The Influence Project is a photography exhibition celebrating the impact of leading black musicians on contemporary sound and culture.
The exhibition chronicles pioneering voices from the mid to late 20th century music scene and their impact on music - from direct forms of sampling, to their influence as mentors and role models - exploring the range of ways these musical innovators have inspired today’s artists, creatively, socially and politically.
Many of the pioneers within this exhibit have revolutionised genres and created extraordinary music which is now being absorbed by each new generation and transformed again into something new.
London-based Congolese photographer Alexis Chabala and curator Lorayne Crawford have captured the characters of these icons and some of the contemporary artists they've influenced through beautiful portraiture, film and sound, to offer visitors a unique and important interpretation of musical history.
Their work features artists such as revolutionary R&B influencer and the force behind the Parliament/Funkadelic machine, George Clinton; international stars of disco, Sister Sledge; legendary soul singer and four-time Grammy Award nominee, Candi Staton; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bill Withers; and Shuggie Otis, whose hit record Strawberry Letter 23 was used by Quentin Tarantino for the Jackie Brown soundtrack and sampled in 2003 by Beyoncé.
Contemporary artists include British singer-songwriter and winner of two MOBO awards, Laura Mvula; Australian future soul band Hiatus Kaiyote who count Drake as one of their leading fans; and Aloe Blacc, the chart-topping musician known for his singles ‘I Need a Dollar’, ‘The Man’ and for writing and performing lead vocals on Avicii’s globally acclaimed hit ‘Wake Me Up’. The legendary hip hop collective The Roots have also been photographed for the show.
The Influence Project explores the connections which flow from these pioneers, reaching across time to shape the sound that we hear today.
Midlands Arts Centre would like to thank the Exhibition Technology Partner, Allsee Technologies, for their generous support.
Image: Jorja Smith, London (2018) C-Type © Alexis Chabala