We live in a strange world. Subcultures like goth & punk have become mainstream aesthetic yet actual punks & goths are still ostracized, drag queens rule the internet and our TVs yet our government is taking every opportunity to destroy the LGBT community, and online music platforms have removed all need for record labels or corporate entities, yet most artist still strive to be signed. In this weird contradiction, singer/songwriter Awleen, and her performance platform Black Quasar, has become a huge breath of fresh air in Atlanta. After attending a few of her events I knew I had to sit down with her. So, a few messages later, I’m sitting at West End Krispy Kreme blown away when this woman, who looks like some sort of live-action Disney witch. A couple of classic glazed between us, I knew with would be interesting.
What is Black Quasar? What does the name mean? Where did it come from?
Black Quasar is a platform for all creative people to come in with us and promote themselves. In the beginning, I was looking for performance opportunities, but without a manager or any kind of assistance or clout, finding a quality gig is difficult, and a paying gig is next to impossible. Then I realized I could get a venue myself, sell tickets myself, and create a tribe, a network of people who can grow and become something more, but on our own terms. As far as what the name means, A quasar is both the darkest and the brightest thing in the known universe. When a black hole has taken in too much matter, it releases beams of energy that are brighter than any stars. It’s incredibly rare, also I love the color black. I like to say it’s the color of my soul.
Your name has been popping up everywhere in the city, seems like every week your doing something awesome. What inspired you to go so heavy into events rather than the traditional studio hermit route most local unsigned artists take?
I love performing, and I wanted the opportunity to perform in a way that would allow me to invest in myself. Becoming both the business as well as the product by eliminating the middleman.
For me, this is something I’m seeing more and more of, with Punk Black, or The Early Show, Controllerise, and all these other monthly concert functions. I remember when a lot of artists only option was open mic nights and coffee shops and hoping somebody would buy your cd or maybe get your music of Bandcamp, but now, with services like distrokid, SoundCloud, and monthly concert functions any talented artist can find a fairly consistent platform to build from. With Black Quasar, Awleen has done exactly that. Going from someone I’d never even heard of before to having her own stage at Sweet Auburn Fest and performing all over the city. These feats are already noteworthy on their own, but it’s even more impressive when you consider the kind of music she makes.
I’ve noticed your music style is very versatile. Can you try and describe your sound for those unfamiliar with it?
I have this obsession with darkness and sadness because I feel like it’s the most authentic form of human expression because people spend more time forcing themselves to be happy than they do pretending to be sad. I don’t want to be defined, my music is a cluster of everything, from gospel, to rock, to jazz, even screaming gospel. I’ve rapped a few times but I’m incredibly conflicted and shy in that form because of years of ostracization from the black community.
When did you realize you wanted to make a career out of this?
For as long as I can remember I knew I wanted to be a singer. As a child, I thought of any other career as a possible back up plan. In elementary school I wrote my first poems, in middle school, I got my first guitar. I didn’t learn how to play for a long time cause I felt overwhelmed by it, but eventually, I wrote my first song, about a crush. A typical middle school corny love song. As a got older I started writing with purpose, and I know I have notebooks full of music.
Any word on when you’re releasing a project?
Not to get too personal, but you are a happily engaged woman if my information is correct. People are obsessed with the idea that the path to success is lonely, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. So, what do you say to the artists who want to find love but have their careers too?
The path of success is only lonely if you refuse to compromise. You may have the same goal but you have to keep in mind you’re still separate entities. As long as you don’t undermine or betray one another, and that goes beyond romantic relationships. Authentic connections, compromise, and finding ways to reach goals together.
3 Breakfast must haves?
Gotta have waffles and a nice fruity syrup, like strawberry, and orange juice.
Top 10 most played songs on your playlist right now?
Willow Smith- Female Energy
Lots of Lana Del Ray, but especially her song Cherry
The Queen of the Damned Soundtrack
I also watch a lot of physics videos which take up a lot of my time
You’ve just been given all the power in the world to create the tour of your dreams. Pick 1 living artists and 1 dead artist as your openers.
Marilyn Monroe, then Lana Del Rey, and then myself. It would be an amazing past, present, future kind of vibe.
What song made you fall in love with music?
AFI- Miss Murder, it was the first rock song I heard that really hit me, I was excited at the idea of what music could be.
Pancakes or waffles?
Waffles because they have the grooves to hold the syrup, and non-vegan waffles use whipped egg whites in the batter that create a perfect fluffy inside.
In this city, there’s at least 3 different art events or parties happening every night, and a lot of them are lame. Your events are always great. What’s the secret to a successful event?
Making sure there’s something to do for everybody. A lot of people focus on just having music and nothing else, but if there’s gaming, some kind of free activity, and also attractive women helping you promote always helps. Most importantly, a well thought out, written plan. My partner and I will sit down for four hours and strategically plan who we call for every event we do.
I can honestly say I’ve never heard an artist like you. The way you mix rap, genuine musicianship, soul, and gothic energies amaze me. So, final question, do you realize how dope you are?
Oh, um, i don’t know. I try to be humble. I do want to create a new wave of music, that goes beyond genre. Humans are like rainbows, we can’t be expressed simply through one color.
My favorite line in music history is “be every color that you are” and Awleen lives that completely. For some, she may be the dark gothic girl you try not to look at when you walk down the street but for others, she’s a beacon of light, and I can’t wait for the day the whole world witnesses her light