Los Angeles, CA (August 7th, 2019) – Award-winning vocalist Mykal Kilgore is set to release his debut album, A Man Born Black, via Affective Music on September 6, 2019. This inaugural release is an exploration of Black life, wrapped in a mix of classic soul and R&B sonic exterior, and delivered through Kilgore’s expressive songwriting and vocal abilities. Although the album is Kilgore’s debut solo effort, more than likely, it is not the first time you have heard his voice. Kilgore has stolen the hearts of music lovers everywhere through his work on the Broadway stage (Motown the Musical, Book of Mormon, Hair), his notable performance as part of NBC’s The Wiz Live! and Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, and his viral video “Reclaiming My Time” inspired by Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
On A Man Born Black, Mykal wields his expertise as a multifaceted performer and songwriter to steal hearts yet again, as he masterfully tells the story of a man navigating American life – an experience Kilgore himself embodies. “I tried to write songs that helped express the truth of myself -- the pretty and the ugly. I wanted people to see a whole human being, not a stereotype or a picture-perfect image – something true to myself. I wanted to speak about the world that I actually live in,” says Kilgore.
Recorded in New Orleans, one of the music capitals of the world, A Man Born Black brings together poetry and sound to deliver a very personal expression of Mykal’s experiences in life and love – including heartbreak. The ten-song album, written entirely by Mykal Kilgore (“Let Me Go” was co-written by Greg Dean Borowsky), features an equally masterful score produced by GRAMMY®-nominated artist and producer Jamison Ross. Deeply rooted in classic soul and R&B, within the DNA of the album lies a rolodex of Black music eras & genres for everyone to enjoy.
Throughout the 10-track body of work Kilgore and Ross invoke inspiration from many architects of R&B and Soul music, from Jackie Wilson and Mavis Staple to Anita Baker and Sade. You can hear the musical trace of Stevie Wonder on the melodically nocturnal track, “My Heart,” as Mykal laments “you gave me all you got but still I’m wanting more.” On the four-on-the-floor toe-tapper, “Are We Back Together Yet?,” you are reminded of the soul and grit of Al Green as Mykal begs, “take me back.” In addition to soul and R&B, Kilgore and Ross employ sounds from a myriad of other genres resulting in a sound that basks in unadulterated Blackness, as implied by the title. This wall of sound includes 70’s Fela Kuti-inspired Afro-beat (“When It’s This Good”), gospel-tinged country (“Let Me Go”), quiet storm (“My Name”), reggae [“Pass Me That (Vaporizer)”], and New Orleans second line (“For Zimmerman”). “All the musical choices completely accentuate and exaggerate a title like A Man Born Black,” says Ross. “Blackness is something that can be easily marginalized in our own community, especially in music. You got gospel, R&B, jazz, country, soul, R&B pop. America’s gift to world is Black music.”
Capping at a concise thirty-two minutes, A Man Born Black does not waste time or the opportunity to present its message. Spread over a gamut of lyrical themes (e.g. life, love, pride, struggle, and purpose), Kilgore’s debut effort finds a way to personalize universal principles of the human experience to that of a Black [American] man. Kilgore writes, “Maybe you know him. Maybe you are him. He’s important and valuable. He’s misunderstood and underestimated. He makes bad decisions. He has good intentions. He’s a human being.” A Man Born Black not only showcases Kilgore’s breadth of impressive and refreshing artistry; it honors Kilgore’s God-given identity (“I’m just a man born Black — I’m not a hero, I’m not a martyr”), as well as, offers those who do not share the same identity the profound opportunity to empathize with other Black-born men like him, through their own life experience.
Complete Track Listing
1. When It’s This Good (4:04)
2. My Heart (3:15)
3. Let Me Go (3:45)
4. Pleading (Let Me Go Reprise) (1:51)
5. My Name (2:48)
6. Pass Me That (Vaporizer) (4:19)
7. Are We Back Together Yet? (4:10)
8. Don’t Kill the Messenger (3:02)
9. For Zimmerman (2:00)
10. God in Me (3:35)