Performer Tunde Olaniran is one of four Flint-based artists selected for UM residency


Talicia Campbell, Emma Davis, Tunde Olaniran, and Terra Lockhart. - COURTESY OF UMS
  • Courtesy of UMS
  • Talicia Campbell, Emma Davis, Tunde Olaniran, and Terra Lockhart.

Flint artist Tunde Olaniran is no stranger to creating bold and expressive performative work that bridges emotional, cultural, and musical divides — but he's also very well-versed in making music you can, like, really dance to.

In an announcement made Thursday, the University of Michigan's University Musical Society has selected four Flint-based artists for its 2020 class of research residents. This year's artists include Olaniran as well as vocalist and composer Talicia Campbell, visual artist Terra Lockhart, and UM-Flint dance instructor and choreographer Emma Davis. The research resident artists will work together, along with an ensemble of local singers, on a multimedia piece. 

The residency, which is partially funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, strives to deepen the connection between performative artists who align themselves with social justice issues, such as the Flint water crisis, and the UM campus, faculty, and Southeastern Michigan communities.

“Being invited into this residency came at a perfect time for me as an artist,” Olaniran said in a press release. “It's providing an environment to develop multi-disciplinary works with a cohort of women artists from my hometown of Flint. Thanks to UMS, we will have an opportunity to widen the conversation with different faculty and students on campus, as well as the time and space to deeply collaborate on this work.”

During his Ann Arbor residency, Olaniran will engage with the students and faculty by sharing the behind-the-scenes of his creative process, and his approach to fusing art and community outreach, by hosting workshops and open rehearsals. The residency will conclude with a performance on March 27 at the Blind Pig.

Olaniran, who last released his single “Jean Grey” last year, has, to our delight, recently finished his latest record, a follow-up to 2018's Stranger.

“omg my album is .... done???????!,” Olaniran revealed in a tweet on Wednesday. “It literally has everything i wanted every mood and color is here i'm losing my mind.”

He subtweeted that the record is “poppy” and “upbeat,” with notable profanity.

“[I] tried to find a balance where it doesn’t seem excessive but i’m not censoring myself.”

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