“Support your local musician. How else will you get him off your couch?” —Anonymous
This week, I had the opportunity to listen to two recent albums performed by musicians here at Covenant. After years of worshipping at my personal shrine to John Mayer and scanning Pitchfork for the latest jams, I sometimes feel like the music I listen to can become a bit distant. Nabil Ince and Chapman Whitted, however, live just minutes away from many of us on campus, and their music is a stellar representation of the power of the local musician.
A local music economy is a special thing. “Yeah, I’ve heard local bands, and they suck,” you might want to say. That’s not what I’m talking about, although supporting local bands isn’t a bad idea. You don’t have to go out of your way and buy these artists’ albums to support them: a Facebook share or mention on Twitter goes a long way (both albums are available to listen for free on the internet, by the way).
Nabil Ince, a sophomore living on the Five Points in Mac, released his latest album, “I Heard God Laughing,” on September 15. The album is his third, and his second released under the name Seaux Chill. You can listen on Soundcloud and download free via Mediafire.
The album was single handedly written and produced by Ince, and was inspired by what he experienced coming into college. “I fully owned wanting to pursue music for the first time with this album—this was the first time I was fully committed to the idea that producing music would pay my bills for the rest of my life,” says Ince.
“‘I Heard God Laughing’ talks about pursuing your dreams, looking for that green light from God and being able to go ahead without any hesitations,” he says. “The poet Hafiz put out some poetry under the name ‘I Heard God Laughing,’ which originally sparked the idea for the title. I really feel like the title exemplifies God’s loving and caring nature.”
Seaux Chill collaborated with several other artists on the album, including Jocelyn Peña, Nikki Ellis, Caryn Jones, his siblings Zakia & Jelani Ince, and others. “I think I vibe most creatively with Jocelyn, who is on “College Bound” and who I’m working on the next album with,” he says. “Even though I produce my own albums so I have full creative control over the music, I definitely don’t mind collaborating.”
Sophomore Chapman Whitted of Loganville, GA, released his first EP on August 19. “Switch a Memory” is a 7-song record available for $5 through Bandcamp.
The album is primarily acoustic with folk influences. It was written and produced by Whitted, and released under the name Scott Chapman. “My grandma got me into music when I was young. I always wanted to write music that has truth in it and points people to the Lord,” he says. “When I released the EP, I really wanted to see what the Lord had in store. It was sort of testing the waters to see how it would be received.”
Whitted says that the theme is “changing around perspectives to look more closely at eternal purpose,” and that each song was written individually as gradual responses to what God was doing in his life.
He is currently working on a full new album that he hopes to release in January. He’s also playing a couple of local shows over Christmas break, and hopes to sell hard copies of the album at the upcoming shows.
Both artists mentioned the connections that they’ve been able to make in Chattanooga’s local music scene, but neither voiced a desire to make the city home for the long term, at least not now. Ince says that his connections to the local music scene started with Nikki Ellis, who helped him make connections in Chattanooga. “I’ve only been in Chattanooga for a year and some change, and I’ve been amazed by the connections and networking in the local hip hop scene I’ve been able to do,” he says.
Genesis the Greykid, an underground hip hop artist and poet, met Ince at a local poetry group, and started introducing him to other names in the local music community. Both Ince and Whitted added that they have been able to make other connections throughout Georgia—Whitted in his hometown and Ince in the Atlanta hip hop community.
I encourage readers to give both of these records a listen and to share them with your friends. Supportive listeners in the community are vital to the success of any rising artist, and I know that Covenant College has as supportive and loyal a community as any. Let’s get out there and fire up the troops.