Fantastic Negrito interview
when i was in louisville to cover bourbon and beyond i had a chance to sit down and talk to grammy award winner - fantastic negrito. we talked music, comebacks and collaborations. It’s hard for me to categorize his music; though my one and only attempt would be: DOPE! If by chance you have not heard his the last days of oakland album i suggest you do so quick, fast and in a hurry! i definitely suggest bangin’; in the pines, hump Thru the Winter, about a Bird, lost in a crowd, rant rushmore… well just play the whole album!
will you describe your style of music to people who may be unaware of who you are?
FN: i describe my style as black’s roots for everyone. edgy, raw, blues with a punk attitude. like i have all those mixtures… blues, funk, rock, punk, soul – it’s an amazing garden to pick from.
so you KILLED it on stage! they loved you…
FN: i know how to do a show! that’s what i think i’m best at. I’m a songwriter and a showman!
as an artist it’s tempting to settle into a comfort zone and do “what’s working.” how do you avoid that trap?
FN: my comfort zone is to be uncomfortable. i like to be challenged and to be a contributor. to do this music with the intention of contributing usually works out well.
who are some artists you have worked with recently?
FN: i did a song with zz ward called cannonball that we performed here today and i also worked with mistah f.a.b. and zion i on the oakland resist-mix.
do you have any other collaborations in the works or better yet is there an artist that you’re itching to work with?
FN: i’m on tour with sturgill simpson i think we’ll definitely do a collab, i think we’re definitely gonna cook something up, we keep talking about it.
i’m going to just throw this out there and i know it doesn’t mean anything but i’d love to see you do something with gary clark jr.
FN: i have something in the works with gary clark jr. it’s just a matter of if he gets to it. there’s a song called chronic pain, i don’t know if he’s gonna get on it or not but i hope so.
do you mind speaking on your past and how it impacts your music?
FN: sure, the road that i’ve traveled… man the things that don’t break us down makes us stronger. my story goes in three phases. i started off wanting to be some big star - got signed to a label for a million bucks. the second phase is losing all of that. i was driving down the street one day in los angeles and i simply woke up three days later i was in a coma, lost my playing hand and then i delved into the underground music life, ran a few afterhours and illegal night clubs - that was fun. and I had a lot of incarnations i had stuff like chocolate butterfly, blood Sugar – i was just having fun then i decided to quit/retire i sold all of my stuff because I never thought that I would play again. i went up to oakland, ca my hometown and decided to become a cannabis farmer. got out of music for five years and then boom! came back as fantastic negrito. i came back and those have been my three different phases, going out and then coming back and i think that’s okay. it’s okay to quit, put something down for a little while.
what brought you back to music?
FN: well i had a son. my son brought me back. i couldn’t put him to sleep one day and i just had a raggedy guitar hanging around the house and i just picked it up and played like a g major and that changed the course of my life because his reaction to it was so beautiful that i decided maybe there’s something to this music. so i slowly started playing again and came up with fantastic negrito and i haven’t looked back.