Highsnobiety

This piece is a part of the Spotify Frequency series, where we highlight some of the most prominent voices helping rewrite the narrative on Black music and culture. Learn more about Spotify's Frequency and all of their featured artists here.

By now, it should be clear: Black music is @#$%&! important. Within a shared community resides several iconic voices spanning generations, each helping formulate and shape significant moments in cultural history. From Louie Armstrong's gravely scat singing in the 1920s to the emergence of Playboi Carti and his infamous baby mumble, Black voices consistently remain at the forefront of musical innovation, acting as markers for significant moments in the continued evolution of the discipline.

Today, we see a shift in how Black artists can and choose to articulate their musical message. With the rise of technology, musicians can experiment and remix sound in ways never conceived before, expanding the idea of what Black music can look like. By blending the old with the new, modern DJs have unlocked the potential to bring artists of the past into the present and recontextualize old classics for a new generation.

Remix culture has helped rising artists like Austin Millz garner the proper attention they deserve. Born and bred in Harlem, Millz pulls from his extensive musical knowledge to reinterpret classic hits for the modern day. Growing up in New York’s cultural hub exposed the DJ to diverse energies, culminating in a love for rhythm and a desire to recreate the vibe produced by dance clubs of the 80s.

Millz's music is just one piece of a more significant movement helping usher in a new form of black expression. By tapping back into the roots of dance music, Millz engineers sound that resonates with current listeners while still maintaining the true essence of what makes the genre great. Chart-topping songs from the likes of Mariah Carey, Chaka Khan, and Nina Simone have all received updates from the imaginative producer and serve as an homage to past eras while forging a new one in the same instance.

To hear Millz's inventive music style, tap into his latest single "Inhale / Exhale" ft. Sabrina Claudio from his new EP Breathwork and stay tuned for more info about his first-ever headline tour, titled "Breathwork", beginning in May 2023.

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Recognizing the impactful influence Black artists like Austin Millz have on music and the culture at large, Spotify created its signature Frequency content brand, a global initiative designed to support artists who are unapologetically changing the face of the game.

"Years ago, the best summer parties in New York were synonymous with Austin Millz, and it’s been incredible to see his career blossom on a global scale," says Kimmy Summers, a Lead of Artist Partnerships at Spotify. "Through Frequency, we can shine a light on the artists that are often overlooked. It’s important for us to remember that Black music isn’t monolithic and Austin Millz is just one of the many artists that are changing the landscape of dance."

Launched in 2021, Spotify's Frequency celebrates Black art and culture in all forms, both on and off the popular streaming platform. From supporting community spaces like Black Market Flea to producing docu-series like Free Studio and Sunday Dinner, Frequency is committed to highlighting Black artists pioneering new waves across multiple genres while also creating a space for conversation and advocacy on a larger scale.

We sat down to chop it up with Millz, who gave us the details of his musical influences, what makes a good DJ, and what he looks for in the perfect crowd.

How would you describe the music you make?

I make dance music for people from all walks of life to feel good wherever they are at any time.

What's the perfect vibe when playing for a crowd.

I love when there is a receptive crowd that will allow themselves to get lost in the rhythm of my music.

What makes a good DJ, in your opinion?

A good DJ takes chances when they play. Taking the crowd on a journey is the mission when I play my records; I pride myself on that.

Being from Harlem, dance music isn’t the first thing most people would think of. What factors pointed you in this musical direction?

My family comes from Black and Puerto Rican backgrounds. The groove is in my DNA. Also, growing up in Harlem, I was exposed to energy; music was always in the atmosphere! Harlem has so much rich history; I’ve always sought that knowledge. I heard so many great stories about growing up in 80s New York with classic dance music and clubs; it always struck a chord with me. I love paying homage to the classic while still pushing boundaries in this new generation.

What’s the biggest area of growth you’ve seen as an artist since first starting?

I have way more patience and allow myself to venture into new genres. More now than ever, I’m constantly experimenting and trying new things with my music.

Check out Austin Millz and other talented Black artists on the Frequency content hub only on Spotify.

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