Interesting story: Three time Somali-American Grammy winner

Periplus

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Since I am in self-isolation with no school or work, I have been researching more about Somali excellence. This brother is a Somali-American artist with one of the most interesting life stories ever. Bear with me and be sure to read this in its entirety.

His name is: Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz (pronounced “dee-FREP-ah-lez”)

Stage name: Fantastic Negrito

NB: I believe his stage name comes from him being the only Black person in rural Massachusetts and in his school at the Bay Area.

Quick facts: Somali-American Blues artist (born 1968) with three grammys (2017, 2019, 2021), saw his 2020 album go Billboard Blues number 1, promoted by Mick Jagger and Bernie Sanders, the latter of whom invited him to perform at campaign rallies.

Biography:

Born in 1968 in rural Massachusetts to an Oxford educated Somali-Caribbean restauranteur, Xavier grew up in strict Muslim household consisting of 15 kids. He lived with his family until age 12, when he left home and ended up in the foster care system. He would never again see his father, who was born in 1905, as he died when Xavier was 14.

After being pinballed around the foster care system in Oakland CA, Xavier turned to selling drugs to get by but never ingesting anything other than marijuana. However, at age 18, Xavier became interested in music when he began dressing nicely and posing as a student at UC Berkeley in order to gain access to practice rooms with pianos. After learning that Prince was self-taught, Xavier strove to teach himself the piano and ended up leaving Oakland for LA after being robbed at gunpoint.

In LA, Xavier continued hustling and trying to make it in the industry until one of his friends stole a tape to take to work at Bel Air Country Club. There, his music was noticed by Prince's manager, who signed Xavier and attempted to get him a record deal. He then auditioned for labels, playing three songs on a piano before receiving offers. He ended up with a $1 Million contract at Interscope, after Jimmy Iovine personally outbid everyone else. This ended up being a negative for Xavier as he struggled to make an impact for the next three years until he was was in a near-fatal car accident caused by a drunk-driver. he first thing he remembers after waking up three weeks later was the sensation of having a beard – not that he could lift his arms to feel it. The accident had broken both his arms and his legs, leaving his strumming hand mangled.

After being released by Interscope after his accident, Xavier set up an illegal nightclub that allowed him to play his music, courting visitors such as Mike Tyson. This continued until he committed to his Japanese partner, having a child and moving back to Oakland to start a farm. After noticing his sons appreciation for his music, Xavier went back into the industry under the name "Fantastic Negrito".

And the rest as they say, has been history.


Here are two feature articles by The Guardian and Variety on Xavier (Fantastic Negrito):


 

Periplus

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@Admin

I really think this artist would be an extremely interesting AMA guest.

Would you mind if I tried contacting him to ascertain his interest???
 

Periplus

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I have so many questions about this guy:

- Since his father is mixed and born in 1905, was he born in America

- Does he have stories about his father at Oxford in the 1930s

- How much drug dealing assisted and/or impeded his success

- How long did it take to self-learn musical instruments

- Any advice for young Somalis entering the music industry?

- How much of a role does Somali identity play in his life/career

- Would he ever visit Somalia?

- Has he ever listened to or been inspired by Somali music?

- Is he the first Somali to ever marry a Japanese person?
 

Periplus

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Who goes by negrito:nahgirl:

What is Somali about this guy

His dad was Somali/Caribbean.

I think his hooyo was Somali also but I know she was muslim for sure.

Also, the name "fantastic negrito" has a unique ring to it. Fits his eccentric persona.
 
His dad was Somali/Caribbean.

I think his hooyo was Somali also but I know she was muslim for sure.

Also, the name "fantastic negrito" has a unique ring to it. Fits his eccentric persona.
So his dad is already half and he's probably more mixed. He is genetically, culturally and by his name far removed from any Somalinimo.
 

Periplus

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So his dad is already half and he's probably more mixed. He is genetically, culturally and by his name far removed from any Somalinimo.

Even if he is 1% percent Somali, I am interested to hear his story.

We rarely hear stories about diaspora communities that lived in the West before 1991 let alone pre-WWI.
 
Even if he is 1% percent Somali, I am interested to hear his story.

We rarely hear stories about diaspora communities that lived in the West before 1991 let alone pre-WWI.
Then that is not Somali. African Americans tend to have high percentage of European but that doesn't make them white.
 
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