"Here comes a stunning new Brooklyn artist I had never heard of before this week and I can't wait to share with you...I hope he's going to make an awful lot more music." - BBC 6 Music
"Fusilier could change R&B, soul & funk in the same way The Weekend did at the start of the decade." — TheRevue.ca
"You're black and gay. How does it feel to have two things wrong with you?" That question hit hard when it was directed at Blake Fusilier two years ago, after a show by his former rock band.
Fusilier grew up in Atlanta during the heights of hot local labels like LaFace and SoSoDef. As a teenager, he picked up the violin with hopes of playing as well as Itzhak Pearlman while guarding his love of Georgia natives Goodie Mob. An interest in having a way with words would lead him to quietly brood over Edgar Allen Poe while a vocal community pride in neighborhoods like Decatur, or Stone Mountain, became the backdrop for his day-to-day life.
Says Fusilier: "One day someone asked if I could freestyle. As I nervously tried to explain to the 13-year-old that I like to take my time with my words, I was cut off-- 'Oh, so you're retarded?' That's when I started writing music."
Eventually, he put down the violin and moved to Boston for college where he became part of a loud, moody rock band called RIBS. In various basements and eventually on bigger stages, opening for the Joy Formidable and Queens of the Stone Age, they became one of the most popular bands in the local scene.
But at the moment of that band's greatest success someone asked him that question about being black and gay. Realizing how tiring it was to run away from the world's biased perceptions, Fusilier began making a body of the music that would make that question irrelevant and drain it of its power.
Some final thoughts from Fusilier: "I have this theory that if people knew who we really were in their minds, we probably would all have a lot more respect for one another. This applies to everyone: friends and acquaintances and bandmates. I think it's our duty to ourselves to make sure that those around us have a chance to allow others to see our glorious, true selves. I finally feel like I'm beginning to live by those words. The songs I'm wrapping up have been floating around for years. I had been anticipating the moment when people could actually hear even 20 seconds of my potential."