01 Jun Artist Highlight – Dexter Allen
Dexter Allen was born in Crystal Springs Mississippi and raised on a farm. He grew up understanding that life can still be wholesome with only the bare necessities. His father being a pastor and grandfather a head deacon, the church was no stranger. Dexter began playing guitar at the age of 10, being tutored by his Uncle Porter and intrigued by every sound of music around him. Dexter toured with Bobby Rush for 3 years as the lead guitarist, traveling to France, Japan, Germany, Spain, China, Finland, Iraq, Kuwait, and Sweden and all over the United States, and has shared the stage with B.B. King. Dexter received the 2008 Jackson Music Award for Male Vocalist of the year. In 2014 Dexter was cast as “Sam Thomas”, bassist for Legendary James Brown for the motion picture Get On Up, “The James Brown Story”, Allen has also recently captured a starring role as “Lou” in the independent film “Soul Damage” which will be released in theaters summer of 2015. As a Mississippi Artist Roster and devotes time, he conducts Blues in School workshops sponsored by The Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame in area schools throughout Mississippi.
When did you discover your love for music?
I discovered my love for music somewhere around the age of seeing and hearing. My father being a gospel singer exposed me to seeing live musicians play and sing. They practiced at our home and on weekends we would go see them live at churches, my uncles and aunts were big Motown fans, so I would hear all that in the midst of the gospel and it was definitely music to my ears.
What have been the biggest obstacles for you as a musician and songwriter?
The biggest obstacle has been, being accepted as a RIGHT NOW blues artist. I give great honor to Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf for their contributions, but I have to sing about MY BLUES. I didn’t pick cotton, Didn’t have a big boss man, nor will I ever walk up & down hwy 61 singing the blues. There are tons of emerging Blues artist today, that have tons of stories that can relate to today’s social ills and struggles that can be related to.
What has kept you going?
My love for the music and the commitment to be successful has kept me going. I’m not a quitter, I believe that what’s for me, will be for me. I feel that I’m making some type contribution to this state and the music that comes out of this state, that will touch someone and leave a lasting impression.
What qualifies a professional songwriter/musician (fame, performance, experience, etc.)
I think that a good song is defined by 1. A Story 2. A Delivery 3. An Emotion
When you can feel the words of the song, then the story has meaning, and when you can relate that song to the crowd, then the performance is on point. Some people are great writers, but can’t get the point across to the people, then some are great performers, and can’t seem to write the words. …..Some people you come to hear, but there are some you come to just see.
If you could sell someone on music-in-education, what would you say?
Music is the universal language. There are no such thing as a Chinese C Flat or a European B minor or even an American G Major. Music is a doorway to understanding unity and structure. There are a lot of notes, you just have to find the few that calms your inner peace and tranquility.
Mississippi Arts & Entertainment is a place where the past, present, and future of Mississippi can come together to expose the nature and origin and great music, stories, crafts and education, that has earned the right to be called “THE BIRTHPLACE OF AMERICAS MUSIC”…….Dexter Allen