Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Service: The Business of Shows

Greetings Boys & Girls,


What’s new and exciting? Hopefully, lots (don’t hold out on me. You can actually tell me these things!). Quite a few things have been transpiring on my end, so without any further ado, let’s jump in!


I’ve been gigging steadily for about the past month, which I LOVE. I love being in front of an audience, and I realized while I was still recording my EP Between Beauty & Bedlam that a live setting really is how I’m going to be able to best promote the record. So, the goal has and continues to be to continue to make it happen as often as I can.


This weekend, I performed with Jim Pfitzer, Andrew Kelsay, and Fristl Butler at Charles and Myrtle’s. This has been a venue I’ve heard about for many years, but this was actually my first time stepping foot inside the place, let alone having the opportunity to perform. As soon as I walked in, I reazlied that pretty much everything I’ve heard about it was apt. It’s very cozy and intimate, and there is a certain energy that just kind of takes you upon entering.


The crowd that came was very responsive, and the bill was interesting because of the variety in styles. Jim’s a storyteller, Andrew and Fritsl played music, and I performed poems. We also performed in the round, which is rare for me, but it was really a lot of fun.


At the end of the night, I sold some merch and administered some hugs (if you’ve known me for any length of time or ever seen me live, you know that I pride myself on delivering quality hugs). A woman approached me and told me that she enjoyed my work, but felt that it was somewhat negative. I asked her what she meant, and she explained herself. She’d misinterpreted the second verse of my song Walk, which has happened a few times before. She thought that I was making a statement about racial superiority.


I told her that the second verse of the song is talking about how I, specifically in my teens, encountered a lot of interesting and complex perceptions and opinions on race. Black girls I used to be told that I acted white because I skateboarded, wore Chuck Taylors, played guitar, etc. That verse explains my frustration and confusion about those things, talks about how anyone, regardless of creed, color, etc. is capable of ignorance and holding you back, and how I ultimately decided to just be who I wanted to be and do what I wanted to do. Too many have died without having that opportunity for me to feel limited by people who don’t have my best interest in mind and who only play minimal roles in my everyday life.


When I told her all of this, I could see her perception change. I also told her that even when I talk about ugly things (rape, racism, etc.) it’s never done in a negative way. I also thanked her for having the dialogue with me, because it afforded me the opportunity to provide clarity on the matter. I never want anyone to misinterpret something or feel a certain way and leave with a distorted perception of me or my work.


What she said stuck in my mind though. The next day, I was looking at Twitter, and I came across this video of Chance the Rapper. He’s talking about an encounter he had in Canada and how he came to truly understand the power that language has. Check it out and let me know what you think.


Switching gears, but staying with Charles and Myrtle’s, I’m proud to announce that I’ll be performing with Minton Sparks on September 26th. It’s an honor. One of my goals for the year has been to touch base with her in some capacity and talk shop, particularly since she’s based in Nashville and I’ve been there a great deal over the past seven months to perform. As fate would have it, that will be happening, Inshallah. Put it on your calendars and come check out a GREAT show. You won’t be disappointed.


Also, I’ll be performing THIS FRIDAY at Barking Legs Theater for Melinda Brown’s benefit. Here’s a little info on the event: Melinda Brown, entertainer, community activist, all around great person has broken her sacrum in an accident. She has been in a lot of pain and is having a hard time managing. She has not been able to work since April when the accident occurred and could use a little help from her friends. Join us please in an EXTRAVAGANZA to delight almost all of your senses on JULY 18th AT BARKING LEGS THEATER at 7:00PM.


Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. I hope to see you fine folks soon! Don’t be strangers, don’t pass out in the heat, and I’ll be in touch before too long.








Twitter - @ichristian3030

Sunday, July 6, 2014


Greetings, boys and girls. Your Friendly Neighborhood Xtian reporting here. Hopefully, none of you who are reading this blew off any of your limbs over the weekend or managed to maim yourselves in any other way. If you did happen to severely injure yourself and you are perusing this blog, thank you for your diligence, and do better next 4th of July!


Last week was an absolutely rush. I ended up landing a last-minute gig at JJ’s Bohemia in Chattanooga, so there was A LOT of scrambling to lock everything down (filling out the bill, promoting to the best of my ability in under a week, etc.) Everything worked out though, which I was very happy about.


For some time now, I’ve wanted to find a DJ for my live line-up. While I enjoy being able to manipulate the sounds and everything myself, pulling double-duty takes me out of being present with the material to a certain degree. This show really motivated me to reach out to someone, and they actually said YES! Cole Sweeten aka Cutlass Cult agreed to kick things off and man the tables along with Zowie (my singer), Jessica (my viola player), and yours truly. I was really excited about seeing what he would bring to the fold and how it would gel with everything.


We linked up on Wednesday night to rehearse, and as soon as we got into the first song (which just so happened to be Walk off the EP), I knew he was the perfect fit. I was elated to say the least. We rocked out for a few hours, and I knew that the gig on Thursday was going to be big fun.


Some dear friends (The Scarlet Love Conspiracy) rounded out the bill with us, and I’ve not really had the chance to spend any significant time with them in ages. A number of people who have never seen the live band came as well, so I was really pleased to be able to hang out in good company, and introduce them to what’s been brewing in support of my record since November.


Cole jumped things off in style. He kicked out jam after jam, and I thoroughly enjoyed observing him and dancing in my chair. If you’re in or around Chattanooga and haven’t seen him do his thing, DEFINITELY make it a point to do so. You can thank me later.


We took the stage as a band around 12:30, and from the first word out of my mouth, it was on. We put on a sweaty, energy-filled set, and I think it was a good showing. What I enjoy doing live, particularly with the band, is taking the audience on a bit of a journey. We have things that’ll make you move, and things that’ll, hopefully, move you. I feel very fortunate that on several occasions now, I’ve been able to look out into the crowd and see people crying or just fully immersed in the material we’re presenting. It’s both humbling and affirming, and is kind of a reward for pushing through and making this little record called Between Beauty & Bedlam.


After we jumped off the stage, The Scarlet Love Conspiracy took the stage, and it was great to watch them. I love seeing them because they are SO in love (literally. They’re married), and it’s incredibly evident. I think it definitely informs the music they make together, too.


On Friday night, I had the opportunity to perform at Barking Legs for Wide Open Floor, which I do maybe two or three times a year. I’d blown out my voice at JJ’s the night before, so all I had was a low range, which I like to call my sexy 1970’s radio DJ voice. Watch out, ladies!


There was a lot of poetry throughout the course of the night. It’s always interesting for me to see new poets and take in their work.


When I stepped to the microphone, I performed Night Watch first. It was interesting because it was the first time I’ve ever done it without music. I didn’t rehearse the piece much beforehand, so I had to adapt to the text right there on the stage. I think it went well.


I also performed Acceptance and my new poem for my mother. The latter feels like the gift that keeps giving. I think after every performance of it, someone comes up to me and tells me how much they enjoy and connect to it, which is beautiful.


This weekend, I had to chance to meet new people, introduce them to both myself and my work, and I LOVE that. I sold some merch, which is always a great thing, but (and I’ve said it time and time again on here) having the opportunity to TRULY connect with people is the bigger reward.


So, with all that said, I’ll be performing next at Charles & Myrtle’s THIS FRIDAY. The show starts at 8. I’ll be sharing the bill with storyteller Jim Pfitzer and singer-songwriter. Andrew Kelsay. It’s going to be a good time. This, I guarantee! If you’re making your weekend plans now, feel free to make it an option. I, for one, would love to see you!


Alright, dear brothers and sisters. That’s all I’ve got. Be good, swim a little bit, and I’ll be in touch before too long.

Twitter - @ichristian3030