Photo: Kassandra Pia
Vancouver, BC - DUCKWRTH marches to the beat of his own drum. A multifaceted young talent raised in South Central L.A who's creative outputs range from designer to illustrator to performing artist and more. His overall sound and aesthetic is eclectic; full of originality, soul and funk laced with a punk rock attitude - very left field from the typical L.A vibe.
DUCKWRTH describes his personal style as Afro-billy - a combo of Rockabilly and Psychobilly with an African-American twist. His long dreadlocks are coiled back grazing the shoulders of his custom white denim jacket as we catch him in the green room at Vancouver's Vogue Theatre. He's fresh off stage from his set opening for Anderson Paak's Malibu Tour in Vancouver, where he is nearing the end of their multi-city tour. His vibe is calm, sweet and slightly awkward as he describes the coming-of-age that has lead him to where he is now, open and comfortable with himself and performing in front of a large audience. Up until this point the tour has been a positive learning experience where he's facing some of the largest audiences he has ever performed in front of on a nightly basis, "It's been good. I'm starting to feel a proper exchange of giving and receiving back from the audience," he explains, "people really aren't on some L.A shit - and you can quote me on that."
Growing up, DUCKWRTH was raised in a strict household where music that was degrading to women or depicted violence was strictly forbidden but instead he was nurtured with jazz, gospel and classical music. He was Alto in his church choir as a youth "church is like a mecca for musicians," he responds when asked about his early musical influences, "I think my earliest music memory though was Phantom of the Opera and my first album I think was Kirk Franklin" he recalls bursting into laughter.
He's on the verge of releasing his project I'M UUGLY where the uptempo, dance-inducing lead single "Get UUGLY" carries the vibe for what he describes as his "Funk Wave" sound.
While the album's title might seem utterly blatant, DUCKWRTH gets into the layered meaning behind it. On the surface it's about not denying the ugly shit that's going in your life and about acceptance and embracing the not-so-lovely moments. "I was noticing things in my life wasn't so perfect. It wasn't all super good, shit was ugly. And right when I said that out loud a light went off. Like, metaphorically speaking it was like night and then a bright light came on in the street and shit. It made me notice how I needed to just focus on this energy. I'm really doing it, so now it's your turn." Looking deeper into the meaning he divulges "it's also that sense of euphoria, like when you listen to a song and it will push you to like this crazy euphoric state and your face starts to kinda shift..." he laughs, "it's ugly yo".