serpentwithfeet is an avant-garde vocalist and performance artist whose growing body of work is rooted in dueling obsessions with the ephemeral and the everlasting – key components of his artistic journey from a childhood stint as a choirboy in Baltimore through his time at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he studied vocal performance before relocating to New York City. His forthcoming debut full-length album soil is a return to the sensibilities and wide-eyed curiosity of his musical youth before symmetry and sterile soundscapes ruled the roost. With the release of soil the chameleonic serpentwithfeet (born Josiah Wise) rediscovers and ultimately returns to the unhinged version of himself he was sure he had outgrown.
“soil is about me returning home then realizing that i carry home with me daily.”
At once whimsical and mechanical, soil traverses the depths of human emotion in search of love. The music inspired by ” intense collaborative work” is an extension of the mourning ritual a crestfallen serpentwithfeet first created to grieve heartbreak. He cites influences as varied as lullabies, an affinity for pungent body odor, his doll collection, and his mother’s love of traditional hymns. soil conjures his early fascinations with Brandy and Bjrk as easily as it references the pageantry of anthemic compositions by Antonin Dvorak and the ecstatic praise of the black church; the abiding prayer house rhythm is established by industrial washing machines on Gately’s opener “whisper.” serpentwithfeet is explicit, however, in breaking with the condemnations of taboo subjects in order to deliver the language necessary to provide black, queer people with a heartfelt, futurist folk — a new mother tongue constructed to override his prolonged inability to articulate his love life because he had no knowledge of an established standard for speaking about intimate experiences beyond the binary lens of heterosexuality. In being vulnerable enough to vocalize his journey, serpentwithfeet encourages a systematic dismantling of the shame that is appended to homosexuality through the creation of a sonic space buoyed by radical acts of love and sustained repetition of his innermost thoughts.