People’s Liberty is constantly growing. New people are joining the People’s Liberty family and current grantees are continuing to work on their civic projects. With a performance of–State: A Testimony to Urban Appalachia coming in April, Nate May answered a few questions in regards to his production. Read on!
Q: What stage are you at in your project? (What are you currently working on?)
A: Almost there! I’m figuring out some production details, promoting, trying to make sure everyone has what they need and editing sound files to include in the piece.
Q: What originally inspired your project?
A: Learning about the history of migration of Appalachians to Cincinnati and what a huge impact that has had on the city. Then, stepping back and thinking about migration in general and the universality of that story truly inspired my project.
Q: Is there any individual or group of people that influenced you/ your project?
A: All aspects of my project have been influenced by other individuals and groups—the fact that I’m writing the piece for women’s choir is because of MUSE’s interest in the Urban Appalachian population. The compositional approach I took was influenced by some of my favorite composers and musicians, and the scale that the project has taken is thanks to the funding it has received. Of course, much of the projects’ aspects were influenced by the stories that are the basis for the piece; even the choices of percussion instruments were made based on objects that were meaningful to the folks I interviewed.
Q: What has been the most rewarding part of working on your project?
A: Seeing other people get excited about it. This piece feels like an imaginary world that I’ve been building for a while now and to see others start to share a vision for that world is incredibly rewarding.
Q: What impact do you hope your project has on the community? Is there a certain audience you are trying to engage?
A: There are several audiences I’m hoping to engage—the arts community, the urban Appalachian community (especially in Lower Price Hill), the soloist, Kate Wakefield’s fans, and MUSE’s fans—but I’d be thrilled if it engaged audiences that I haven’t been expecting.
Q: Do you have a hero? Who is it?
A: So many! Right now my heroes are everybody who has made it through tough times through self-reliance and community solidarity. Many of the people I interviewed fall into
Q: If you could collaborate with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
A: Kendrick Lamar. I think we could make unexpected stuff happen.
Q: Do you have any advice for future Project Grant applicants?
A: Dream up something that you’re insanely passionate about that will rewire the circuits in people’s minds. Hire the people who would have been excited enough about the project to do it for free. These grants are an opportunity to pay people who have been passionately doing important work at a high level without seeing a whole lot of compensation. And then take care of your collaborators—make sure they have what they need, the goals and expectations are clear, and that their input is given consideration. Also leave lots of wiggle room in your budget for taxes and unexpected things that will arise.