The Local 303: Colorado artists we’re featuring for February 2024

· Jan. 31, 2024, 6:16 pm

The Local 303 represents Black artists from our community year round, including the month of February, as we honor Black History Month by spotlighting Black musicians who are pushing boundaries and making great art right here in Colorado. In our conversations with this month's talent across genres like hip-hop, R&B, pop and electronica, we asked them to share the musicians who inspired their music from day one and also how they use their platform to inspire social change and promote racial equity.

Denver native Elle Green says she uses music to create opportunities for herself and others, "specifically Black women, women of color, queer women and disenfranchised people." Nelo, a local rapper who runs an area non-profit, says he uses his music as a "conduit for building community and to tell stories that are relative to the current issues we face as a society." Aurora's Claygo highlights how music connects us all and spreads his message, explaining, "music gives you a voice, and a chance to speak for those who cannot."

As far as influences go, Krisangela, who is releasing original music in addition to leading in one of Colorado's most sought after cover bands, says she is "deeply inspired by Aretha Franklin" and that "the depth and breadth of her talent to write so meaningfully, to sing so powerfully, and be recognized as a producer as well" is something she hopes she can one day master. You can hear the soulful R&B influences in rising local artist YasmineEmani who says as a "Black woman in music, the ways in which I create social change is by creating without limitations of what my music should or shouldn’t sound like," much like her music hero Janelle Monae.

Terrell Matheny, being featured for the first time, cites inspiration from Michael Jackson, Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, and Rick Ross. Not only is he a local singer-songwriter, but he also used to dance for the Denver Nuggets. Since it's basketball season. we're excited to include a jam by Project Nay & DJ K Tone dedicated to our city and the Nuggets after winning the NBA Championship last year!

Osha Renee and Brittany.Renee.Beckett both seem to encompass the energy of '90s R&B and pop legends like Janet Jackson or Aaliyah. '90s icon Lauryn Hill and hip-hop artists like J Cole are who Denver rapper Spinks says she draws inspiration from. She also shared that this year she will be releasing one new song each month. Multidisciplinary artist IAMGRÜV channels inspiration from the music (and ensembles) of Andre 3000 and hopes to inspire people to love themselves through his music.

After being featured last July, Local 303 favorite Lane-O returns with songs from his newest album Us and continues to use his platform to "shed light on social issues, injustice and inequality that marginalized communities face."

You'll hear these artists on Indie 102.3 all month long, and we'd love for you come meet some of them in person, too! Join us for our monthly Local 303 Meetup to celebrate our featured artists and our entire music community. Each meetup features a music meeting where you get to vote on new local songs, a chance to win concert tickets, and a special live performance. The meetup takes place on Monday, Feb. 26 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Hi-Dive, located at 7 S. Broadway in Denver. This event is open to everyone 21+ and free admission.

Thanks to Stuart Alden of Ink Lounge who designs a limited edition screen print poster for each meetup, only 50 printed and available by donation.

Are you a Colorado musician who wants to be featured in the Local 303? Send us your music!


CLAYGO

Photo: Jonathan Martin

Band Lineup: Claygo (He/Him) - Singer-Songwriter

Colorado Home: Aurora

Formed: 2016

Latest Release: Dreamz Turnt Cold, March 8, 2023, Self-Released.

Upcoming Shows: No official shows as of now, but you can always catch me at Mercury Cafe every 2nd Thursday of the month at our Bodies Of Culture Open Mic.

About: Claygo is an up and coming hip-hop artist from Aurora, CO, who isn't just another person trying to rap. He is very socially conscious with a smooth flow mixed with powerful lyrics. He genuinely has something to say in an attempt to bring a real message to the masses. Claygo has always had a love for music, and played around with it throughout high school and college. However, it was 2016 when he would begin taking it more serious releasing his first project entitled "Mission Impossible." He would then follow up with his sophomore project called "Thinkin' Out Loud." Thinkin' Out Loud would gain attention from 303 Magazine as well as Westword magazine. Following Thinkin' Out Loud he would go on to release "Dreamz Turnt Cold." Claygo has always said he is not looking to be famous he just wants to be heard.

Any upcoming plans to share or behind the scenes work you're excited to tell us about for 2024: Currently I am focusing on releasing a lot more singles rather than full projects. I have a single I plan on releasing very soon called "This What Yall Want". I am also doing a lot of work with my Bodies of Culture board I am on.

If this is a theme for you, how do you use your music to tackle social change and advance racial equity? Music gives you a voice, and a chance to speak for those who cannot. With my music, I try to make it a point to make sure I am always giving some sort of message in every song I write. To me, music is the best way to reach anyone. The entire world loves music, what better way to get a message out than through a song.

What Black musicians inspire you? Tupac, Michael Jackson, J Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Lil Flip, Devin The Dude, Chamillionaire, Outkast, Nina Simone, Erykah Badu to name a few. I could truly go on forever.

Get Social:
Facebook, Instagram


DJ KTONE

Photo: The Female Shoota

Band Lineup: DJ KTone (He/him)- Turntables/ Vocals

Colorado Home: Denver

Formed: 2000

Latest Release: Innerstate Ike & DJ KTone "The Earth Is My Turf 2" Album, 8.25.23, Still Livin Ent. Singles "Turf 2" f/ Doobie Newton, "Just Sayin" f/ Baely, "Party Like A DJ."Single: DJ KTone f/ Project Nay & 5280 Mystic "HELLO BABY" Released March 1 2023

Upcoming Shows: 

2.2 Happy Hour @ Status Ultra Lounge (Denver)
2.2 Atrium Floor Nuggets x Trailblazers Game (Denver)
2.4 Day Party @ Agave Shore (Denver)
2.8 Day N Nite (San Diego, Ca)
2.9 Candy Shop (San Diego, Ca)
2.11 Day Party @ Agave Shore (Denver)
2.16 Happy Hour @ Status Ultra Lounge (Denver)
2.23 Happy Hour @ Status Ultra Lounge (Denver)
2.29- 3.3 DJ KTone's 17th Annual Bday Bash (Denver)

About: Chartering a professional career and personal brand led by this mantra, the Denver Native with the easy demeanor and killer ear for the best in music has been deejaying for 20+ years. Using his undeniable prowess and discipline, Ktone has become one of the most successful deejays from the city of Denver with national and international appeal, effectively earning the nickname the "Turf DJ". Ktone makes breaking records of independent artists to listening crowds a priority and uses his skill to work with the most promising upcoming talent, including offering artist consultation and promotion. He has also worked with a plethora of major artists including David Banner, Big Krit, Trev Rich, Innerstate Ike, B.O.B, Maybach Music Group's DJ Scream, Ty Dolla Sign and many more.

As a notable composer and music director, DJ Ktone has reached numerous milestones, including creating multiple mix shows, podcasts and feature film music directing. His Interview segment titled "20 in 20 with DJ Ktone" featured National artists, DJs, celebrities, and new talent and has been one of his most prominent pieces of work to date. He is also Co-Founder of The Southwest Alliance, proven to be a success in breaking and producing talent across regions.

During DJ Ktone's 3 1/2 years at FLO 107.1 FM, which began in 2015, he elevated the culture of the city, providing a radio presence in the urban community with his mix show, on-air personality, and creating the award-winning "Home-Grown Hip-Hop Show." Ktone was also the first DJ to become a member of the sales department at FLO 107.1, utilizing not only his DJ and music skills, but his business intellect as well. As an integral tastemaker, he has served in the esteemed conglomerate The Core DJs for over a decade bringing forth his unique brand and style. Arguably one of the hardest working men in the industry, Ktone is a two-time winner of the Westword Newspaper's Hip Hop DJ of the Year Award (2011/2012), a three-time Colorado Broadcasters Association Award winner, along with countless industry and community accolades in his career to date. With an intense and actionable passion for philanthropy and mental health advocacy, DJ Ktone continues to be an active community leader engaging with diverse and multicultural organizations, advocating as an ambassador for the community. He seeks to provide outlet and guidance opportunities for the youth by speaking in schools, enrichment programs, and mentoring. Ktone is the Founder of Ktone Cares Foundation which produces the Musik Soulchild Program and DJ Ktone Book Award Scholarship, Co-Founder of Men Who Read Book Club, and served as the 2022 Co-Director of the Annual Father + Daughter Occasion.

As he reaches new musical, entrepreneurial, and philanthropic heights, Ktone is currently focused on opportunities to widen his brand, his reach, and his impact!

Any upcoming plans to share or behind the scenes work you're excited to tell us about for 2024: My Annual DJ KTone 17th Annual Bday Bash is the first weekend of March. It's an annual mental health and wellness retreat that focuses on self care, giving back, fundraising and gathering. 

If this is a theme for you, how do you use your music to tackle social change and advance racial equity? I use my music to change the narrative and stigma of black men in the community, city and the world. We are intelligent. We are educated. We do matter in society! 

What Black musicians inspire you? Sade. Andre 3000. E-40.

Website: www.officialdjktone.comktonecaresfoundation.org

Get Social:
Facebook, Instagram


Elle Green

Photo: Alexa Gomez

Band Lineup: Elle Green (She/Her) - Singer-Songwriter

Colorado Home: Denver

Formed: Elle Green has been performing music for almost 10 years! First show was at The Roxy.

Latest Release: "Slide" is a song from her last mixtape, 4GUD from 2021 available to stream on all platforms! "Higher Mind" is a single available on all platforms as well from 2022! "Idol" is the newest single from Elle Green, setting the tone for her first self-produced album titled Underdogs set to release in August of this year! "Idol" along with all the other tracks are produced by Elle Green and features some of Denver’s Hidden Gems. 

Upcoming Shows: Elle Green’s next show will be on March 31st in Pasadena, CA

About: Elle Green is a 27 year-old artist born and raised in Denver, Colorado. She works as an event organizer, putting on her own Music Showcases around Denver since 2018! She writes all her own music, sings, writes poetry, is a lyricist and genuinely loves the arts in all forms.

Any upcoming plans to share or behind the scenes work you're excited to tell us about for 2024: “I’m ultimately excited to release my first self produced album in August of this year. It feels like a great challenge and inspiration to grow creatively. I want to bring attention to the hunger that Underdogs in this industry have and believe I will!”

If this is a theme for you, how do you use your music to tackle social change and advance racial equity? “I use my music to create opportunities for myself and others. Specifically Black Women, Women of Color, Queer Women and disenfranchised People. Bringing attention, knowledge, and community to people and Artists who might not usually have it. Creating conversation and demonstrating through my own actions. I also try to remind BIPOC people that it’s okay to take a break and let those who created Racial Inequity or benefit from any inequity, solve it.” 

What Black musicians inspire you? “There are so many influential Black Artists to name, that contributed to my style and taste. If I could name just a few, it’d be OutKast; Erykah Badu; Missy Elliot; Nina Simone; and Janet Jackson.” 

Get Social: Instagram, Linktree

IAMGRÜV

Photo: Stephanie Bassos

Band Lineup: IAMGRÜV (He/they) - Lead Vocals, Writer, Producer

Colorado Home: Denver

Formed: 2019

Latest Release: "Trying" (Single), March 27, 2023, Self-Released

About: "Visual artist, music producer, philosopher... IAMGRÜV's mind is tuned to an incessant cacophony of creativity. Being a multidisciplinary artist, they can be caught delving into a different medium any day of the week; channeling inspiration anywhere from the rudimentary renderings of Rothko to the erratic ensembles of Andre 3000. As one of the masterminds behind the Denver-based artist collective Groove On, IAMGRÜV is always looking for new projects and willing to do whatever it takes to get to the next level! Though a bit of a black sheep, the realm of art and content creation has given the young dreamer a voice and a vision, allowing them to share their passion for life with others."

Any upcoming plans to share or behind the scenes work you're excited to tell us about for 2024: Nothing I can speak on yet, but I'm overall geeked for 2024 and I'm looking forward to bigger shows, creating better art, and making more meaningful connections.

If this is a theme for you, how do you use your music to tackle social change and advance racial equity? Not a theme for me really but I hope to inspire people to be themselves and to love themselves...

What Black musicians inspire you? 
Andre 3000, Nat King Cole, and plenty others. I appreciate all music and have inspirations from all over the world.

Website: https://www.iamgruv.com/

Get Social: Instagram, Linktree


Krisangela

Photo: P. Jay Baker - BDI Photography

Colorado Home: Denver

Formed: 2022

Latest Release: Album "Rose Gold" self released in 2022. Recently released a live recording of the singles "Sublime" and "Love Like This" from the same album.

About: Krisangela is a multifaceted artist. The Compton, California native started singing publicly at the age of 10 and began to hone her talent by singing along to whatever music her
mom was playing, usually gospel or funk. She began acting professionally in 2010 staring in commercials, plays and musicals. She was rehearsing and performing on a grueling schedule,
but the years of practice allowed her to hone her skill as a stage performer. In 2018 she began touring with the most popular cover bands in Colorado, allowing her to come into her own as a
solo entertainer. When performing live, Krisangela brings a mix of original R&B, and classic Funk era tunes complete with horns, percussion, costumes and dancers. The only live music
experience of its kind in Colorado. 

Any upcoming plans to share or behind the scenes work you're excited to tell us about for 2024: Krisangela is currently writing and recording her sophomore album Love Language to be released November 2024.

What Black musicians inspire you? I'm deeply inspired by Aretha Franklin. The depth and breadth of her talent to write so meaningfully, to sing so powerfully, and be recognized as a producer as well. As an artist who writes and records her own songs, I can only hope to master the art of song creation and arrangement like her.

Website: https://www.krisangela.com

Get Social: TikTok, Facebook, Instagram


Lane-O

Fernando Lobo Photography, Inc [email protected]
Photo: Bright Future Media

Colorado Home: Aurora

Formed:
The 11-track, full-length debut studio album Us was released on November 12, 2023. The project was Executive Produced by Stevie Buggz and Lance Lang, Produced by WicJones and Pink Fader and recorded at Bright Future Media.

Latest Release:
“So Clear” (Single) - January 16th, 2024 (self-released)

Upcoming Shows:
UMS 2024 and FocoMX 2024

About:
Lane-O makes it clear that he knows how to craft a song. With excellent production, solid flows and strong lyrical content, Lane-O describes his music as timeless pieces. The Louisiana-born, Denver-living emcee’s music is authentic and vibrant, painting pictures of life as a family man who is pursuing his passions while leading and inspiring others. 

Any upcoming plans to share or behind the scenes work you're excited to tell us about for 2024: I’ll be releasing every song from my album Us in visual form this year!

How do you use your music to tackle social change and advance racial equity? I do it through powerful and thought-provoking lyrics. I use my platform to shed light on social issues, injustice and inequality that marginalized communities face. I address systemic racism, police violence and the need for unity and understanding among different ethnicities. By voicing these important topics in my music, I strive to raise awareness, inspire conversations and promote positive change in society. 

What Black musicians inspire you? Andre 3000, Jay-Z, Master P, the late Nipsey Hussle (RIP). 

Website: https://www.laneolang.com/

Get Social: Instagram, Facebook, YouTube


Nelo

Photo: Megan C. Willhite

Band Lineup: Nelo (He/him) - Rapper/Singer 

Colorado Home: Denver

Formed: 2020

Latest Release: 
Feb. 11 I will be releasing two singles Meow ft Triiip and Stuck ft. brookLYNNTime is Limited, is my last album that I released December 2022 

About: Rapper, singer, and songwriter, Nelo, introduced himself to the world in early 2020. He creatively infuses dope shit, relatable experiences, and life lessons with music. A one of one artist, Nelo, has quickly made a name for himself. With his expansive ability to consistently engineer new sounds, he is definitely an artist to watch for and work with.

If this is a theme for you, how do you use your music to tackle social change and advance racial equity? I use my music as a conduit for building community and to tell stories that are relative to the current issues we face as a society. Whether it is personal or social 9/10 the music I create has undertones of advocacy and social impact. If people feel inspired to action I encourage them to realize their potential as artist advocates by working with my local non profit, whose mission is to advance health equity through the arts.

What Black musicians inspire you? Kendrick Lamar, Nina Simone, Tobe Nwigwe 

Website: https://linktr.ee/GRNelo

Get Social: Instagram, TikTok


Osha Renee

Photo: Courtesy of the Artist

Band Lineup: Osha Renee (she/her) - lead vocals 

Colorado Home: Denver

Formed and Music published:
2022

Latest Release: “Champion “ single, April . 2, 2023, self released

About: I started my music career in 2022, and ever since then my foot has been on the gas. I was able to perform for 30 venues, opened up for 3 celebrities and performed at one of the biggest festivals SXSW. I am the definition of a rose that grew from concrete I am my roots , even though I’ve showcased my versatility recently doesn’t mean I lost sight to my purpose in music. “I’m like a tree. My leaves might change color, but my roots will stay the same” - Rose Namajunas 

If this is a theme for you, how do you use your music to tackle social change and advance racial equity? My music is like a platform of awareness. I shed light on social injustice issues through my lyrics. I address the uncomfortable things that people are scared to talk about. I educate and engage my audience by sparking the conversation. 

What Black musicians inspire you? There are so many Black musicians that have inspired me . But the main ones who have changed my perspective on the music world would have to be Lauryn Hill, MC Lyte, J Cole and Kendrick. They stay true to the world of hip hop and soul. They embody the core values of authenticity. 

Get Social: Instagram


Project Nay

Band Lineup:  Project Nay (She/her) - Vocal Lyricist 

Colorado Home: Aurora 

Formed:  2020 

Latest Release:  French Press (Single) Oct 9th 2023, Self-Released

Upcoming Shows:  March 23 “ The Topick “ Powered by  Others Records

About: This year I will be Releasing my first Album as Project Nay vs Nay Renee. I will also be launching my clothing Brand “No Remorse” so be on the look out for that. Super excited too see the BayBaes Rocking my line! 

What Black musicians inspire you: Missy Elliot, Mulatto, Gucci Mane, TI, Trina 

Get Social:  You can find me on any platform as “Project Nay” including Instagram and TikTok


Spinks

Photo: Noah Khorey

Band Lineup: Spinks (She/her) - Lead Vocalist/Singer/ Songwriter

Colorado Home: Denver

Formed: 2018

Latest Release: “Risks” (Single), Jan. 5, 2024, Self-Released 

Upcoming Shows: Opening for CNG March 16th @ Your Mom’s House 608 E 13th Ave (DM Spinks for ticket information. She will have physical tickets)

About: Spinks is a singer, rapper, and songwriter born and raised in Denver, CO. She is 23 years old and has been writing and recording music for 5 years now but has been actively singing for as long as she can remember. She strongly believes she has something special that is worth listening to and supporting. She has accomplished so much this far and she said she is not stopping until she puts Denver on the map. 2024 is her year. The sky’s the limit and Spinks is shooting for the stars. 

Any upcoming plans to share or behind the scenes work you're excited to tell us about for 2024: I will be dropping one song each month for the year of 2024 and I will be releasing more music videos as well. To stay informed about my upcoming releases and upcoming shows please follow my Instagram.

What Black musicians inspire you? Lauryn Hill, Lady of Rage, J Cole, Blxst, Bino Rideaux 

Get Social: Linktree


Terrell Matheny

Photo: Terrell Matheny

Colorado Home: Aurora

Formed: 1995

Latest Release: Bipolar 2 came out on 1.24.2024 and it just reached #1 On the Amazon Music Charts!

Upcoming Shows: Bipolar Experience By Terrell Matheny on March 23rd At Yak N Yeti  

About: Terrell Matheny is a songwriter, singer, dancer, actor and rapper from Aurora. He notes, "I've accomplished some great things along the way! My album Bipolar 2 charted on the Amazon Music Charts at number 1. I also have performed with some of the industry's biggest names from E-40, Bone Thugs N Harmony, Trina, Travis Porter, Twista, and more. I also danced for the Denver Nuggets Basketball Team. Entertainment is my passion, and I plan on showing the world exactly what I'm capable of!"

What Black musicians inspire you? 
Michael Jackson, Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, Rick Ross 

Website: tmath.co

Get Social: Instagram, Facebook


YasmineEmani

Courtesy of the artist
Photo: Néïka

Band Lineup: Yasmine Hunter (She/her) - Lead vocal

Colorado Home: Denver

Formed: I started releasing music in the fall of 2020.

Latest Release: My latest release is “ Go Crazy” 1/11/24. I released this independently as a self release.

Upcoming Shows:
February 11th at Cervantes with “WBW” band
February 14th So far sounds

About: I’m a Denver raised and based singer/songwriter and actress, dedicated to creating music and work that push thinking and perspectives, of common
and uncommon themes of life. I’ve been writing songs from the early age of 8. Always feeling compelled to create auditory stories through songwriting. After many formative years of perfecting my passion of singing and songwriting through my youth, I took the leap of releasing my first song in the fall of 2020. Since then i’ve released 5 intentional single’s, as the stepping stones to the creation of my future E.P and album. I feel compelled to create art that represents my black American and Caribbean heritage, and feel inspired to merge the melody’s and sounds of both very important and influential identities.

Any upcoming plans to share or behind the scenes work you're excited to tell us about for 2024: This year I'm hoping to Release only a few more singles, and for the rest of the year be fully dialed in on creating bodies of work that’s what I'm most passionate about. I’m also really excited to be releasing more visuals to elevate my music! Hitting the stage as much as possible this year is also on the agenda for this year, It’s a really important for me to continue to expand and grown my physical support and fanbases. And of course more plays and musicals (my other love and passion).

If this is a theme for you, how do you use your music to tackle social change and advance racial equity? I feel like as a black woman in music the ways in which i create social change is by creating without limitations of what my music should or shouldn’t sound like. Sharing my curiosity and expressing creativity purely from my perspective and vantage point, allows me to demonstrate to the world that black people and artist should and will continue to show up and take space in any way they want whether it aligns with how people expected them to be.

What Black musicians inspire you? I’ve always felt very inspired by Janelle Monae. From the first time I ever heard their first two albums metropolis and The Archandroid I was completely in awe of how the albums felt like a theatrical, cinematic experience. I know with my music I always want the music and to have the same cinematic experience and to take listeners on a
journey not only with the lyrics but also with the sonics that hopefully engulf them!

I’m also very inspired and moved by singers and writers with very distinct and recognizable voicing and writing styles. So singers like Anita Baker, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey (love as songwriter as well), India Arie (love a song writer as well), Santigold, Sade, Frank ocean and Beyonce

Website: http://www.yasmineemani.com/

Get Social: Instagram, TikTok


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