Robby Krieger, Talib Kweli, and More Unite at Give A Note + Artist For Artist During SXSW

Written by Silke Jasso

Videos by American Songwriter

SXSW in Austin Texas had quite a lineup of musicians eager to show their fans some of their work. During this year’s Give A Note + Artist For Artist, American Songwriter, along with sponsors Give a Note Foundation, Uncle Nearest, Duravo, Boozy Bites, and Artist for Artist brought together a wonderful lineup of talent.

Artists included the spectacular Robbby Krieger of The Doors, who surprised the crowd with actor Denis Quaid, bringing him on stage. Safe to say they brought in a great crowd, as people sang along with them. Other acts included Talib Kweli, Bartees, Strange, Tribe Friday, Revenge Wife, and Christian Crosby

The show brought an eclectic mix of legendary and breakthrough talent in order to celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion in music education. 

American Songwriter caught up with some of the talent, who spoke about their journey as musicians and their experience participating in SXSW. 

Speaking with Tribe Friday, the band, who is from Sweden, revealed their excitement about playing for a crowd in the United States. “It’s been really great, we just flew in New York and honestly it’s a lot more chill here. We’re really enjoying ourselves,” the band says.

As far as performing at SXSW instead of a regular show, Tribe Friday notes that it can be hectic at times due to the fast-paced environment, but that’s what keeps them on their toes. “It’s wild, we had basically 10 minutes of changeover so it was stressful,” the band tells American Songwriter. “But the crowd was great, we literally had people moshing…in Austin of all places. Our fans are really cool, they always dance and sing along with us.”

Bartees Strange also spoke about performing at SXSW as opposed to a regular show, saying that at times it is challenging, but fun since people get to discover his music in a different way.

“The tour is cool because people are coming because they know you and the festivals are challenging because you have to prove it,” he says. “I’m okay with that though, I’m a naturally competitive person. A lot of times you walk off stage and you’re like, ‘Darn, we didn’t win’ but then you see all the messages after and you’re like, ‘Oh it’s way better than I thought.’ That’s the thing that is the most affirming and encouraging. No matter how you feel like you did, you never know how it’s hitting people in real life. That’s the amazing part of it.”

Strange has quite a unique voice, blending genres to produce soulful music with a touch of jazz and R&B, which allows him to stand out. Revealing that he found his voice after “growing up” physically and emotionally, he was able to understand what to focus on and what to produce for the public.

“I just got older and got sick of trying to do what I thought people wanted to hear,” he shares. “I felt like that was the theme of my life, I had always been trying to do what I thought people wanted to see me do. When I started doing my own thing, I was like, ‘Well this is mine, I wanna do whatever I want to do.’ I rather go down swinging doing that.”

He continues, “I always think, ‘How do you wanna lose? Do you wanna lose being what other people want you to be or do you want to lose doing your own thing? I would rather lose doing what I want to do.” 

Strange is a man of many wonders being his own producer while also writing his own content and creating a diverse sound. The singer says he prioritizes his music by understanding what he is feeling inside and writing about what is around him at that moment. 

“One day I was like, ‘I really have to learn how to do this [produce] content myself if I’m ever going to make anything that I’m hearing in my head,’” Strange says. “At first, I didn’t know the language, so I was a fish out of water. So ten years ago I really started going deep on the recording and picked up the skills. There I made my first record and said, ‘That’s what I want to make.’ Then I kept going.

“Now, I still produce most of my stuff, but I do have a long list of collaborators and people that are always involved,” he adds. “I never do anything alone, it’s a little bit of a balance.”

.Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

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