Son Little (PA)
Son Little is an exciting new artist whose innovative sound NPR says “touches on soul, blues, hip-hop and reggae. Samples, fuzzy guitar and simple drums work together to create an undeniable groove” and NME called his sound “pure, heart-spilled-over-the-road soul.”
Born in Los Angeles to a preacher and a teacher, as a kid Son (formerly known as Aaron Livingston) absorbed songs from dusty family records and learned saxophone and piano, though he felt more at home inventing his own language on those instruments rather than following the lesson plan. Adapt or die, as they say.
Cycling through jazz, rock and R&B history, the hungry young son was beginning his true education. He moved east, then to Philly.
He loves to write, he lives to write – and even though there have been lapses of time, he always comes back to it as both a vocation and a joy. There are many channels to Son Little’s broadcast, varied stops on the dial, from blues to soul to funk to folk, and juke-joint jazz and chamber pop and back again. His voice—raw, weary yet alert, grave and gravelly, Marvin and Otis and Stevie all at once—soars and creeps, cracks and moans. His songs haunt, thrill, yearn and stomp like all the best work of his heroes.
He has collaborated with highly respected artists like The Roots and the producer/DJ RJD2. And more recently, he had the distinct honour of producing legendary gospel singer Mavis Staples’ 4-song EP, Your Good Fortune, in addition to writing two of the songs on the recording. The collaboration inventively merges Staples’ iconic and soulful voice, renowned as part of The Staple Singers and as a Grammy-winning solo artist, with Little’s talent for reconfiguring the sensibilities of genres including soul, hip-hop and heavy rock. The resulting tracks retain every bit of Staples’ emotional delivery, while adding an array of modernist sounds created with the cut and paste methodology of contemporary hip-hop.
“I’m always excited to do new songs,” Mavis says. “And this young man wrote two just for me. Seemed like we were a team made in heaven. He writes from his heart; he’s a great singer who sings from his heart, and he reached my heart. I’m so glad we got to work together. The whole experience right down to the finished product was just extraordinary.”
There is no doubt Son Little is a busy man, in demand, touring, recording, getting things done, and on the rise. We’re just glad we made his list of to-do’s!