From “Afterblunts” to “Audition”: VCU student experiments with R&B

Photo by Alivia Deihr
Photo by Alivia Deihr

Richmond alternative rhythm and blues artist Shy Lennox will release his new album, “Audition,” Sept. 7.,  featuring his deep voice over smooth synthesizers and slow, clicky percussion, which provide a departure from the genre’s falsetto-dominated landscape.

Born in Texas and raised in Woodbridge, Virginia, Lennox cultivated a love for music and vocal performance that became his passion in high school.

“I was that choral geek that was in three different choral classes when you only needed one,” Lennox said.

Lennox started making music after he got to VCU when he met Andrew Brown — also known as captain pizza on SoundCloud — whom Lennox called his “executive producer.”

“Halloween night, freshman year, me and my friends were walking past some house and they were playing music and I was like ‘Yo, that’s a dope song, happy Halloween,’” Lennox said. “And there was this immediate bro chemistry.”

The two started playing the guitar and singing together. That interaction turned into Lennox’s first single, “Afterblunts,” he said.

“Afterblunts” has garnered nearly 300,000 streams on Spotify. Lennox has high hopes that his next album, featuring six new songs, will see similar numbers.

“Now that I’m finally buckling down and creating a body of work, I think that this may be what I need to get my fanbase out there,” Lennox said. “I feel like this is what’s gonna make me pop.”

The name “Audition” is very intentional. As an opera major at VCU, Lennox is no stranger to auditions.

“This isn’t just in the classical world,” Lennox said. “I feel like with friends, relationships, art, jobs, the concept of auditioning is so much bigger than the performing world. And this is my first project to the world, so I feel like it’s my audition. If it flops, it flops. Onto the next.”

In the future, Lennox said he wants to experiment with incorporating classical elements like timpani and operatic vocals into his music.

Shy Lennox is hosting a free, donation-based release show at Flora on Sept. 7. at 10 p.m. Half the show will be played with a live band, arranged by Lennox himself. The other half will be DJ’ed by captain pizza.

Quentin Rice, Contributing Writer

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