To celebrate the selection of this year’s New Voices cohort, we caught up with all the selected artists and composers for a quick chat.
Here, we speak to New Voices 2021 composer Chisara Agor. Ever-shifting environments, constantly (r)evolving juxtapositions of experience, are recurring themes in much of Chisara’s art. From society, to politics, to how we find joy, Chisara’s work is as much about the world around them as it is their own personal interpretation of it.
Can you tell us about your musical influences?
My musical influences are extensive and very eclectic and in popular music, range from folk-jazz singer-songwriters such as Joni Mitchell and Nina Simone, to uplifting stadium bands such as Elbow and Muse. Some of my influences are rooted in the West African and Caribbean diaspora especially the Jamaican and Nigerian dancehall traditions; John Holt, Barrington Levy, Ebo Taylor, Tony Allen, and Yemi Alade have all had a profound impact on my sensibilities with regards to orchestration, arranging, and sonic choices in production. Outside of these artists, other influences that I think will be especially pertinent to this project include the Stretch sounds of Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, and the spiritual exploration of Esperanza Spalding on her album ‘12 Little Spells’.
My sound pieces draw from and celebrate many genres and styles of music from all over the world. I blend these aesthetics to find an honest, very personal truth to my story telling as this eclecticism is a fundamental part of my interdisciplinary artistic practice, which is due to my curious nature, my study of philosophy and openness and inquisitive outlook on social structures and cultures globally.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve just finished an inter-disciplinary project called The Air We Live In, creating a short film sample with music and costume. It centered around air pollution and climate justice and proposes an inter-disciplinary touring installation that will cleanse the air surrounding it. More details on the project can be found here www.theairwelivein.com . Currently I am also finishing off my EP, Shadows And Searchlights, which will be released later this year or next, and I’m excited about showcasing my songwriting and producing skills on a personal project that is a call to action for those who are often left disempowered or in the shadows.
What are you looking forward to most about New Voices?
I’m really excited about delving deep into my creative practice and challenging myself by having the time and space to research and develop my project. I’m looking forward to seeing where this journey takes me and having the opportunity to not only dream big but manifest with the support from Sound and Music.
Sound and Music gratefully acknowledges support from PRS Foundation as a Talent Development Partner: