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Out With A Bang: NC Artists Close Out A Decade Of Musical Trendsetting

The Come Up Show, Ebru Yildiz and Hans Watson
From left: J. Cole, Rhiannon Giddens (formerly of the Carolina Chocolate Drops) and Amelia Randall Meath (of Sylvan Esso and Mountain Man)

North Carolina musicians made waves on the national stage in 2019. Close to a dozen artists from the state, including Rhiannon Giddens, DaBaby and J.Cole, are up for Grammy Awards in 2020, and new talent keeps popping up.

The past year is part of a larger trend —North Carolina has long played a big role in shaping American music. The Come Hear North Carolina campaign from the state’s Department of Natural & Cultural Resources and the North Carolina Arts Council dedicated 2019 as The Year of Music in the state. The project celebrates the state’s rich musical heritage and shares how today’s artists are building on the state’s legacy.

Host Frank Stasio talks to three music aficionados about some of the notable contributions to  North Carolina music in the past decade. Carly Jones is the music director for the North Carolina Arts Council and part of the Come Hear NC team. She shares her top tracks, including songs from the Branford Marsalis Quartet and Rhiannon Giddens. Miriam Tolbert, also known as Mir.I.Am, shares her favorite hip-hop albums from the past year, including tracks from DaBaby and Rapsody and looks at how the genre is growing in the state. She is the CEO of Carolina Waves and a host at K-97.5. And WUNC’s own Eric Hodge shares cuts from Mandolin Orange and Hiss Golden Messenger, artists who made some of his favorite tunes from 2019 and the last decade. Hodge is the host of Morning Edition on WUNC and of the podcast “Songs We Love.”


Note: This conversation originally aired December 12, 2019.

Amanda Magnus is the executive producer of Embodied, a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships and health. She has also worked on other WUNC shows including Tested and CREEP.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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