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An Interview with MYSELF

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I was awarded the opportunity to interview MYSELF, a New Orleans born, New York based musician whose album Protest in Disguise will be released June 26, 2007.

Why did you name your upcoming album Protest in Disguise?

The album is titled Protest in Disguise because the lyrics are subliminal. You feel the music and the beats but slowly the lyrics sink in. At the same time, the listener is still given enough room to interpret the lyrics for themselves.

What kind of topics do you cover in your album?

The lyrics on this album will cover things like Iraq and the oil industry. There is a song named “Nina” dedicated to Nina Simone. And I have a song dedicated to Black women. 

Is Protest in Disguise a hip hop album?

Protest in Disguise is not genre specific. It has a little bit of jazz, hip-hop, folk music, rock and roll and it has a social conscience.

With the radio waves being saturated with gangsta rap and hip hop music, which only touches on sex and money, do you think your music will catch on?

Of course, hip-hop and rap were originally intended to teach. It wasn’t until corporate America became involved that only certain types of music was presented, marketed, and sold in America. I’m just trying reaching into the past in order to propel hip-hop and rap forward. Hip-hop has to change and grow in order to be able to survive. If it doesn’t change it will surely die. America is ready. We’re awakening. Look at Adre-3000, Mos Def, and K-OS.

Who inspired you?

I’ve always loved music. My family was always playing music and we had a house full of vinyls of artists like Al Green, Michael Jackson, and Mahalia Jackson. Ultimately, it wasn’t me saying I wanted to be a musician it was the universe telling me you are a musician.

What is in your CD player right now?

KAOS, Macy Gray, Bloc Party, The Roots, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and of course Protest in Disguise.

What is your birth name?

Akil Omari.

Were you born in New Orleans?

Yes, I was born in New Orleans.

How old were in when you moved to New York?


As an African American child growing up in New Orleans what stopped you from turning towards violence?

I was never one to give in to peer pressure. Neither was I complacent. Just because certain things are going on in a neighborhood doesn’t mean that is all a person can be or do.

Why did you choose MYSELF as your stage name?

It was a natural evolvement. I believe it establishes me as a brand not just an artist. It also works as a reflector because it forces me to look within. That is I can’t be anybody but me.

You currently have two songs from Protest in Disguise on your myspace page. “God is So Funky” and “Where We Going.” There is also a video on your myspace page which is a mix of those two songs. Where did you shoot the video?

The video was shot in one day as a documentary style video. “God is So Funky” was the last song added to the album but it is at the beginning of the video. It was shot in the French Quarter which was hardly affected by Hurricane Katrina and so the beginning of the video is pretty upbeat. The second part of the video, “Where We Going” was shot in the ninth and seventh ward of New Orleans, the part that was and is still the most devastated by Hurricane Katrina. So the second part of the video is a little more serious.

How do you think other countries view music as opposed to the United States?

In the U.S., we tend to create the trends and then we disown them. Like jazz and blues for example. In other countries, because they didn’t create the music, they tend to look at the aesthetic value of music. Like music as art.

You use myspace often. How do think the internet is changing the music industry?

Protest In DisguiseWith the internet, consumers and the artists can meet and greet. Thus, it bridges the gap between the consumer and the artist letting independent musicians reach a larger crowd of people.

Can Protest in Disguise be pre-ordered?

You can exclusively download the entire album & cd artwork for $9.99 by cliking on the DIGSTATION logo on my myspacepage.  You can also download each albumtrack for .99.  

More information about MYSELF can be found at his myspace profile page as well as a music video for “God is So Funky” and “Where We Going.”

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