The Recording Academy Texas Chapter played host for GRAMMYs On The Road At South by Southwest during the conference's 26th annual installment from March 9–18 in Austin, Texas. The Chapter conducted exclusive backstage interviews with artists participating during the music portion of the conference, including electro/soul duo Fly Moon Royalty and rapper Chali 2na.
Fly Moon Royalty discussed the duo's formation, their biggest career moments, musical influences, and favorite GRAMMY moments, among other topics.
"We got to open up for Sharon Jones [& The Dap Kings]. That was a big moment for us," said Fly Moon Royalty's DJ/producer/emcee Action Jackson. "She is just such an amazing performer. … Seeing her perform with that band actually gave me a good positive feeling about the future of music, and that it's a huge venue full of people feeling the exact same way."
Formed in Seattle in 2010, Fly Moon Royalty is an electro/soul duo comprised of vocalist Adra Boo and Action Jackson. A Seattle native, Adra Boo's creative endeavors also include acting in the theater and burlesque community. Hailing from Grand Rapids, Mich., Action Jackson also works as a local Seattle DJ. Combining elements of hip-hop and '60s-influenced jazz/soul, Fly Moon Royalty have drawn comparisons to artists including Gnarls Barkley, the Gossip and Janelle Monáe. After landing a record deal with Sportin' Life Records, the duo released their self-titled debut album in 2011. Fly Moon Royalty have released several singles since, including "Lemonade."
Chali 2na discussed creative influences, his role in hip-hop and artistic endeavors such as painting, among other topics.
"My role in hip-hop music is like a journalist," said Chali 2na. "I have to kind of report about the things that are closest to home, things that are happening around me. That's kind of what I do."
Born Charles Stewart Jr. in Chicago, Chali 2na developed an interest for graffiti art before pursuing music, both of which were endeavors that influenced his decision to relocate to Los Angeles in his mid-teens. Chali 2na developed his skills as an MC in L.A. and joined the Unity Committee, a rap collective including turntablist Cut Chemist and rapper Marc 7even. The trio subsequently teamed with Akil, Zaakir and DJ Nu-Mark to form Jurassic 5 in 1993. During that time, Chali 2na and Cut Chemist also co-founded the Latin hip-hop/rock group Ozomatli. Chali 2na was featured on Ozomatli's 1998 debut album, which peaked at No. 7 on Billboard's Top Latin Albums chart. Though he is no longer an official member of Ozomatli, Chali 2na has collaborated on albums such as 2004's Street Signs. Jurassic 5's debut album, Quality Control, was released in 2000. The album cracked the Top 50 on the Billboard 200 and was followed by 2002's Power In Numbers and 2006's Feedback, both of which peaked at No. 15. In 2004 Chali 2na released Fish Market: The Official Mixtape, followed by his debut solo album, Fish Outta Water, in 2009. His most recent release, Fish Market, Pt. 2, was released in 2010.
Come back to GRAMMY.com tomorrow for more exclusive backstage interviews from GRAMMYs On The Road At SXSW.