Following his electrifying sold-out show with Soulectric at Melbourne Recital Centre, we caught up with musician and co-founder of the Melbourne-based arts organisation Yo CiTY, Percy Dube, to dive into some of the driving forces behind his music.
Can you share some of the inspirations behind your recent concert, I Was Born This Way?
The inspiration behind I Was Born This Way can be traced back to a rich tapestry of influences. It is deeply rooted in my heritage, acknowledging the diverse cultural and musical backgrounds that have shaped my artistic identity. My family, with their unconditional support and guidance, has played a pivotal role in nurturing my talent and passion, and my friends have also contributed to my artistic journey, providing encouragement and camaraderie.
Ultimately, love emerges as a powerful force, influencing the music and lyrics and driving me to explore and express my true self, and this performance encapsulates the interconnectedness of personal experiences and artistic creation.
What would you like audiences to take away from I Was Born This Way?
Through the performance of I Was Born This Way, I want audiences to feel empowered and inspired to embrace their true authentic selves. I want them to recognize that our differences should be celebrated and cherished as contributions to the vibrant tapestry of humanity.
This performance is a reminder that we are all born with inherent worth and value, regardless of societal expectations or norms, and I hope it encourages individuals to break free from the shackles of judgment and fully embrace their true essence of being human, unapologetically. I want listeners to feel a sense of pride in who they are and to be motivated to create a world where diversity is not only accepted but also celebrated.
Can you tell us what’s next for you in 2024? What are you interested in exploring in the future?
In the very near future, I will be working on my album, which is set to be released in late 2023, but in 2024 I will be focusing on exploring new avenues for artistic expression - particularly in Afro Jazz music – and pushing the boundaries of sound and composition to create immersive sonic experiences.
Collaborating with artists from different disciplines will be a priority for me in 2024, as it allows for the creation of multidimensional performances that blur the lines between art forms, and I will also be refining my skills as a songwriter and producer and continuing to work on some upcoming shows.
Can you reflect on music as a medium for sharing diverse stories and voices?
Music, for me, is an extraordinary medium for sharing diverse stories and voices. It possesses a remarkable ability to transcend the boundaries of language and culture, resonating with people on a deeply emotional level. As an artist, I recognize the immense power of music to express personal experiences, struggles, and triumphs, allowing listeners to connect and empathize with my story. Through my music, I can challenge societal norms, raise awareness, and inspire social change. It becomes my platform to give voice to those who have been marginalized and unheard. By sharing my diverse experiences, I can shed light on pressing issues such as discrimination, inequality, and injustice, and rally people together in the pursuit of a more inclusive and equitable society.
Music has the incredible ability to unite individuals from different backgrounds and foster a sense of solidarity. It bridges gaps and nurtures empathy, promoting understanding between cultures and communities. Exploring various musical styles, genres, and traditions enables me to appreciate the richness and diversity of the world we inhabit.
I firmly believe that music is a universal language, amplifying diverse stories and voices. It serves as a tool for expression, connection, and empowerment, and plays a crucial role in promoting acceptance, understanding, and social progress. Through my music, I strive to contribute to this powerful movement of sharing diverse stories and voices that make a positive impact on society.
Can you share a bit about what Yo CiTY does and where you got the inspiration to found the organisation?
Yo CiTY is a vibrant organization that is dedicated to supporting and uplifting African artists and black musicians in Australia. Our mission is to bridge the gap between these talented individuals and the opportunities that they deserve - both in terms of revenue and career growth.
The inspiration to found Yo CiTY came during the 2020 lockdowns, stemming from recognizing the immense talent and creativity within the African/black music community in Australia, and the unfortunate lack of resources and opportunities available to them. We saw a need to create a platform that not only celebrates their unique artistry but also provides avenues for them to thrive professionally.
One of the key ways that Yo CiTY aims to address this is through music, and we organize various events, concerts, and showcases where African artists and black musicians can showcase their talents and reach wider audiences. These platforms not only provide exposure but also create opportunities for revenue generation through ticket sales, merchandise, and collaborations.
Additionally, Yo CiTY actively works on building networks and partnerships within the music industry, both locally and internationally. We connect these artists with industry professionals, record labels, and other key players who can provide guidance, mentorship, and career opportunities. Through this, we aim to empower African artists and black musicians to take their careers to new heights, while also fostering diversity and inclusivity within the Australian music scene. Yo CiTY is fuelled by the belief that everyone deserves equal opportunities to thrive and succeed, and we are committed to creating a supportive and nurturing environment where their talent can shine, and their voices can be heard loud and clear.
For more electric shows from Yo CiTY, don't miss Jarabi Band perform in the Primrose Potter Salon here.