Great things are happening for the five musicians from around the U.S. who were selected for the first Black Opry Residency, the creative development project created by Philadelphia public radio station WXPN in partnership with the Black Opry platform.
The Black Opry Residency seeks to support the professional and creative development, and broaden the audiences, of up-and-coming Black performers whose original music is rooted in Americana, the collective term for country, bluegrass, folk, blues, gospel, alternative country, and singer-songwriter genres. The five Black Opry Residency musicians are TYLAR BRYANT, Nashville, TN; DENITIA, Nashville, TN; GRACE GIVERTZ, Boston, MA; THE KENTUCKY GENTLEMEN, Nashville, TN; and SAMANTHA RISE, Philadelphia, PA.
- Since their selection in early February, the artists have been participating in weekly online mentoring sessions with a stellar group of music industry professionals covering topics including management, booking and touring, publishing and licensing, radio promotion, and marketing and public relations. The experts include Virginia Prater (Prater Day Booking), Angela Backstrom (Angela Backstrom Promotions), Gina Miller (MNRK Music), Charlene Bryant (Riveter Management), Debbie Zavitson (Debbie Z Management), Tiffany Provenzano (mTheory) and Autumn Rowe (AutumnRowe.com). Input is also being provided by project consultants Holly G., founder of Black Opry, and Rissi Palmer, country music artist and Apple Music Country Color Me Country host.
- Mentoring will continue in-person during the creative residency week in Philadelphia March 18-24, when two music trailblazers will also be working with the five musicians: Singer-songwriter and longtime advocate for Black Americana artists, Frankie Staton, and Philly’s own Dyana Williams, a former radio host and expert in broadcasting, music activism and celebrity media strategy who worked to help establish June as Black Music Month in the U.S. Musician Amos Lee, a Philadelphia native, will also do a songwriting session with the five residents during this week.
- During their week-long residency, the artists will also be working on songwriting, collaborating and rehearsing for their capstone concert set for Friday, March 24 at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. This free event will spotlight each of the five musicians performing individually as well as collectively, and will also feature artist Frankie Staton in a guest performance. The event will be broadcast live on WXPN-FM, online at xpn.org, and streamed at NPR Live Sessions.
- Philadelphia audio production company Rowhome Productions is documenting all the activities happening with the Black Opry Residency, and conducting interviews that will be part of an upcoming podcast about the project.
The Black Opry Residency artist development project, believed to be the first such initiative by a U.S. radio station, is made possible with support provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, a multidisciplinary grantmaker and hub for knowledge- sharing, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, dedicated to fostering a vibrant cultural community in Greater Philadelphia.
More information about the Black Opry Residency can be found here. Artist bios and images are here. For more about WXPN, visit xpn.org.