Noname (born Fatimah Warner) is an American artist from Chicago, Illinois, who blurs the lines of poetry and rap through the music she creates.
Noname grew up in Bronzeville, a historic neighborhood on the southside of Chicago that famously attracted accomplished black artists and intellectuals of all types. Noname first discovered her love for words while taking a creative writing class as a sophmore in high school.
She became enamored with poetry and spoken word, pouring over Def Poetry Jam clips on YouTube and attending open mics around the city. Noname regularly attended and performed at an open mic at Harold Washington Library,YouMedia's Lyricist Loft.
After sessions at YouMedia, Noname would participate in cyphers and started getting into freestyling. When she was just a senior in high school, she placed third in "Louder Than A Bomb", a poetry competition with 120 Chicago high schools in participation. She remained connected with the artists she met at YouMedia and in 2013, her verse on Chance the Rappers "Lost" attracted the beginning of her large fan base, most of whom have been following her every move since.
On July 31st, Noname released her debut project entitled Telefone which was 3 years in the making and highly anticipated by fans and media alike. The project instantly gained critical acclaim, with a rave review in Pitchfork and praise from major outlets like Rolling Stone, Complex, and Dazed & Confused. Noname has been hailed by The FADER, Complex, and Rolling Stone as one of the most exciting and important new artists of 2016.
Thanks to Telefone's success, Noname played some shows in support of Ms. Lauryn Hill, who handpicked Noname to open for her on tour. When first approaching the project, Noname set out to emulate the feeling of talking on the phone with someone for the first time. She describes Telefone as "an introductory conversation with someone you're interested in". But as Noname continued to work on the tape, it also transitioned a bit into mortality: the idea of life and death and the duality between those two things.
It’s hard to believe that someone so young could be bursting with so much talent; but listen to Ravyn Lenae and you’ll quickly realize that age is truly just a number. At 17 years old, the classically trained singer/songwriter is taking the music world by storm with her inimitable style, which seamlessly melds elements of R&B, Electronic, Soul and Hip-Hop. As Pitchfork declared, “She roars. She soars. She has the right.”
Born and raised on Chicago’s often turbulent south side, Lenae is part of “Zero Fatigue,” a local music collective that boasts artists like Smino and Jean Deaux, as well as producer, Monte Booker. In early 2015, Lenae released her single, “Greetings,” which quickly became a household favorite in the Chicago area and beyond. Soon after, she signed with renowned Chicago-based record label, Three Twenty Three Music Group.
In August of 2015, Lenae released her highly acclaimed debut EP, Moon Shoes, which premiered on Fake Shore Drive and My Mixtapes and has well over two million plays on SoundCloud. Hypetrak appropriately described the EP as a “combination of entrancing vocals, control over creative cadences and superb writing, and noted that Lenae demonstrates an “incredible collection of skills that many singers work a lifetime on perfecting.” After the success of Moon Shoes, Lenae was named Verizon’s Big Break Artist on WGCI in Chicago, as well as one of BBC Radio’s New Names of 2016. To date, Lenae has performed all over the country, including headlining appearances at Chicago’s African Fest and at House of Blues Chicago.
Given her remarkable ability to blend genres, it’s no surprise that Lenae has been influenced by a wide variety of artists, from Stereolab and Outkast to Bob Marley and Ella Fitzgerald. “I tend to take small bits and pieces from my favorite artist, and incorporate them into my own work,” shares Lenae. And, maybe that’s why some of her favorites - like Erykah Badu and NAS - are now reaching out as dedicated fans of Lenae.
With a lifetime ahead of her, fans can look forward to a whole lot more from Ravyn Lenae. “I plan to touch as many people with my music as I possibly can,” says Lenae. “And, I can’t wait to learn more about the world and about myself. I know I still have to tap into my full potential, and discover the true Ravyn Lenae.”
Akenya Seymour is a 23-year-old multi-genre singer, pianist, composer, and arranger who is pursuing her dream of becoming a professional musician. Although she has been singing and surrounded by music her entire life, her musical journey truly began at age 13 when she was accepted into the Chicago Academy for the Arts; a high school devoted to nurturing the talent of young artists. It was at this time that Akenya discovered her passion and flair for jazz. During her high school career, she performed in some of Chicago's most popular festivals, such as The Pearl Fest and Taste of Chicago, and on some of the city's most accredited stages and venues including the Millennium Park Pritzker Pavilion, The Cultural Center, Fitzgerald's, The Daley Plaza, The Jazz Showcase, and the White Sox US Cellular Field.
In the fall of 2010, she embarked upon her journey at New England Conservatory of Music (NEC). During her time at NEC, Seymour performed regularly at all of the school's concert halls, including the world renowned Jordan Hall. In addition to her musical accomplishments, she contributed to her school by founding and directing a benefit concert, a scholarship, and organizing several concerts, lectures, and outreach initiatives as president of NEC's African-American Student Union. She finished her Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Vocal Performance with Academic Honors in May of 2014.
In the jazz world, Akenya has worked with and performed for the likes of Fred Hersch, Jason Moran, Dave Holland, Vijay Iyer, Esperanza Spalding, Theo Bleckmann and Luciana Souza, to name just a few. She is also well known in the Chicago hip-hop and r&b scenes, and has collaborated with some of the city's latest, leading artists including Chance the Rapper, Noname Gypsy, Mick Jenkins, Alex Wiley, Donnie Trumpet, Eryn Allen Kane, and The O'My's. Akenya is currently working on a full LP as a follow up to her debut EP, Overcome, which was released in 2010. This new album will feature mostly originals, along with a few re-workings of standards, and will explore many sounds and genres, placing heavy emphasis on the roots of jazz, hip-hop, soul, funk, world music, and pop.