Today, soulful singer, songwriter, musician, and activist Fantastic Negrito (neé Xavier Dphrepaulezz) has released his brand new album Grandfather Courage, a reimagined acoustic version of his acclaimed 2022 album White Jesus Black Problems. He shares, “The incredible story of my seventh generation grandparents was so profound. I reimagined it through the lenses of my touring band. Please check it out unplugged unapologetic reimagined.” The collection has had support spanning Hypebeast, BET, American Songwriter, XLR8R, Consequence, KCRW "Press Play", WBUR, KUT "Song of the Day" and more. The three-time GRAMMY winner is nominated again this year in the "Best American Roots Performance" category for the original version of "Oh Betty".
Part love story, part history lesson and with acclaim spanning Pitchfork to NPR, the multimedia project tells the defiant tale of his seventh generation white Scottish indentured servant grandmother Betty Gallimore who was living in a common law marriage with his seventh generation African-American enslaved grandfather, Grandfather Courage, in the face of the racist, separatist, laws of 1750s colonial Virginia. Fantastic Negrito gives insight into the new collection’s title, “My Grandfather was listed as a man with no name so I felt like I needed to give him his credit and a name, Grandfather Courage. The two formed a forbidden union during the time of slavery in 1750s Virginia. If they can make it, what’s our excuse?”
A larger than life character, Fantastic Negrito’s own story is stranger than fiction. He first released an album in 1996, but a near fatal car crash in 1999 effectively ended the first chapter of his career. It resulted in him spending three weeks in a coma and initially losing almost all movement in his right hand, drastically limiting his ability to play guitar. Effectively reborn under his new artist identity of Fantastic Negrito, his career got underway when his phenomenal, charismatic performance won NPR Music’s prestigious Tiny Desk Concert Contest.
All three of Fantastic Negrito’s previous studio albums have won the GRAMMY Award for Best Contemporary Blues album: The Last Days of Oakland, Please Don’t Be Dead and Have You Lost Your Mind Yet?. He has toured with artists as varied as Sturgill Simpson and Chris Cornell, collaborated with Sting and E-40, launched his own Storefront Records label, and founded the Revolution Plantation, an urban farm aimed at youth education and empowerment. He is also confirmed for several film screenings w/ performances and to play a show in Italy in March 2023 as guest to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Full list of live appearances here.