Hotstar: bLAck pARty’s ‘Endless Summer’ Vibes, With Help From Issa Rae, Childish Gambino

bLAck pARty
– bLAck pARty
aka Malik Flint

As it seems increasingly difficult to cut through the noise and stand out in today’s entertainment landscape, sometimes the talent speaks for itself while others do the talking. 

The case of bLAck pARty, aka multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Malik Flint, is largely one of discovery, with Childish Gambino’s Wolf & Rothstein label signing him early, along with studio work for artists including Chloe X Halle, sync deals for the HBO Issa Rae-starring show “Insecure,” and more. The momentum grows despite much of the world coming to a standstill in 2020.
“We would say he’s definitely your artist’s favorite artist,” says Fabienne Leys of Steel Wool Entertainment, who handles bLAck pARty’s management alongside colleague Olivia Kurth. “He’s naturally in those conversations amongst what would be considered his peers. Khalid just posted an Instagram story playing his music the other day, completely unprovoked and unsolicited. 
“He’s one of those guys that moves seamlessly, whether he’s in the studio creating for Chloe x Halle or transitioning to walking in and doing his own work over the past nine months at various Airbnb’s around town because it’s safer than a studio. There’s a lot of untapped potential that is going to be making its way to the forefront very soon.”
Steel Wool learned of Flint through his lawyer at the time, and was immediately impressed with not only his musical talents but his vision and ability to get that across to fans and tastemakers.
“We were completely floored and amazed by his artistry as a writer and producer, in addition to being an artist with so clear a vision,”  Leys adds. “His aesthetic is very apparent, the minute you look at him and see his videos and hear his songs, it’s all very cohesive and feels very forward.”
The name bLAck pARty, a visual representation of Flint’s Arkansas upbringing and current Los Angeles base, is simple yet powerful, much like Flint himself, whose work comes across as concise and intentional.
“It came from my time in school studying advertising and design. I learned a lot about color theory and I liked what the color black represented –  power, collectivity, a lot of things I felt represented the music world,” says Flint, who describes his music as consisting of mainly tropical elements, blending sounds from Delta blues to Jamaican reggae to SoCal surf. 
“The same thing with ‘party,’ a collection, a gathering, specifically in Black music, especially coming from the Delta area. A lot of the music from the Delta influenced the entire world.” His first full album, 2019’s Endless Summer, is similarly intentional, representing a universal feeling of warmth and comfort.
“The biggest vision is to be able to keep a bit of a DIY approach to the music, and keep it universal. I feel like a lot of times, being in America, you’re kind of stuck in a bubble in a way,” says Flint. 
“I’d like to kind of bridge the gap between other parts of the world. Different parts of the world find different things interesting and find different similarities in what we do. Building the bridge, even between different genres, creates a bigger world for music in general. That’s the big idea.”
While bLAck pARty as a touring artist was put on hold thanks to 2020, Steel Wool, formed by noted concert promoter Kevin Morrow and Tyler Rutkin, is a firm believer in live music for artist development, while Flint himself says he’s open to doing anything “interesting” in the live space. 
 “The live show will be a priority going forward,” adds Steel Wool’s Olivia Kurth, adding that his most recent performance was also his buzziest, with a Grammy week showcase at SoHo House turning heads. “He did several shows like that last year, intimate one-off performances that sold out their venue size, with people walking away saying ‘Wow, that was so fun,’ and a fresh take seeing one guy perform.” As Flint’s shows scale up from one-man-plus DJ show, Steel Wool says to expect a full band as well as Flint taking on more on-stage instrumentalist duties, with the goal of an experiential performance that is still able to connect with fans in an intimate way.
“Fans of his music are not only coolest kids but it’s something that has widespread appeal and way people have discovered music, from TV shows like ‘Insecure’ or having seen him in concert. It’s something that can actually be shared on a larger scale, and his upcoming project will widen the audience in a way that his talent deserves,” Kurth says. 
Flint, who is preparing to release a project with dance/disco artist Gavin Turek in March and is also recording his next LP, agrees the music business is at an inflection point.
“It just feels like when you’re on a rollercoaster and you’re at that point when you’re like, it’s about to drop at any moment but you don’t know when. That’s what it kind of feels like,” says Flint, who’s been likened to Pharrell Williams in his multifaceted talents. 
But, for live music, “I see it headed in a positive way. I’m excited for future shows, honestly. I think this time period is creating a bit of a renaissance, even the quality of the show experience will improve. For the longest time, there’s been a bit of a lack of appreciation for live music in a way. I think it’s just being in America, and having access to live music, it becomes a commodity instead of a luxury, or it becomes less special because it happens all the time. Now that things have slowed down, both the artists and observers will appreciate the live show, which will make the  experience even greater.”
Getting to that point surely hasn’t been easy for many working musicians, as Flint jokingly says that the pandemic “No. 1, taught me how to spend my money.” But the period saw high-profile looks like having his “Summer Love” played during a widely discussed skinny dipping scene on “Insecure.” Those moments matter.  
“That’s allowed it to reach different audiences, especially older audiences,” Flint says. “People of my mother and father’s ages may hear music in a TV show or a movie. I’ve always felt we all lived in our own worlds, but you don’t fully realize how hard it is to access someone else’s world. I get on different social media on a daily basis, but someone like my grandma, her only form of entertainment is TV, so to reach my grandmother, I’d have to be on late-night TV. To reach me, I’d just have to have a video on Twitter (laughs).”
The groundwork is being laid for growing the foundation, aspiring to the potential scale of someone like Donald Glover, whose 2018-19 larger-than-life performances topped both the arena and festival headlining worlds creatively, sonically and monetarily. 
“We have every intention of setting the foundation of growing into something like that,” Leys says, adding that the current pandemic situation is merely temporary.
Kurth adds that the pandemic has its silver linings as well.
 “Artists have been allowed to slow down and be intentional with content creation, something that will end up benefiting us,” she says. “They can present something welded together and beautiful from end to end. Once the world is ready for us, it will be really great coming out of this.” s