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The Black Opry Residency on World Cafe

World Cafe producers WXPN created an artist development residency with musicians who are part of the Black Opry, an organization that advocates for Black artists in country and Americana music. During a week in Philadelphia, five musicians — Tylar Bryant, Grace Givertz, Denitia, Samantha Rise, and twin brothers Derek and Brandon Campell, known as The Kenucky Gentlemen — gathered to perform, and talk about their careers as well as the personal and professional challenges they’ve met as they build their careers and their community. You can listen to their stories in a World Cafe special via the player above.

The cohort performed in front of a live audience in Philly during the weeklong program, which was created to help Black country, folk and Americana artists build sustainable careers and broaden their audiences. Watch their live performances below and learn more about each of these rising artists in this special episode of World Cafe.

Tylar Bryant

A former MMA fighter, Tylar Bryant changed his career path to pursue a passion that caught him completely by surprise. He laid down his gloves to pick up a songwriter’s pen and a guitar. In a courageous leap of faith to chase his dream, he moved to Nashville in 2019. Tylar grew up listening to an array of music from rap to the tunes that echoed in the background at his grand mom’s home, and his music marries modern and traditional country sounds with rock and R&B grooves for an added twist.

Known for his charismatic stage presence and electric live performances, the Texas native prides himself in his authenticity and ability to infuse a mix of styles and sounds — and has been influenced by some of country music’s greatest voices and performers, including Charlie Pride, Jim Reeves, Randy Travis and Chris Young.

Tylar Bryant - "That Ain't Me" (Recorded Live for World Cafe)

Samantha Rise

Samantha Rise is a graduate of Temple University’s jazz program and a dedicated student of Philadelphia’s musical history. Samantha says their musical education is inextricably bound to legacies of radical Black feminist leadership and liberatory imagination. Their songwriting is a trans-genre practice, drawing on a wide root system of traditional Black American music, from jazz, folk, country and avant-garde, and drawn up through their experiences between urban and high desert wilderness. Rise’s debut musical release, Brighter Days, landed in four installments in 2019.

Samantha Rise - "How Goes Love" (Recorded Live for World Cafe)

The Kentucky Gentlemen

In both music and life, Brandon and Derek Campbell have been nearly inseparable since birth. The 27-year-old twins from Versailles, Ky., got their first public singing experience in a church choir, but when they weren’t learning gospel songs, they were foregoing their classical piano practice time to perform to keyboard beats with their older brother.

The Kentucky Gentlemen know sharing their more serious personal experiences is just as important as showcasing their fun side.

“We hope people see these two guys who just keep showing up as themselves,” says Derek. “We understand the importance of where we’re going and what that means to people like us. We want to be the same folks that we wish we had always gotten to see on the main stage.”

The Kentucky Gentlemen - "Ran in the Family" (Recorded Live for World Cafe)

Grace Givertz

Born and raised in Jupiter, Fla., Grace Givertz has been writing songs and performing since she was 11 years old.

Grace turned her wit to grit when she released her independent record, Year of the Horse, in 2019. Featuring guitar, banjo, mandolin and harmonica, Year of the Horse showcases Grace’s ability to turn lemons into lemonade. She writes openly about living with chronic illness and how it has affected every aspect of her life, turning tragedy into a triumphant debut. Grace is recording her sophomore album, which will exclusively feature musicians and collaborators from BIPOC, LGBTQ and disabled communities.

Grace Givertz - "Father's Daughter" (Recorded Live for World Cafe)

Denitia

Denitia is a singer-songwriter who exemplifies American cultural enlightenment. Born and raised outside Houston, Denitia’s southern heritage forms a canvas for her evolving musical portrait. As a child, she performed in church choirs and taught herself to play piano and guitar from her family’s trailer in the woods. She carried those experiences with her as she made her way around the country, moving to Nashville for college and Brooklyn thereafter.

Denitia’s portfolio of work reveals melodic stories spanning states, cities and times. Fusing elements of country, folk and rock, Denitia establishes a newfound American utopia, ongoing and indefinite, uplifted by wistful vocals and the chimes of a tambourine. With her songs as mantras, Denitia aims to reimagine what it means to be home.

Denitia - "All the Sweet Tea" (Recorded Live for World Cafe)
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