BLK ODYSSY Wants To Set Us All Free

The acclaimed singer/songwriter discusses working with George Clinton, producing on Rapsody’s project, and his highly anticipated new album “1-800 Fantasy.”

BLK ODYSSY is committed to creating music that will challenge the status quo. With a bold vision to empower the masses and a deep pathos, he’s an artist’s artist who will continue to make an indelible impact on the music industry. With his unique brand of alt-R&B melded with hip-hop, liberation is one major component of the Austin-based singer/songwriter’s musical motif. Known for his politically charged street anthems and futuristic funk bangers.

In 2021, he released his debut, BLK VINTAGE, which garnered critical acclaim and showed enormous promise with iconoclastic sensibilities. 

His sophomore LP, DIAMONDS & FREAKS, is an impressive, conceptual project that features Bootsy Collins, and Keisha Plum who is known for her spoken word performance on Griselda albums. He also thrilled audiences with a performance on NPR’s Tiny Desk and on Colors.

Set to release his newest project 1-800-Fantasy on July 19, it is sure to be another stellar addition to his already sterling discography.

Born in Plainfield, NJ, BLK ODYSSY always knew that entertainment would be the path that he would take in life.

“I had the feeling early on that I wanted to get into entertainment in general, I was kind of always looked at as the class clown and the guy who's always making everybody laugh,” he told “One day when my mom was like, ‘Why do you keep doing this?’ And I was like, I think this is what I want to do. Being able to invoke an emotion in the people around me was when I found my calling.”

“Luckily for me, my parents took note of that early in my life and I think one of the most fortunate things that I've had the privilege of having in my life was my parents who really embraced that. A lot of kids get discouraged but my parents were amazing and, and encouraged me at an early age to get into music,” he continued.

As he became more drawn to music, he began to cultivate his talent with other artists in his hometown but knew that he needed to go to a bigger testing ground. One day, he relocated to Austin, Texas, a burgeoning city for up-and-coming creatives. 

“I didn’t know anything about Texas so it wasn't necessarily a strategic move. In hindsight, it ended up being one of the best moves that I could have made in my career. When I moved there, it was more so knowing that we had to do something that was going to make us uncomfortable,” he said. “I remember our first show ever and a girl knelt in front of the stage, stuck her ear out while we were playing and she just shook her head and got up and walked out. I was like ‘Damn, y'all.’ I didn’t ever want to feel that way again. So we continued to get better and grow in our craft. Austin was a place where we cut our teeth and made a lot of mistakes in front of a crowd. Then we went to LA.”

BLK ODYSSY noted that one of his recent career highlights was a collaboration he did with Benny the Butcher and one of his musical inspirations, George Clinton, founder of Parliament Funkadelic and fellow Plainfield native. He explained how he convinced Clinton to work with him.

“Although I lived in Plainfield my whole life, I have never been in the same room with him. I met a bunch of people in the family and I grew up with people in that family of the Funkadelic. I saw on Instagram that George Clinton was in town because The Red Hot Chilli Peppers were getting their star on the Walk of Fame. I said, ‘Yo, we should just pull up over there and get this feature.’”

“I didn't want to look weird so I pretended to be on the phone when he came out of the building. So I go up to him and tell him I'm from Plainfield as well. I told him that I would love to work with him one day. He was like, ‘OK.’ and walked off. I did tell him our name again when he was getting into his car [Laughs]. A week later, his daughter sent me a DM that read, ‘Yo, my dad said that he ran into you on Melrose,’” he continued. “‘You need anything, you want a track?’ So I sent him the track the next day, and we got on FaceTime. It was crazy. We talked about the family connections that we had and he sent the track later that day.”

As a producer, BLK ODYSSY contributed to Rapsody’s recently released critically acclaimed album Please Don’t Cry after they first connected on Instagram. Eventually, they locked in for several recording sessions at Sonic Ranch Studio under some very interesting circumstances.

“A few months after we connected on Instagram, I had randomly texted Rapsody and I was like, ‘Yo this is gonna sound super weird, but I'm going out into the middle of nowhere right now  El Paso County, Texas near Mexico, and I have a beautiful studio out there locked out for a week, and I was wondering if you would just come and work on the record with me.’ I was fully expecting her to say no but she said yes.”

After arriving at the secluded location, Rapsody was taken aback by the minimalist accommodations, to say the least. He immediately thought that he ruined his chance to work with the highly regarded rap star.

“When she finally got there, she was not happy. I walk into the house and she's just sitting in the living room. Now I'm nervous because I know how incredible this studio is. It's called Sonic Ranch Studio which is probably the most incredible studio in the world. Then she followed me through this orchard, it's gonna be dark. But I'm opening the doors in the studio to this humongous and gorgeous facility and then her face lit up.” 

The chemistry and synergy was immediate between them. They knocked out seven songs in their first night working together and many more throughout the week. Then they took the eight-hour drive to Austin where they continued working on music. Eight tracks from their sessions would wind up on Please Don’t Cry including “DND” (It’s Not Personal).

In preparation for his highly anticipated new album 1-800-FANTASY, BLK ODYSSY has released “XXX” a rock-inspired track that was influenced by “the nostalgia of early 2000s of MTV”.  The song also features a guest appearance by Wiz Khalifa who he described as an “an incredible guy with an amazing spirit,” BLK ODYSSY recalled. 

1-800-FANTASY is a conceptual LP that BLK ODYSSY is excited for his fans to hear.

“The album is a concept album where we get into the world of Afro-surrealism with a high school kid who's madly in love with a popular girl but she really has no idea he exists.  He understands that she's out of his league but he is dedicated to proving to her that he's worthy of her attention and her love,” he explained.

The album also explores themes of mental health and the danger of going over the edge.

“It's pretty clear early there's some things off mentally and socially. We want it to visit different mental health things in this record where he finds himself becoming progressively more manic and deranged about this girl as the project goes on, which is where this whole angsty sound comes from,” he continued. “He creates these characters in his head to justify his crazy actions that he goes through to get her attention.”

“Whether it's me as an artist, or me as a producer, it is a very cinematic sound. And it's a very theatrical sound, I like to take elements from what the human perceives as real life and put it in my music,” he said.  "I might use human effects that you will feel when you're feeling those sorts of emotions. So if it's your heart racing, I might have something pumping in the production." That’s one of the main things with a BLK ODYSSY production--it’s always theatrical, cinematic, and always feels real.

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