Talking about the A2IM and Mavis Staples Libera Awards with the fantastic Negrito


The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) will present its annual Libera Awards honoring independent artists on Thursday, June 17.e, 2021. The prices will be published on The official A2IM YouTube channel at 6 p.m. EST. This year’s Libera Icon Award goes to rhythm and blues legend Mavis Staples.

A2IM is an organization that aims to be the collective voice of independent music. Their job is to promote the growth, awareness and opportunities for independent music through advocacy, networking and education. This week, their Indie Week talk covers topics as diverse as NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), international markets, catalog funding, the rise of underrepresented artists and what the future work environment could be like. The Indie Week conference also hosts a variety of workshops as well as panels on everything from return to touring to streaming and digital marketing.

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

Google driveLiberas 2021_LIVE CUT Promo Video_WIDESCREEN.mp4

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 performance and the quality of his original songs. There were social messages with the music and a strong and immediate connection formed with the audience. I saw him again in late 2019 at the House of Blues and, if anything, his performance was stronger. So when I was offered the opportunity to discuss life, music and Mavis Staples with him, I took it.

Fantastic explained how Mavis Staples and the singers at Staples made a massive and profound contribution to American music. He described exactly why Mavis was this year’s Icon Award recipient, a sentiment I agree with.

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

There is no right way to describe Fantastic’s approach to life and work in words. It would be a bit like trying to describe Monet’s use of light and color. You just have to see it to understand. Fortunately, this opportunity is available this week on the Libera Awards YouTube stream.

Here is our conversation in video and audio podcast format:

Be sure to watch the Libera Awards YouTube feed to see Fantastic Negrito and the other artists. Don’t miss your chance to see Mavis Staples honored. Music is a journey. As you walk its paths you discover new genres and new performers, sometimes these new performers are just new to you. There is always something cool to take home after seeing someone new or unknown. I didn’t look for Fantastic Negrito, I met him at a music festival. Now he’s on my must-see list in 2022. Maybe he’ll be on yours, too. He is just that talented.


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