Tracks Music Library, a streaming platform for local music, recently released "Tracks in the Stacks," a mini online concert and interview series that highlights three up-and-coming artists.
Filmed in the Chapel Hill Public Library, the series focuses on the music of A.yoni Jeffries, XOXOK and Austin Royale, as well as interviews in which they discuss their personal lives and experiences.
Melissa Bartoletta, the staff lead of the series and marketing and communications coordinator for the Town of Chapel Hill, said the idea began as a way for the public to continue to support and recognize the wealth of talent in the community during the pandemic.
The funds allocated for in-person events were redirected to the series as well as another project, Bartoletta said.
In collaboration with the Chapel Hill Public Library, Chapel Hill Community Arts and Culture filmed this intimate concert within the stacks of books in the library. Many of the artists’ interviews focus on what books inspired their music.
Kevin “Rowdy” Rowsey, the host and producer of "Tracks in the Stacks," said that when selecting the featured artists, he looked for those who represented a semi-professional level of musicianship — artists who were ready to take it to the next level.
“I also really wanted to have musicians that didn’t necessarily have a specific genre attached to them,” Rowsey said. “I wanted artists that were kind of fluid.”
Each performer has a unique sound.
Rowsey said Jeffries started her concert with a prayer that incorporated traditional drum and guitar, but by the end, she was rapping.
“Austin Royale is a total fusion of rock, hip-hop," Bartoletta said. "It's wild. It is punk. It is so cool. And XOXOK is this really romantic jazz — it is just elegant and gorgeous.”
After performing a set of songs, each artist sat down for an interview with Rowsey and discussed who they are and what inspires them.
Rowsey said the audience learns interesting facts about each artist during the interviews. For example, XOXOK has a doctoral degree and utilizes his skill set to master music, and Jeffries runs her own farm on native land, he said.
Molly Luby, the project manager of "Tracks in the Stacks," said Tracks hopes to produce more episodes in the future, whether it’s in the library or somewhere on the UNC campus.
“Part of what I love about Tracks in general is to get to know these musicians and these creative people and to see how their brains work,” Luby said. “It’s just incredible. I’m so impressed.”
The "Tracks in the Stacks" video series can be viewed on the Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture website here.
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