Saturday, July 7, 2018, Essence hosted their 4th annual “Essence of Indie” concert during the Essence Festival weekend in New Orleans, Louisiana. This year’s lineup features lam Denisia, Alfred Banks, Austin Levy, Maxx Painn, Paasky, Briki fa president and more. The location was at the famous, “The Howlin’ Wolf” music venue. The same weekend, another event at Essence was apart of the Indie category, “Essence of Indie Hip Hop Showcase” at the Howlin’ Wolf on Sunday night. These artists are grinding hard to showcase their work to seek more supporters and the Essence festival is the place to be for all artist. The word, indie, may turn some people away from trying out something new, but everyone has to start somewhere to get to the top. For this reason, I am highlighting these artists and their work for audiences to listen and learn.
Out of the lineup of artists, I want to share three artists for anyone who has not heard of them yet. Alfred Banks, Briki fa president, and A. Levy are three artists from New Orleans. While conducting research, I did find additional music for each artist and will provide some background information about each artist flow and motivation.
1. Alfred Banks
Banks represents his city, New Orleans with pride and talks about certain locations, language, and mannerisms in his music. His YouTube page has many of his music available for anyone who wants to listen and learn about his come up into the music industry. Currently, Banks has a new EP out for pre-order “Mere-Exposure Effect EP”. The release date is July 29, 2018, and can be found on iTunes, Android, and Physical CD. The EP consists of six songs. One song in particular, “Arrival” is available to stream now free online. Banks talks about all his haters did not believe him, but now, he wants them to see how far he has come and refuses to back down.
2. Briki fa president
Briki is a lyrical artist. She combines poetry within her flow of rap and refuses to let outsiders make fun of her style. She posted the Essence Indie event on her Instagram stories Sunday night and I got a chance to listen to not only her flow of rapping but every artist that performed. One of her songs, “Life” is an encouraging lyrical song with metaphors for listeners to feel reassurance about their reality. Everyone struggles with some type of situation, whether it is an addiction, or anxiety about school or relationships. Briki preaches the truth in her lyrics and does not shy away from talking about sensitive topics like insecurities, environmental afflictions, and sharing stories about herself.
3. A. Levy
Saving the best for last, A. Levy is locally known in New Orleans and is the promoter behind the Essence Indie event this past weekend. He did lots of advertisements on his Instagram page: @alevyworld. Also, Levy utilizes his Facebook music page for advocating his music. He does not have an artist website, but music lovers can find his music on his social media accounts. Presently, Levy newest album, “Reparations” is out and he is busy getting ready to go on tour for his newest project.
Individuals are overlooking New Orleans indie artists and their work. Nobody uses auto tune and still shines on top by pure natural talent. Since I was not at the Essence festival, I did try out each artist music on YouTube. I am happy and ecstatic that I have the opportunity to listen to new music from artists in my local area, New Orleans, Louisiana. I appreciate the flow from both Banks and Levy to rap bars onto any beat, rhythm, or style. In addition, Briki fa president blew my mind on her realism lyrics of poetry, while reaching out to others through her music. As a result, everyone should listen to more indie artist than record labeled artist because the talent shows through their passion and drive to not give up. Record deal or not, people are making it on their own as an independent artist and deserves recognition for their hard work.
Note: All images are from A. Levy’s Instagram page expect the featured image.