New music from Wilmington artists includes work with Grammy-winning star

Lots of new music coming out of Wilmington these days, and Port City artists have been embracing collaboration, sometimes with big names.

New singles from folk/Americana artist Travis Shallow and pop/R&B singer Annie Tracy drop Friday, and there's an epic collaboration between two Wilmington hip-hop acts, one old school, the other new school.

Annie Tracy

Wilmington native and singer Annie Tracy has a new single, "Times It By Two," out on March 31.
Wilmington native and singer Annie Tracy has a new single, "Times It By Two," out on March 31.

The singer and songwriter Annie Tracy grew up in Wilmington starring in musicals for Opera House Theatre Co.

Even after moving away for college, she returned home to do shows, most recently in 2019 and 2021 when she played the title role in "Always, Patsy Cline," a musical about the country singing legend. But when it comes to her own songs, Tracy puts her big, soulful voice to use making pop music with heavy shades of R&B.

Tracy's first single, "Times It By Two," drops Friday, March 31. With a delicate guitar line and shimmering production that accompanies her powerfully expressive voice, the song's lyrics track the melancholy, hard-won acceptance that comes in the wake of a relationship that didn't work out: "In another life/ You would treat me right/ You would make the time/ It's called sacrifice."

Wilmington native and singer Annie Tracy has a new single, "Times It By Two," out on March 31.
Wilmington native and singer Annie Tracy has a new single, "Times It By Two," out on March 31.

The song was written by Tracy and crafted by Grammy-winning producer D'Mile, who's worked with the best of the best, including Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Ty Dolla $ign, Jay Z and Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez and H.E.R.

"He's one of the top producers right now so I was super grateful to work with him," Tracy said. "I have been working in private for the past four years in the music industry and I am finally arriving at the time where I will be releasing and sharing all this work."

A video for "Times It By Two" comes out April 8, with a follow-up single coming in late April and a full album this summer.

Tracy is managed by Tricky Stewart, another Grammy-winning producer who Tracy calls her mentor. She's scheduled to perform in May at the Mary J. Blige Strength of a Woman Festival in Atlanta and hopes to perform a Wilmington show in April but is still working out the details. Check her socials for updates.

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Travis Shallow

Travis Shallow is a veteran of the Wilmington music scene, and has been performing his deeply felt folk and Americana songs locally for more than a decade now.

What could be Shallow's highest-profile single to date drops Friday, March 31. LISTEN HERE

"Hard Time with the Truth," which was produced by Alex Dezen of indie-rock heroes The Damnwells and features a guest appearance on keyboards by Jenny Conlee-Drizos of hyper-literate indie rock act The Decemberists, has a powerful, country-flavored hook and lyrical details that come off like stream of consciousness writ large.

Singing in a pleasantly earthy voice, Shallow relates the tale of a man who goes in for a haircut and lets his mind wander.

"You start replaying these slides in your mind, how you got to where you are," Shallow said, and the song drops indelible asides like, "Remember when the brakes went out on 95?"

By the last verse, the song's narrator is thinking about popping into the bar next door to see if he can have "just one and be through," but decides against it.

Wilmington singer and songwriter Travis Shallow has a new single, "Hard Time with the Truth."
Wilmington singer and songwriter Travis Shallow has a new single, "Hard Time with the Truth."

Shallow said the song is a reflection of sorts on getting sober, and about "coming to term with memories good and bad."

Shallow wrote the song during the pandemic lockdown, which is also when he started a weekly live stream on Instagram. He's done the live stream he calls "Shallow Chateau" at 6 p.m. every Wednesday ever since.

"I just started it for me, for my own mental health. In sobriety I need structure, so I figured there are a lot of people out there who need structure like me," he said. "I didn't have high hopes, but it completely grew my audience and I feel like I finally found my people."

The collaborations on "Hard Time with the Truth" came directly from his weekly live stream, and it also led to Shallow landing a stripped-down cover of the song "I Can See Clearly Now" on Fox TV drama "9-1-1" earlier this month.

A video for "Hard Time with the Truth" comes out next week, and Shallow will release a new single in six weeks and another single six weeks after that. Tour dates and some possible Wilmington shows coming soon.

RizzyBeats & MindsOne

Old-school meets new-school hip-hop on an upcoming album release from Wilmington's Fort Lowell Records, which dropped its first single earlier this month.

The Wilmington DJ and producer RizzyBeats, a member of the Beats & Coffee hip-hop collective who can often be seen around town at one venue or another, recently decided to rework "The Time Space Continuum," a 2006 album from veteran Wilmington hip-hop combo MindsOne.

The first reworked track, "Exit Velocity (End of the Line)," dropped March 10 and the full album, dubbed "The Time Space Continuum Redux," comes out May 12 on Fort Lowell.

At once an homage to the verbal dexterity of MindsOne MCs KON Sci and Tronic, which still holds up 17 years later, the "Redux" album also pays tribute to the traditional "boom bap" style of hip-hop by offering a fresh take on the genre.

Kicking Bird

Another band on Wilmington's Fort Lowell Records, Wilmington power-pop act Kicking Bird,has been releasing singles from its upcoming album "Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" out May 19. "Stuck," which dropped on March 17, is a delicious, manic-romantic slice of summer-vibe energy, and the band's new single, "238," dropped today. A Wilmington gem for sure.

This article originally appeared on Wilmington StarNews: New Wilmington music from Annie Tracy includes work with Grammy winner