Macon – The sound of Macon music has been echoing through the city streets, downtown alley ways, and on the airwaves for quite some time now. Macon, Georgia has had its share of influential musical titans to emerge and become world renowned superstars. It is also home to a diverse group of talented musicians that have yet to find mainstream success. From its modest beginnings to its illustrious heyday. The sound of Macon Music continues to captivate and inspire generations upon generations of musicians and fans alike.
Throughout American history entertainers have masterfully created and cultivated the ever-changing culture of music. From the early pioneers to the present juggernauts, music seems to somehow allow itself to fill a void within society. Musicians have found fame and fortune from utilizing personal skill, showmanship and talent to win over millions of loyal fans. In an industry dominated by mass appeal most artist may accredit their success to their geographical location. The emphasis on certain regions of America has proved to make an artist or break an artist. So, when it comes to regional acceptance the south has stood in the shadows of other major cities unable to shine and receive its just due.
Although, many musicians from the south forged a significant path towards mainstream audiences by staying vigilant and true to their artistry. In the past, the music industry were still hesitant when it came to acknowledging the voice of the south. Macon, Georgia has played an integral role in shaping the fundamental sound of music from the south. Due to its central location, Macon is considered to be the heart of Georgia. The heartbeat that has giving life to such acts as Emmett Miller who found notoriety in the late 1960’s. Miller was an American minstrel show performer and recording artist who influenced many country singers such as, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, and Bob Dylan. Macon was also home to the Pickens Sisters of the early 1930’s, The Allman Brothers Band, Mike Mills and Bill Berry of R.E.M., guitarist Johnny Jenkins, Little Richard, Otis Redding, Jason Aldean, and Young Jeezy to name a few.
Little Richard’s impact on mainstream music was so relevant that many accredit his unique sound and delivery as being the foundation of rock and roll music. Born in Macon, Georgia and raised in the Pleasant Hill neighborhood Little Richard’s raise to prominence was certainly due to his hard work and determination. It is also said that he influenced other musicians from Macon including Otis Redding. With cultural dynamos as those listed it’s no wonder Macon is noted for its contribution to the music industry.
As times changed and music evolved, a new generation of trendsetters emerged on the scene. Macon’s musical past has definitely provided a springboard for artist of today. Spawning the emergence of groups such as Jubee and the Morning After, Bearcat, African American, The Kadalack Boyz, One 3rd, Marle Blu, and Billie Slum. I had the pleasure of conversing with Marle’ Blu and Billie Slum. These two-passionate hip-hop artists seem to have their sights set on solidifying their place in southern music as the pioneers before them.
Marle Blu, a female recording artist from Warner Robins, Georgia is definitely paying her dues in this male dominated industry. When asked who is Marle Blu? She responded, “Marle Blu is the beauty with bars. She is the alter ego of Tiffany (her real name) and Marle Blu has no filter, she does and says what she wants to and she puts on a hell of a live show. She is fierce, fearless, and ferocious. The “Jackie” of all trades.” Her signature moniker is derived from her middle name “Marlene” and since her favorite color is blue she choose to ditch the “e” and stylize it as so. “Among my top achievements has been getting my record Last Longer on the radio and also performing at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach where she opened up for Universal Records recording artist Pastor Troy,” said Blu.
Billie Slum is another artist from the (478) who calls Macon, Georgia his home. He has been generating compelling music for quite some time as a solo artist and as a member of the group Undaland. I sat down and spoke with Billie Slum during Undaland’s recent album release of the highly anticipated Electric Rose. Undaland is comprised of Billie Slum, Wolf and Sixx 4. As I listened to the album, I found it culturally relevant and absolutely riveting. The production is on key and the delivery is captivating to say the least. Billie Slum gave insight into who he is as an artist, “I am the everyday average cat, a representative for the people, a spokesman, and everybody loves him.” When it comes to his creativity Billie Slum is a trendsetter who doesn’t conform to what’s popular. He attributes his longevity to his fans and is thankful that people have been receptive to his artistry and is fortunate to have a positive response from the community. It was also noted that the late great legendary artist Prince is one of his main influences when it comes to creating music as an artist. I also had to infer into the positive influence that he has to offer considering Macon’s increasing crime rate. “I think what’s missing now is that artist only give you one side of the story. Our contribution to the youth is that we speak or preach servitude that may seem subtle but, we feel it’s in a way people can relate” said, Billie Slum. Undaland also contributes to the Ten Thousand Kisses Campaign, which is aimed at assisting young women who have been victims of Domestic Violence. Very choice words from the Undaland spokesman, Billie Slum an artist on a mission.
You can purchase a digital copy of Undaland’s “Electric Rose” online at Band Camp or iTunes, Amazonmp3.com, and other online retailers.