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Leyla Mccalla Shares Cover Of Kendrick Lamar’s “Crown”
Tuesday, September 12th, 2023

Leyla Mccalla Shares Cover Of Kendrick Lamar’s “Crown”

Artist and activist Leyla McCalla has released the second in a series of singles which collectively serve as a meditation on the struggle for freedom in our society. McCalla says she felt compulsively compelled to record this new track–a solo cover of Kendrick Lamar’s “Crown”-- due to the power of its recurring refrain “you can’t please everybody.”  The song became a mantra as she navigated heartbreak, outrage, grief and hope. 
“When I first heard "Crown" from Kendrick Lamar’s 2022 album ‘Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers,’ I was gripped by the feeling of the song. It was a pure emotional connection,” McCalla says. The heaviness of the things we carry - sometimes with pride and sometimes with shame - is something that has weighed on my mind these past few years, thriving despite all of the rough terrain.   
Listen to McCalla’s solo version of the track below.  
Listen to “Crown”:  
“It was a song that I had on repeat for a while,” McCalla continued. “It pulled me to my guitar and I found that the chords sat comfortably in my fingers. I always wondered how the song would hit, coming from a Black woman's perspective. I'm grateful that I was able to actualize my dream of recording this stripped-down version of the song with my guitar and layers of bowed cello. Hope it speaks to you and all that you may be carrying."  
"Crown” is the second of three new songs McCalla is releasing on the theme of freedom; back in May she shared a cover of “Freedom Is A Constant Struggle,” a meaningful 1966 Civil Rights-era a Capella protest song Barbara Dane famously sang and recorded with the Chambers Brothers. Listen to Leyla’s version HERE
Last year McCalla released her critically acclaimed album ‘Breaking the Thermometer,’ a record that combines original compositions and traditional Haitian tunes with historical broadcasts and contemporary interviews to forge an immersive sonic journey through a half century of racial, social, and political unrest. The record was featured in the best songs and albums of 2022 by NPR Music, Folk Alley, PopMatters, Variety, The Guardian, MOJO and more, and the song “Dodinin” was featured on Barack Obama’s Favorite Music of 2022 Playlist. 
McCalla is also the Artist-In-Residence at the University of Richmond and a research artist at the Amistad-Rivers Artist Research Residency in New Orleans. Later this month she will embark on a few East coast tour dates before a run of European shows in November. All upcoming dates are listed below. 
9/21 - Huntingdon, PA @ Juniata College 
9/22 - North Bethesda, MD @ AMP by Strathmore 
9/23 - Easton, MD @ Avalon Theatre 
9/24 - Camden, NJ @ XPoNential Music Festival 
9/27 - Richmond, VA @ University of Richmond (w/ Ches Smith) 
9/30 - San Francisco, CA @ Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 
10/01 - San Francisco, CA @ Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 
10/12 - Princeton, NJ @ Princeton University (speaking engagement) 
11/2 - Utrecht, Netherlands @ Cloud 9 
11/3 - The Hague, Netherlands @ Crossing Border Festival 
11/4 - Groningen, Netherlands @ Take Root 
11/7 - Orleans, France @ Scene National d’Orleans 
11/8 - Artigues-pres-bordeaux, France @ Le Cuvier de Feydeau 
11/9 - Bouguenais, France @ Pianock’tail 
11/10 - Sotteville-les-rouen, France @ Trianon Transatlantique 
11/11 - Landsberg Am Lech, Germany @ Stadttheater Landsberg am Lech 
11/12 - Zurich, Switzerland @ Moods 
11/14 - Freiburg, Germany @ Jazzhaus Freiburg 
12/14 - Lafayette, LA @ Acadiana Center for the Arts 
3/1/24 - Miami, FL @ Cayamo 

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