Anthony C didn’t land on our radar as much as he stormed it and quickly dispersed with everything else on the screen. It was a December night at Phoenixville spot The Sound Bank, and Great Time’s Jill Ryan had just wrapped up her first collaborative set with singer-songwriter Lauren Thomas. Friends were chatting, drinks were pouring, and before we knew what was happening, another person was already onstage, ready to get to work — and the Philly by way of Collegeville rapper proceeded to spit fire on the mic, strut the stage, douse himself with most of a 24 oz bottle of water, all in the course of the first couple songs.
Shawn Cephas from local record store Forever Changes said Anthony C made a similar impression when he first caught him at an open mic in the fall; it’s why he booked him for this gig, and in turn, that same drive and charisma bowled us over and brought Anthony C to The Key Studio Sessions this week.
In his early 20s, Anthony C has a broad creative skill set: he makes his own beats, records his own tracks, does his own promo. (Our actual first impression of him was arriving at The Sound Bank show to find him leaving cards all around the venue with his album art on the one side and a QR code taking you to his socials on the other; savvy.) His 2022 project Therapy In My Expression covers a lot of lyrical ground, particularly in the arena of mental health and self-care, and he played four cuts from it at WXPN this week.
In this performance, we see the balance of what Anthony C does. There are reflective songs like “Black Tears” — written in 2020 in response to police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor — and “Good Enough” — a soulful R&B anthem about insecurity, faith, and the drive to be the best person one can be. We also get hype tracks, like the nimble opener “Mindset (feat. Summer Ashley)” and the propulsive closer “We Outside.”
Watch the set below, hear more from Anthony C at his Soundcloud, and see him live this Saturday; he’s back at The Sound Bank for one of the venue’s final shows before closing, and it’s a huge Rex Manning Day celebration to benefit the youth environmental education and organic gardening nonprofit Trellis For Tomorrow. Details can be found here.