In a recent interview Bartees Strange did for NPR Music, the D.C.-based songwriter and producer talked about the music he grew up with, running the gamut: From his opera singer mother, to performing in church, to the funk and R&B his father shared with him, and, as a teen, all the punk he got to hear – thanks to friends with cars.
It was all of it, everything, that shaped his own music. Of course, he also saw the glaring absence of Black and brown artists in the indie scene. His 2019 EP release Say Goodbye To Pretty Boy, songs he covered by The National, was inspired by not only this lack of representation in the music, but in indie audiences as well. The artists are out there, he thought. They belong in the spotlight. Like, now already.
Bartees Strange’s debut LP Live Forever (2020) brings that uncompromising expansiveness of boundless influences – cathartic, heart-filled, angsty and brilliantly disparate, the story of an artist who will not be pigeonholed into narrow expectations placed upon artists of color.
Bartees Strange will perform Live Forever in its entirety on a livestream performance at 9 p.m. (Central) tonight, Saturday Jan. 30, on Memory Music’s YouTube channel. One for the books. Don’t miss out.