Santa Fe's music scene has been a big part of this town's culture. Many local musicians have become family to some of us, or at least recognizable faces to many. One such artists is Garry Blackchild, who has been part of Santa Fe and Albuquerque's scene for over a decade. Blackchild told us about who he is and how New Mexico's culture continues to mold him during what he is calling a "reinvention phase." Blackchild stops by Second Street Brewery's Railyard location with an acoustic set this Friday (6 pm. Free. 1607 Paseo de Peralta, 989-3278).
Where did the pseudonym "Blackchild" come from?
My birth name is Garry Martin Beasley. On my dad's side, my grandmother is Choctaw and black, so we're pretty much black Native Americans. When I was younger, she used to call me "lusa alla," which is a Choctaw word. It translates to "my little black child." That was her little nickname for me. I always kept that with me. When I was 19, I was in a group called The Montezuma Project, which was with Taboo from the Black-Eyed Peas. Taboo has always been involved in his Native side. That's when I started calling myself Garry Blackchild, and it just kind of stuck for years and years and years. I don't think anybody knows my real name anymore.
How do New Mexico's people and landscape inspire your music?
It goes hand-in-hand with my sound. I moved to New Mexico 16 years ago. I was actually on tour with a Native artist named Keith IMC, and I kind of just fell in love with it. I'm originally from Los Angeles, California, and I kind of felt like there is just no place for me there musically. I really fell in love with the Native culture here, and actually made a lot of my first fans from the Santo Domingo Pueblo.
I noticed that people don't know how to label your style of music. I've seen event pages label your music as Americana, folk, rock, rebel-folk and a few others. What do you think of that?
It's hard to want to put your music into a genre, but I have to in order to get signed by a label. The label has to know how they can market me. I kind of make it up. I call it 'rebel folk'—it's a blend of everything. I'm influenced by soul music, reggae, rock, bluegrass, old country, electronic music, hip-hop—I listen to everything. The only way I can categorize it is by making up my own genre. If they had to get me into a genre, I definitely would fall under Americana.