Kayla Rae (from Kayla Rae’s Facebook page)

By Padideh Aghanoury, Kori Hazel and Camila Biddulph, 303 Magazine | Right now is a time of reckoning in this country in regards to police brutality against Black people. Anti-blackness and racism are unfortunately deeply pervasive corners of American culture, and the music industry is no exception. In a small effort to help rectify that glaring disparity, as well as elevate Black musicians and DJs, here is a list of some of Denver’s most talented Black musicians.

Brionne Aigné
Smooth, emotionally charged R&B from local singer Brionne Aigné explores heavy topics like police brutality in her music with lyrics like, “It’s open season on our black men.” Recently featured on NPR and BET, keep your eyes on her because she’s about to blow up.

The multi-cultural Ramakhandra is a cosmic jazz quartet that rips apart any and all conceptions with their boundless music. With an instrumental complexity that underscores the sheer talents of this group, it’s fair to suggest that no one else comes close to making this music in Denver — nor should they try. With Ramakhandra, you’re witnessing true artistry in motion.

Kayla Rae
Kayla Rae emerged in 2018 and took on the local music scene. She has created quite the local and national following after her breakout single “Practice” got her on KS107.5’s Summer Jam where she opened for Rae Sremmurd and Wiz Khalifa. She just recently released her newest single “Someone New”…

Brothers of Brass
Brothers of Brass are a rambunctious, rhythmic jazz ensemble comprised of musicians hailing from all over the country, from Louisiana to California. Forming an impromptu marching band and joining the protests downtown, Brothers of Brass’ music is uplifting, driving and percussive — a perfect pick-me-up while facing and combatting a somber reality.

Kayla Marque
Kayla Marque is a staple member of the local music community and a vocal activist for Black musicians. An incredible vocalist and musician, Marque has also been a trailblazer for the advancement of music video visuals in the Denver community, working with visual artists and talented videographers to create an all-encompassing media experience with her music. Check out Marque’s latest single, “Think You Are” [in the full article].
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Wellington Bullings
With vocals that conjure a likeness to that of Corinne Bailey Rae and a style that resembles Sade, Wellington Bullings offers the throwback sound of timelessly sophisticated R&B/pop. It doesn’t take long to imagine yourself in a cafe being serenaded by the chanteuse — the romance alone is intoxicating.
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Mandy Groves
You may have seen Mandy Groves alongside Peyton Manning in a recent American Financing commercial, but acting is only one of her many strengths. This woman’s singing and dancing abilities are just as good as her acting chops, demonstrated by her effortlessly identifiable voice and woozy pop productions courtesy of Denver producer Shinu.
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Black voices in America have been silenced for far too long, and supporting and elevating black artists is only a small step in the right direction. There are many steps you can take in order to advocate for the Black community on a more fundamental level. Consider calling local politicians or donating to any of these organizations and funds. Check-in on your Black friends and see how they’re doing. Join the protests if you are able to do so. If you are not Black, reflect on your own actions and how they may contribute to the silencing or erasure of black identity in this country. But most importantly, recognize that so much of today’s art, music and media has been gifted to the world by Black creators, and celebrate Black culture.

Padideh Aghanoury
Padideh is a Colorado native and writes about music for 303 Magazine, as well as a number of other publications. Her musical preferences are diverse, ranging from hip-hop to no-wave and post-punk — and, of course, all sorts of electronic music. When she’s not busy writing about music, Padideh likes to DJ and paint what has been described as “eyeball art.”

Go here to read the full article, to listen to their songs and to watch their videos:

Our thanks to Doug Bohm for alerting us to this article!
Doug Bohm in Facebook’s Colorado Original Band Community: Great works by strong artists that have a hard time getting gigs in some venues. Not trying to be “controversial,” it’s just a reality of the Denver venues that the overwhelming majority are owned by whites and largely males so they overlook upcoming artists and choose to cater to a predominately white, middle of the road demographic. We all can do better.

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