way he told stories, in that early music — and all of his music — was, and is, incredible. He gave me something to reach for and is the epitome of black music to me…

Read More: P.J. Morton,

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