Artist: Adia Victoria
Hometown: Campobello, South Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee
Song: “Magnolia Blues”
Album: A Southern Gothic
Release Date: September 17, 2021
In Their Words: “In an unpublished manuscript in 1933, William Faulkner spoke on the Southerner’s ‘need to talk, to tell, since oratory is our heritage.’ After a year spent in my room in Nashville, I wondered what stories I had to tell.
“Often the only view of the South beyond my window was the magnolia tree in my backyard. It blocked the rest of the world from my sight. I limited my gaze to its limbs, its leaves and the obscene bloom of its iconic white flower.
“The magnolia has stood as an integral symbol of Southern myth making, romanticism, the Lost Cause of the Confederates and the white washing of Southern memory. ‘Magnolia Blues’ is a reclaiming of the magnolia — an unburdening if its limbs of the lies it has stood for. This song centers the narrative of a Black Southern woman’s furious quest to find her way back home to the South under the shade of her magnolia.
“‘Magnolia Blues’ is an ode to Southern Black folk — too often hemmed out of what we mean when we say ‘Southerner’ — and it is also an ode to the South itself. To rescue it from — in the words of William Faulkner — ‘a make believe region of swords and magnolias and mockingbirds which perhaps never existed.'” — Adia Victoria
Photo credit: Huy Nguyen