17 June, 2022Print
Neoclassical Piano Renegade x Culture Creator BLKBOK Drops ‘BLACK BOOK DLUX’
LISTEN TO ALBUM HERE
WATCH “COOKIE WALTZ” VIDEO HERE
Friday, June 17th - Today neoclassical pianist and Detroit native BLKBOKreleases the deluxe version of his debut album 'Black Book’ via icons+giants. ‘Black Book DLUX’ spans 25 tracks, including 11 poems written and narrated by award-winning Jamaican poet Lauren Delapenha, as well as a standout vocal collaboration with Hamilton’s Tony and Grammy Award-winning Renée Elise Goldsberry on “My Life.” With provocative singles “November 7th, 2020,” “George Floyd and the Struggle for Equality,” and “Michelle’s First Day At The White House,” BLKBOK takes listeners on a musical journey that illustrates the social times that we live in, through the lens of a Black classical composer. While touring the world as a pianist or musical director with the likes of Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, Demi Lovato, Timbaland and John Mayer, BLKBOK spent his private time composing his own original material, music that was inspired by his love of hip-hop and classical music. When the pandemic set in and touring came to a halt, he finalized these personal and reflective compositions, which led to getting signed by icons+giants/WMG and releasing his first body of solo work, ‘Black Book.’
“The writing and recording of these original compositions helped to define my creative process, but almost more importantly enabled me to find my own voice and helped to define what it really means to be BLKBOK. The Black Book album represents me on all fronts: as an artist and composer but also as a person of color devoted to painting cultural moments with sound.” -BLKBOK
‘Black Book DLUX’ is a timely natural extension of BLKBOK’s critically-acclaimed debut as a composer, reflecting on pertinent social issues, with counterpoints, and sustaining a dialogue through thought-provoking pieces. The film ‘Green Book’ served as a cultural inspiration for his album, and the courageous story of pianist/composer Don Shirley, whose trailblazing spirit helped open the door for black classical pianists. BLKBOK offers listeners unique perspectives of the social climate that we live in, pulling inspiration from those who have paved the way and those still forging new paths today. On new single “Kendrick + Karine,” BLKBOK celebrates Black Excellence, inspired by the fact that Kendrick Lamar’s latest album was released on the same day that Karine Jean-Pierre became the first Black and openly LGBTQ+ White House Press Secretary. BLKBOK is no stranger to confronting discriminatory challenges in the world of classical music.
“As a Black classical musician, I have always had to “prove” that I belonged in the room, if I even could get in the room. My Dad understood that there was no equity for a musician of color in the field of classical music and always told me that I had to be ten times better than anyone else in the room, and that in order to be I had to take exceptional risks.” -BLKBOK
Arriving today along with the deluxe album is the “Cookie Waltz” music video. While BLKBOK draws from many personal aspects of his own life, this song is one of the most personal. “Cookie Waltz” pays tribute to his mother, also a musician, who taught him how to waltz as a child and always encouraged him to follow his dreams. BLKBOK comes from a lineage of entertainers, his grandfather is a Memphis Beale street walk of fame recipient, Uncle Robert is a saxophonist with the Count Basie band and his Uncle Rudy was a tap dancer with Gregory Hines.
A true genre disruptor, BLKBOK has gone viral on TikTok with his riveting neoclassical TikTok covers of Cardi B and Kendrick Lamar. On Instagram, he hosts a monthly “What's Goin' On” social series, where he develops new songs related to current cultural milestones and events, and offers an open forum for fans to share their feelings and discuss social issues. BLKBOK also took his talents to outer space when he recently performed a duet of his single “STARS (AD ASTRA)” with Commander Michael López-Alegría. This marked the first time an Astronaut in orbit has ever performed a piano duet with a musician who was back on earth.
Following recent performances at MoMA’s Black Arts Council Benefit in NYC, and the NAMM convention in Anaheim, BLKBOK is taking his talents to The Juneteenth Foundation's Freedom Festival in Washington DC this weekend.
Stay tuned for more to come from BLKBOK.
‘Black Book DLUX’ Tracklist
- (Poem) November 7th, 2020 ft. Lauden Delapenha
- November 7th, 2020 Ft. Lauden Delapenha
- (Poem) I Made Her Breakfast ft. Lauden Delapenha
- I Made Her Breakfast
- (Poem) The Hustle is Real ft. Lauden Delapenha
- The Hustle is Real
- (Poem) I See You ft. Lauden Delapenha
- I See You
- (Poem) Cookie Waltz ft. Lauden Delapenha
- Cookie Waltz
- (Poem) In Memory of… ft. Lauden Delapenha
- In Memory Of…
- (Poem) Michelle’s First Day at the White House ft. Lauden Delapenha
- Michelle’s First Day at the White House
- (Poem) George Floyd and the Struggle for Equality ft. Lauden Delapenha
- George Floyd and the Struggle for Equality
- (Poem) Amalia’s Ocean ft. Lauden Delapenha
- Amalia’s Ocean
- (Poem) The King’s New Drip ft. Lauden Delapenha
- The King’s New Drip
- (Poem) Communication ft. Lauden Delapenha
- My Life (feat. Renée Elise Goldsberry)
- Forgotten Girls
- Kendrick + Karine