Featured Artist: Preauxx

Posted on November 25, 2014

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By: Kendra Lyons

Preauxx

Preauxx

When I heard Preauxx (pronounced “pro”) perform at Brister Street’s music networking party at Juicy Jim’s earlier this month, I felt captivated by his performance. He was impressive and had a unique sound, but I liked him right away because he didn’t seem like he was trying to be anything other than himself.

That was a difficult night for Preauxx and the other talented musicians in the room. They were in the midst of suffering the loss of a good friend and fellow artist, Fathom, who I have heard some reference as “the Godfather of Memphis hip-hop.” Preauxx took the stage in jeans and an oversized sweater and dedicated his performance to his friend, repeating, “I love you,” and pointing to the sky in between verses, as if it were a part of the song all along.

He reminded me of Kid Cudi’s style of music, in that it was hip-hop, but also poetry. As someone who appreciates the craft of writing, I could tell that Preauxx is much more than a rapper, but also a very talented writer who has intent behind every word in his songs.

Preauxx’s “real” name is Chris Dansby. He is originally from New Orleans, but explains his life was truly, “a tale of two cities,” in that he traveled a lot from New Orleans to Memphis as a young person.

His interest in music first came to be thanks to his older sister, who introduced him to r&b music videos and the hip-hop genre of music. In eighth grade, he heard the song “Never Let Me Down” on Kanye West’s album, College Dropout. “It was track 8,” Preauxx adds, “I’ll never forget it. It was a feeling I couldn’t explain. This feeling that the song gave me; I wanted to give that feeling to the world.”

Although Preauxx’s passion for music overtook him, he wasn’t necessarily always able to share that passion with his loved ones. Raised with a religious upbringing, Preauxx had a difficult time explaining why of all genres, hip-hop was his calling as an artist. He found himself “hiding” his music from the people who felt less than supportive of his love for rap music. After attending University of Memphis for a period of time, “that’s where I really expanded,” he said, and was able to learn how to move forward with confidence as a hip-hop artist.

“I’m always looking for new influences,” Preauxx says, but among them are Kanye West, Jimi Hendrix, Andre 3000, Bob Marley, Kid Cudi, and “I’m just going to throw in a random one here,” he said, “Freddy Mercury from Queen. He’s one of the most innovative writers ever”- affirmation, I thought to myself, that Preauxx is intrigued by the words behind the song, not just the beat. “Kid Cudi opened the lane for me to be really vulnerable,” he adds.

“I write all my own music. My songs come from experiences in my life or from close people around me and I just conceptualizing those things. I’m really conscious about writing my own music. I’m so particular and tedious and I make sure every word, syllable, and feeling is right.”

Preauxx is eager to explore his creative side throughout his career. “I never want to be put into a box,” he says, “I like talking about life. One thing about me is, life comes around once and you have to experience things and take them as they come. It’s my job as an artist to speak from that grey area from both sides. I’ve done good and bad in life. I’ve been a good guy and a bad guy. That’s how life is. Life is the yin and yang. I want to convey that in music.”

In January, Preauxx’s album Die Winning dropped. The concept, he explained, is about pushing yourself beyond the boundaries we set for ourselves and being extraordinary instead of regular. “I feel like life comes around once and I want to make sure when I’m gone I lived the life. I pushed myself to the limit, I did tha most I can, and I died winning. In life, everyone has to continue to do that. Don’t be basic. No one around me is basic. I don’t have basic friends.”

Preauxx is proud to be a Memphis musician and feels that starting his career here has made him stronger as a person.

“It is a small scene, but if you can make it in Memphis, you can make it anywhere. I’ve been to other places where I might have been a lot further in my career, but Memphis showed me you have to be tough and you have to be strong to survive.”

The growth and change Preauxx has witnessed in Memphis, particularly in the music industry, gives him hope for the future. “As of late 2012/2013, the culture has changed. Artists can be who they are and have their own styles and subject content. Memphis is really changing, and I feel like I’ve been one of the catalysts in changing their perception of that. I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings.”

Preauxx has a deep appreciation for the people who have helped him along the way. “I work with IMAKEMADBEATS and Alexander Odell,” he says. Preauxx says IMAKEMADBEATS and his team, TRDON mean the world to him. “That’s my family, man,” he says thoughtfully.

Preauxx exudes a sense of positive energy and kindness. He loves what he does, and it shows. His genuine nature makes listening to his music even more meaningful for listeners, because you can guarantee when you hear a song by Preauxx, it’s from the heart.

Dying to hear more Preauxx? He has a new album dropping next year and shares new music on SoundCloud every Tuesday.

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Posted in: Music