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Listen: Rhiannon Giddens On Words & Music With Jessie Scott

Ebru Yildiz

Editor’s Note: Words & Music producer Jessie Scott enjoyed the rare opportunity to sit down with Rhiannon Giddens, one of the most celebrated artists and thought leaders of her time. The location is the potent Purple Building, the creative space in East Nashville. And the occasion is the recent release of You’re The One, Giddens’s first solo album since her award-winning Freedom Highway of 2017 and the first album of entirely original songs of her career. Also since then, she’s enjoyed a spotlight reserved for a special few activists and advocates, including a MacArthur Fellowship and a Pulitzer Prize for her opera Omar. In their conversation, Scott asks Giddens about the more inclusive vision of Americana music she helped spark and usher in. And Giddens says the movement is about “communal energy” as an alternative, if not a rebuke, to the conventional models of scouting, marketing and measuring in the music business. “That is the true actual radicalness of the movement over color or culture,” she says. “I think the true disruption is the idea that we’re all looking out for each other. that has the potential to really remake things.”

Jessie Scott is WMOT program director, afternoon host and host of Wired In. Scott has a long history in radio and was the creator of XM's X Country channel.