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Matt B’s “ALKEBULAN” Joyously Flaunts Jewels of African Culture

Like a river, musical genres can ebb and flow together. Artist Matt B delights in this confluence. “I actually didn’t realize just how much my roots impacted my creativity musically until I went on a journey of self discovery with ALKEBULAN,” he explains. “I’ve found so many similarities between African American music and African music, from the percussive elements, to the top lines, to the way harmonies are built out, and the cadence we sing in. It felt right to finally fully embrace it all.” An old flame from his adolescence was soon reignited. Childhood memories danced through his mind. “I fell in love with African music in high school. I always said that I would try to create it one day when the time was right. When the opportunity finally presented itself to do it the right way, I dove right in! Plus, as a child, I never really learned the lyrics of songs. What makes me fall in love with a song is usually the melodies. Afrobeats is a perfect blend of beautiful melodies and upbeat joyful percussive elements. Coming from the world of R&B where things move a little slowly, and is heavily based on riffs and runs, I brought some of those elements into my style of Afrobeats while trying to still keep things authentic!”

ALKEBULAN is a love song to self and culture. “I want this album to speak to the hearts of those on a journey of self discovery. I wanted my audience to listen to the album and inspire them to embrace who they are and find pride in their heritage.” Outfits are another colorful way that Matt B makes his mark. Styling was essential to bring the album to fruition.”Fashion is another facet of art. I tell stories through fashion just as much as I do through music. Clothes can make so many statements about a person before they even speak. That’s why we put so much time and energy into the music videos for this album. We wanted to show a level of authenticity that we knew we could not achieve with the music alone. The visual aspect was very important. Each outfit was a representation of the unique diversity of African culture. From the patterns in the fabrics to the shells in my hair. Even the way the dancers’ faces were painted was a direct representation of different aspects of the culture.” Matt B recognizes that there is a symbiotic relationship between fashion and music. “Fashion was never something that I sought after when expressing myself through art, but over the years as I started to experiment, it grew to become something that I really loved. If music is the life force, then fashion is what oxygenates it.”

His new music video for “OGALA TRAVELER” emphasizes our collective pursuit of meaning. It takes deep contemplation to arrive at a sense of knowing. “I’m hoping to tell a story about someone who is in search of something more and travels the world in hopes of finding purpose. There is a level of solace and solitude that happens in this video as I’m depicted being alone in the vastness of thought. The video is supposed to be a representation of that journey of self-discovery that I’ve been on in both my music and personal life.” Matt B wants his followers to be enveloped in his music through multiple avenues. “At our album release party last year, we set up mannequins to display the various costumes that were worn in the music videos and printed out high quality photos for people to view. We also did quite a few physical copies for those who wanted something more tangible along with a lot of social media, marketing, and behind-the-scenes of how all of this was put together. It’s all about giving the fans an opportunity to fully immerse into my world.” Fans can anticipate new music, more music videos, and more live shows. The party never stops!

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Matt B’s “ALKEBULAN” Joyously Flaunts Jewels of African Culture. Photo Credit: Oscar Veliz and Emma Tickson.

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