SXSW spotlight: Fantastic Negrito

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At the Tiny Desk: Fantastic Negrito bested 1000s of other artists to win National Public Radio’s Tiny Desk Concert contest

From: Oakland, Ca.

Online: Fantasticnegrito.com

About the artist:  In his colorful bio, that’s really worth a read, musician Xavier Dphrepaulezz’ new project Fantastic Negrito as his “third rebirth.” Born into an Orthodox Muslim family with 13 siblings, he grew up listening to the African music of his Somali-Caribbean immigrant father. Then at age 12 his family moved from Massachusetts to Oakland. It was the mid-seventies and he suddenly found himself in the midst of a full tilt, musical, cultural revolution. Dphrepaulezz learned how to play every instrument he could.

In his 20s, he decided to move to L.A. and become a rock star and it almost worked out. He inked a major league deal with Interscope, but his music wasn’t in line with the gansta rap which was the West Coast sound du jour. His album “X Factor,” released under the name Xavier bombed and he felt emotionally, spiritually and musically depleted. Then a car crash left him in a coma for three weeks. Coming out of it, it took months to regain use of his legs and injuries to his hands made it difficult to play music.

As he tells it, he left it all behind, moving back to Oakland to marry and live a simple urban agrarian life until musical inspiration returned with the birth of his son. With the new project he’s digging deep into a Delta blues-influenced sound, singing with raw, gut-bucket urgency wrought from a life full of difficult turns and unexpected redemption.

Could share a bill with: Vintage Trouble, Alabama Shakes, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Aloe Blacc

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