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Art & Life with Mestozi

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mestozi.

Mestozi, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I think the genesis really occurred when I heard “Do You Want More?!!!??!” by The Roots. At that time, I had already been playing guitar for a few years and my affinity for rap music had been established for years, but my guitar world and my rap world were somewhat separate. “Do You Want More?!!!??!” was the first time I’d heard the combination of a live band and emcees combine those two worlds in a tasteful and skilled way, and for better or worse, that combination never let go of the musical output side of me.

Anyway, I’ve loved music since a young age, but I think I’m mostly a left brained type of person, so music had always seemed too irrational for me to seriously consider as a pursuit. It took me a long time before I viewed myself as an artist. It really wasn’t until last year – almost 25 years later – that I started putting out any music as a solo artist. I released two EPs this year and plan on releasing one more before fall.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
Most recently I write and perform rhymes over acoustic or clean guitar. Lyrically, there’s not much to hide behind when playing an acoustic, and the instrument, in my opinion, only lends itself well to a certain vibe of rap lyrics, so it helps me to focus a little more. I sometimes add a little more effects, loops and samples in my live set and the result is something that sounds like a chilled out mix of bluesy/jazzy/neofolk/rap.

As far as messaging goes, my music doesn’t really have a strong, outward message. My lyrical content is mostly self-analyzing. Its also sober and rooted in pessimism, so combined with minimal instrumentation it’s not exactly a fun-time listen. I suppose if listeners were to get any message or value out of it, I’d think that it might be one to stir some introspection in themselves, which I feel like some folks could use.

What would you recommend to an artist new to the city, or to art, in terms of meeting and connecting with other artists and creatives?
For independent and struggling artists I think some of that loneliness might self-inflicted by being consumed in one’s own art/business all the time. I think reminding oneself to unplug themselves from their work occasionally to go to other artist’s shows and support their work is a great way to connect with other artists. And there’s a mad amount of great live music in Chicago, so there’s plenty of opportunity to connect if you’re able to step out of your introverted comfort zone, assuming you’re an introvert, which many of us are.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
The easiest ways to support my work is just to click the follow button if you appreciate what you hear or tell somebody else if you think they’d appreciate what I do. If you really like what I do, coming to a show is helpful, and if you’re not really into what I do, going to another local artist’s show that you do like is good for the overall community. My stuff is available on Spotify, Bandcamp, YouTube, etc. But I also occasionally put some additional music that is not available on streaming platforms on my Facebook and IG pages.

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