Talking about A2IM and Mavis Staples’ Libera Awards with Fantastic Negrito

The American Association for Independent Music (A2IM) will present its annual Libera Awards honoring independent artists on Thursday, June, 2021. The awards will be broadcast on Official YouTube channel of A2IM at 6 p.m. EST. This year, the Libera Icon Award will be presented to rhythm and blues legend Mavis Staples.

A2IM is an organization that presents itself as the collective voice of independent music. Her job is to promote growth, awareness, and opportunities for independent music through advocacy, networking, and education. This week, his Indie Week conference covers topics as diverse as NFTs (non-fungible tokens), international markets, catalog financing, raising underrepresented artists, and what the future work environment might look like. The Indie Week conference also hosts a variety of workshops alongside panels on everything from comeback to touring, broadcasting, and digital marketing.

A2IM’s Libera Awards are part of their annual Indie Week conference. Performing on the Libera Awards show are Black Pumas, Lecrae, Arlo Parks, Yuna, Lido Pimienta, and Fantastic Negrito, who took the time to talk to me about life, music, and of course Mavis Staples. That’s a stellar lineup that crosses the spectrum from hip-hop to

Video produced by The Control Room

I first saw Fantastic Negrito (Xavier Dphrepaulezz) at Arroyo Seco, a festival that was produced twice by GoldenVoice on the golf course adjacent to the Rose Bowl. He stood out for the exuberance of his interpretation and the quality of his original songs. There were social messages to the music and a strong and immediate connection was formed with the audience. I saw him again at the end of 2019 at the House of Blues and, if anything, his performance was stronger. So when I was offered the opportunity to talk to him about life, music, and Mavis Staples, I jumped on it.

Fantastic was eloquent about how Mavis Staples and the Staples singers made a massive and profound contribution to American music. It outlined exactly why Mavis received this year’s Icon award, a sentiment that I agree with.

I tried to get Fantastic out what his performance would look like on the Libera Awards show. True to form, he played it close to the vest. We’ll likely find out what his performance looks like around the same time as him, as it takes place in real time. Fantastic’s performances are all about Black Roots’ music mixed with influences from across the musical spectrum.

There is no fair way to put into words Fantastic’s approach to life and work. It would be a lot like trying to describe Monet’s use of light and color. You just have to see it to understand it. Fortunately, that opportunity is available this week on the YouTube broadcast of the Libera awards show.

Here’s our conversation in audio and video podcast format:

Be sure to watch the Libera Awards YouTube stream to see Fantastic Negrito and the other artists. Don’t miss out on seeing Mavis Staples honored. Music is a journey. As you walk their ways, you learn about new genres and new artists, sometimes those new artists are new to you. There is always something new to take home after seeing someone new or unknown. I didn’t look for Fantastic Negrito, I came across him at a music festival. Now he’s on my list of must-see concerts of 2022. Maybe he’ll get yours too. He’s that talented.

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