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With the release of the Home EP, Grace Blackford takes the best parts of some classic genres to breed a sound familiar, but her own. Lush with addicting progressions, a classic jazz vocal approach, and plenty of pop undertones, the record boasts the aesthetic of neo-soul anthems. The first single, “Darkness", pulls you in with its infectious vintage soul vibe, followed by its emotionally driven vocals and its ability to build and breathe as it plays on. “'Darkness' is about the natural doubts and confusion that can arise in a long-term relationship. It also plays with the guilt that often accompany these doubts that might arise; 'How do you know what you’re doing? How do you know if it’s real?' Committing to someone is a deliberate choice that will naturally come with what-ifs, just like any big decision, and this song explores those feelings. ” explains the songwriter of her single. Although the single does speak volumes for the EP, to get a real understanding for where Blackford is coming from, it should be heard in its entirety. “I think its revealed to me that I do not fit in just one genre, and every song I write is a cross between so many genres; jazz, r&b, pop. This realization is cool but also inspires me to see what could happen if I hone it in and focus on one genre, or even try to mix them more intentionally. These songs evolved very organically. Hearing them back has definitely given me ideas for what I want to work on in the future, which I think will cause my sound to mature.” says Blackford of creating the record. Born and raised in Ohio to a musical family, Grace Blackford has always loved music, but she knew she had to learn more about it to truly master her craft. After taking a trip to Chicago with her mother during her high school years, she fell in love with the city fairly quickly and ended up attending a liberal arts school near Chicago to study Jazz. During her time in college she made valuable musical connections, including the very musicians featured on her EP, along with others that taught her about bravery and musicality. The Home EP is a testament to where she is at with her sound right now. Having performed at some classic venues like The Elbo Room, Cafe Mustache, Northbar, and more, Grace is certainly not new to spreading the music through live performance.
Morgan Pirtle is a versatile vocalist, composer, and arranger in Chicago. As a student of jazz, her music is influenced by the genre, but also resonates with pop, soul, and R&B. She studied at UIC with vocalist Cheryl Wilson and previously has worked with artists such as Rufus Reid, Sheila Jordan, Jon Faddis, Jay Clayton, Dee Alexander, Jennifer Barnes, and Greg Jasperse. You can find her performing all over Chicago-land, including such venues and events as the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, Chicago Summer Dance, The Shedd Aquarium's Jazzin' at the Shedd series, Schubas, the Jazz Showcase, the Promontory, Emporium, and more. She recently made her debut at the 40th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival with her group Morgan Pirtle + 5. In 2018, she was named a Luminarts Fellow in Jazz, won the People's Choice Award at the Luminarts 2018 Jazz Finals, and was named Outstanding Undergraduate Vocalist in the 2018 DownBeat Student Music Awards. Her debut EP, “Muse” will be released in February 2019.
Cassidy Rae is a Rockford raised and Chicago based artist. Singing since the age of 5, Cassidy studied classical voice in college where she developed her craft, infused with R&B and soul. With every set, she now yearns to speak to all through every song, cover or original.