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Sled Island presents: McKinley Dixon, Sinzere, B*les & the Suede

Sled Island presents: McKinley Dixon, Sinzere, B*les & the Suede
Friday, May 10, 2019

Sled Island Presents McKinley Dixon (Richmond, Virginia), Sinzere and B*les & the Suede

Where: Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club
109 7 Avenue S.W Calgary
18+ with government issued identification
When: Friday May 10th, 2019
Doors: 9:00pm
Admission: $10.00 Advance Available at https://slothrecords.wordpress.com/ or www.myshowpass.com

Mckinley Dixon (Richmond, Virginia)
In his forthcoming album, The Importance of Self Belief, Richmond rap/jazz musician McKinley Dixon broadens the scope of the challenging subject matter and sentimental dialogue indicative of his prior album, Who Taught You To Hate Yourself?. With an ensemble of gifted jazz musicians and an arsenal of talented collaborators, Dixon brings new perspectives, experiences, and crucial conversations to his captivating narrative.

These albums follow the story of a young, Black man who, after witnessing a drive-by, is confronted with the grim realities of the sociopolitical atmosphere and class struggle around him. “The first [album] is the boy sees a drive by in his neighborhood and starts reflection and seeing things: racism, police brutality, gang violence, what is okay what is not okay,”

The sophomore album in what is to be a trilogy, The Importance of Self-Belief, does not have an official release date yet, but Dixon said it continues the storyline of Who Taught while taking up issues that didn’t come up in the preceding album. It focuses more on Dixon’s conversations with trans people, femme people, and black women.

“The flaw about Who Taught You To Hate Yourself is it didn’t talk about women/femm people enough,” he said. “There’s a line – it’s not my story to tell so I try to portray it as lightly as I can while definitely jumping to the issues and that’s not something I expected to do with Who Taught You to Hate Yourself. I was just thinking about Black issues. Now with this one, I realize without femme people, without specifically Black femme people, there’s nothing – there’s nothing without women.“

The Importance of Self-Belief progresses the narrative of personal growth and identity established in Who Taught. In the upcoming album, Dixon parts from traditions of the familiar “coming of age” trope to create a coming of age story that is bigger than the focal character himself.

The lens, which focused on the young man who witnessed the drive-by in the last record, is now shifted to be more so from his perceptive, accounting for the depth and influence of femme figures and the characters own conceptualizations of race and gender.

“This one includes more concepts of femininity, maternity, and masculinity in how it is seen through the Black male subject,” said Dixon. “I decided to talk more in celebration of women and femme figures in my life and how, even at the base of this world that I created that is loosely based off things that I’ve experience, it’s still the Black mom who is the main figure.”

“The drive-by is the fictional story,” said Dixon. “But the experiences of going through stages of questioning, experience of losing loved ones and friends to different things, and being in different environments that force you to do different things are all based on things that I’ve experienced or things that loved ones close to me have experienced.”

Dixon said that there is much he has learned between the two albums regarding the importance of visibility of marginalized people, motivating much of The Importance of Self-Belief’s content.

“Trans rights are something that we need to talk about and how trans rights are human rights. We need to discuss these things. Or the murder rate for Black trans women,” he said. “These issues that face and surround Black people, my brothers and sisters [and family], but how nobody is talking about them in the community and out of the community.”

Both albums have featured a significant collaborative effort. Dixon worked with producer Onirologia on each. Both albums also feature a number of guest artists. The indie fusion outfit Vanilla Summit return to collaborate on the forthcoming album as well.

And of course, Dixon’s band of adroit jazz musicians lights up each song, on and off the record. Dixon began making music hardly three years ago as a college Freshmen. He recruited most of his band through VCU’s jazz program, and they have been growing together since.

“They’re all incredible and you can hear the maturity from Who Taught You To Hate Yourself? to the new stuff,” said Dixon.

Live performances give an especially electrifying experience. The chemistry between the band is infectious and necessary for the improvisational style. Dixon notes that the pleasure in playing with seasoned jazz musicians is his own anticipation for what he might hear. “Every solo is different,” he said. “Every time is different.” - https://rvamag.com


From Biggie to Toni Braxton, Sinzere’s influences are varied, explaining why demolishing different beats seems effortless to her. She switches comfortably between silky flows and poetically-punchy bars to singing like R&B was her full-time gig. Sinzere doesn’t need any features to carry a track—they’d probably just block her shine, anyway. - https://www.sledisland.com

Posers—we all know at least a couple, especially in the era when flexing for the 'gram is commonplace (#bowwowchallenge anyone?). But Calgary's Sinzere is here to let us all know that she isn't standing for it with her new single, "Posers."

The record features Sinzere flexing her lyrical chops and her melodic flows atop a heavy bassline, while delivering a deeper message about her need for keeping it real: "On this record I address people who habitually act like something they’re not," Sinzere tells us by email, "while expressing my need for authenticity." Sounds like this is exactly the kind of anthem we need in this day and age. - https://www.complex.com/music/2019/01/sinzere-posers-single


B*les & the Suede
Flirtatious in nature, rudeboy B*les (pronounced ‘be-less’) is a playful, cheeky r&b singer. Drawing inspiration from artists such as D’Angelo, Frank Sinatra, Lauryn Hill, and Anderson Paak, love lyrics and heartbreaks are his sustenance and recreation.
Accompanied by his band, B*les & The Suede are a party wrecking crew, traversing through r&b, soul and hip-hop. This smooth ensemble unifies its style with a heavy emphasis on sultry groove.


*This event takes place on the territory of the Blackfoot and the people of Treaty 7 Region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Siksika, the Piikuni, the Kainai, the Tsuu T'ina and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations. Calgary is also home to the Metis Nation of Alberta, Region III.

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