Congratulations to our October Artist of the Month, Ivory Black! A fairly new transplant to Kansas City’s music scene, Black has been honing an identity as a songwriter for years. The budding performer moved to Kansas City from Seattle 6 years ago, and began adapting acoustic songs to include full band arrangements. Black recently assembled a band (consisting of Glen Hockemeier on drums and Keenan Franklin on bass) to fully execute their thoughtful, reflective brand of songs. With the release of their EP Ready Get Set this summer, the songwriter has gained some well-deserved attention locally and beyond.
The Deli: Down and dirty: 1 sentence to describe your music.
Ivory Black: I call it primo alternative, as in, it’s got this easy listening vibe but with upbeat rhythms, making it possible to move to.
The Deli: Give me some info on your musical background. Why did you decide to put a band together?
Black: My story musically is a simple one. I started writing as young as 12 years old when I got my first guitar. I’ve had bands over the years, but performed alone due to the simplicity of my acoustic songwriting. It wasn’t till I moved to KC that I started writing more intricate parts that required other musicians to play them along with me live and in the studio.
The Deli: What inspires your music and songwriting? What is your songwriting process?
Black: Literally everything inspires me artistically. It’s a dice roll of how I’ll write a song, depending on my mood, what I’m thinking or what happened that day or even years before. I don’t believe I’ve ever written a song with the same exact process I did on previous ones.
The Deli: What have been your greatest musical accomplishments?
Black: I’d have to say the greatest achievement so far has been the spike in my writing abilities, as in getting the point across. Listening to songs I wrote so many years ago, it’s mind-blowing to realize how far someone can come from where they first started.
The Deli: Tell us about your latest album Ready Get Set. What can listeners expect? What future plans do you have for recording?
Black: Ready Get Set is a compilation EP that I threw together so everyone that has ever asked has something physical and official of mine that they can finally hold in their hands. The future, however, holds many opportunities! The things I’m working on now, I’m very excited to get out as soon as recording opportunities arise in my favor again.
The Deli: What brought you to KC, and what do you think about the music scene here? Possibly related: what does supporting local music mean to you?
Black: I came to KC to focus primarily on a dream I’ve been chasing since I was little. Music is so influential, and can change people’s lives when they’re open to it. I really wanted to be part of that movement in a positive way. What I’ve found about KC is the abundant acceptance and appreciation that supporters and musicians alike have for local music. This scene isn’t possible without the support to push it forward, and KC is very supportive in that respect.
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now? Non-local?
Black: You develop a sort of kinship, or at least intend to, with people you relate to on an artistic level wherever you go. I’ve been a fan of My Brothers and Sisters for some time and have mad respect for what Jamie Searle has done and is still doing for his band and the community. I recently attended the Macabre KC show and was very entertained with the talent that was there. Calvin Arsenia has always had a spot in my heart, due to his passion in what he does vocal wise and with the harp. Jessica Paige has an incredible talent as well. Amazing voice. Erica Joy is easily a favorite.
Astounding attitude on both ends of the scene; even lesser known musicians I catch at open mics. The passion that people have to share their love for what they do is always inspiring, and of course the songs are as well.
Non-local, I’ve been a big fan of Diane Coffee lately. I don’t follow a lot of music but that artist is on point. I like music with psychedelic vibes in it that bring back the ‘70s and the music I grew up with. You won’t hear that on the EP, and it’s probable in the future, but I like it on other people’s material right now when it’s executed well.
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
Black: To be honest, I think it’s mind-blowing to play with any artist. I’m just starting out, so I’m pretty psyched every chance I get. The big dream of course is to have my name in those big letters on a marquee or something, with some huge band everyone knows about, but right now I’m taking it one step at a time.
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
I kinda like it the way it is though. How about John Lennon? He’s been a huge inspiration to many! Maybe Mick Jagger for some flair. Since we’re going down the road of long-haired rock stars, you gotta have legend Stevie Nicks on there. Fleetwood Mac was a huge inspiration to me on that note. We’ll end it with Jim Morrison, cause you know, when the music’s over…
The Deli: What other goals do you have for 2015 and beyond?
Black: Well, to be frank, all the goals I wanted for this year have been fulfilled! Got the band going, started playing out, and finished the EP. Things went very well this year! It wouldn’t have been possible without my manager, Klaartje, so a big shout out to her. Next year we are banking for building up on our following so we can play places like Knuckleheads Saloon, The Brick, and venturing out to other states with well known venues. Just gotta take little steps at a time.
The Deli: Where can we find you on the web? Also, provide a link to streaming music and/or video.
Black: I ask that everyone checks out my personal site out where everything, including links to my EPK, EP and pictures can be found: www.ivoryblackmusic.com
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
Black: I don’t consider myself wise by any means, but I do know that if you put all of your heart into something good, things tend to have a way of working in favor of those that want it enough.
You can catch Ivory Black in just a couple weeks. Mark your calendars for Saturday, November 28 at The All-Star Rock Bar, with Lauren Karr and Co., and The Accidental Project. Facebook event page.
This Emerging Artist is based in KC,
check out other talented locals we picked
for our KC Artist of the Month poll below!