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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Fantastic Negrito's New Release Features The Powerful Backing Vocals Of Miko Marks

Fantastic Negrito shares “Rolling Through California,” a blues-funk rallying cry that calls for solidarity and collective action in the wake of drought, water management challenges, accelerating climate change, and the growing calamity of California’s annual fire season. Recorded at Fantastic Negrito’s own Storefront Records studio in Oakland, the track features a powerful backing vocal performance from fellow Bay-Area artist Miko Marks, who herself has earned recent praise from the New York Times, NPR, Rolling Stone and more.

“I remember waking up to an apocalyptic sky,” says Fantastic Negrito. “The sky was orange, the sun looked bloodshot and people's anxiety levels were very high. It felt and looked like doomsday. It really made me think about climate change and the environment - how our actions impact where we live and the choices we make.”

Alongside the new single, Fantastic Negrito has also shared the new music video for “Rolling Through California.” Set on a ranch, the video follows a dejected and exhausted young firefighter seeking refuge on a ranch run by the Oakland Black Cowboy Association. “The little fireman feels so alone because he's looking at a fast changing world of climate change, displaced people and a California fire season that makes the air more toxic to breathe every year,” Fantastic Negrito explains. “He finds his home in a group that is historically marginalized, overlooked and that's the Black Cowboys of America who are at home on their farm.”

Fantastic Negrito has partnered with Defy:Disaster so that a portion of the song proceeds will go to support firefighters, first responders, and communities impacted by wildfires throughout North America. To donate and find out more information, please visit:

Fantastic Negrito broke onto the national radar by winning the inaugural NPR Tiny Desk Contest in 2015. Since then, Negrito has gone on to win the Best Contemporary Blues Album Grammy-Award for each of the three albums he has released: The Last Days of Oakland (2017), Please Don’t Be Dead (2019), and Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? (2020), which includes features from fellow Tiny Desk winner Tank and the Bangas and Bay Area legend E-40.

Fantastic Negrito has a truly enthralling story rooted in struggle and strife: from the highs of a million-dollar record deal to the lows of a near fatal car accident that left him in a coma and changed his entire outlook on life. Outside of music, Negrito puts his socially progressive lyrics into action. His Storefront Market, a monthly marketplace free of charge to the public, features vendors representing the community of West Oakland and surrounding neighbourhoods. He also runs his own farm on his Oakland property called Revolution Plantation where he teaches the surrounding community to garden — an effort to pass on practices that can sustain local neighbourhoods and our planet alike.

Fantastic Negrito will share more new music in the coming months.

While Miko Marks is no newcomer to the music industry, Our Country (via Redtone Records), is her first album in 13 years. Making her way to Music City in 2003 to fully immerse herself in the country music community, Marks successfully received well-deserved accolades - “Nashville’s Hottest New Country Star” by People Magazine and “Best New Country Artist” by New Music Weekly. However, her efforts to be fully embraced by the industry in return proved to be elusive. “In trying to pursue the gates of Nashville, I discovered that there were high fences made of stone,” Marks said of her experience in the early 2000s. This experience ultimately led her to pick up her life and move to California to start anew, never giving up on the dream she was devoted to. After a 13-year hiatus, Marks proves to be a bonafide maverick that has blazed an unprecedented trail in the music industry. Marks returns, eager to spread not only her music, but a message of unity and outspokenness for Black musicians in country music and beyond. Marks works towards an ever evolving dream of creating art that is not stereotyped or pigeonholed by a specific genre and is created with no borders or boundaries. Her most recent album, Our Country, was released in March 2021 and garnered praise from NPR, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Rolling Stone and Billboard, among others. Marks continues to release music via Redtone Records with an EP set to release this fall and a US tour to support.

Disaster Defy:Disaster is dedicated to providing aid to survivors and communities affected by natural disasters to help them recover and rebuild. Building on the Entertainment Industry Foundation's historic commitment to furthering the philanthropic efforts of the entertainment community, Defy:Disaster allows for immediate response in the wake of a natural disaster. The program aims to support immediate and long-term relief with a primary goal of making a powerful and sustainable impact in highly affected areas.

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