Black History Month - Influences on Michigan Musicians, Pt. 5

posted by Jess Martin on 02/26/2021

We have many talented artists in Michigan and they all bring their own unique sound to the community, so this month we wanted to hear a little more about what black artists/musicians have influenced them. Some of our respondents chose to reflect on who they listened to growing up and others wanted to highlight some of the fellow musicians they see making an impact in Michigan!


Let’s take a look at the fifth round of responses:

Stephie James

What black artists/musicians influenced your own developmental interest in music?

Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Chuck Berry, The Platters, Smokey Robinson

What current black musicians/artists are inspiring you?

Childish Gambino, Anderson .Paak, H.E.R., Leon Bridges

What are you/your band up to these days?

Watching Jim Jarmusch films, working on new songs, getting ready to go back into the studio, reading everything Patti Smith has written, becoming very domestic and terribly missing touring life - even the parts of touring that we used to complain about!

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Lady Ace Boogie

What black artists/musicians influenced your own developmental interest in music?

Growing up, my influence as an entertainer has always been Michael Jackson and my father’s (James Tellis JR) love and ear for music.

What current black musicians/artists are inspiring you?

Willie The Kid would be a great artist to highlight. Ran Ru is also another artist. Those are artists whose work ethic and music inspire me today.

What are you/your band up to these days?

Honestly, right now I’m just trying to stay sane and be healthy. I realize that there are other routes that artists can go with their music, but I’m a performing artist who is fueled by the energy of the people. So not being on the stage has been a nightmare, but I’m working through it.

I am however (in collaboration with Brendon Coe and E-Will), currently wrapping up a single that will be the official trailer soundtrack for a movie directed by Josh Sikkema.

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PAWL

What black artists/musicians influenced your own developmental interest in music?

Nat King Cole, Cole Porter, Miles Davis, Sammy Davis Jr, John Coltrane, Sarah Vaughn, Carmen McRae, Grandmaster Flash, Tribe Called Quest, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, George Clinton, Wynton Marsalis

What current black musicians/artists are inspiring you?

SABA, Noname, Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean, Tyler the Creator

What are you/your band up to these days?

Writing a new album that is working with hip hop artists; in post production with two already recorded albums: 1. An acoustic album involving Piano and Rhodes and vocals, 2. A fully produced dark pop album with a full band— but all playing at different times due to the pandemic.

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Sarena Rae

What black artists/musicians influenced your own developmental interest in music?

My greatest music influences are Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Al Green, Mariah Carey, and of course Diana Ross!!! These artists inspire me to always embrace my own unique vocal style and also ignite my love for performance and songwriting.

What current black musicians/artists are inspiring you?

One of my current favorites is a black female duo, Chloe X Halle! They are an amazing force to be reckoned with, their unique harmonies and incredible stage presence really capture the art of performance. I also love how they both model the importance of self care, mental health, and self confidence. 

What are you/your band up to these days?

Currently, I am working on writing the songs for my next project. This new piece of art is all about collaboration and will gleam from the dance era of disco while incorporating the hip-hop beats of the modern day. It's all about spreading joy and brightening the life of my listeners, that's the goal of this album.


Stay tuned at 88.1fm WYCE for more!

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